Ford is injecting US$1.05 billion (RM4.25 billion) into the upgrading of the Silverton Assembly Plant in South Africa in order to accommodate manufacturing of the all-new Ranger pick-up truck that will commence production in 2022.

The automaker will employ an additional 1,200 staff to bring its workforce to a total of 5,500 staff, while the billion-dollar investment will also create around 10,000 new jobs across Ford’s local supplier network for a total of 60,000 jobs, it said in a statement.

This includes a US$686 million investment in technology, upgrades and new facilities at the Silverton Assembly Plant, where annual installed capacity will grow to a volume of 200,000 vehicles from the present volume of 168,000 vehicles, said the automaker, adding that the facility will produce vehicles for export to more than 100 markets.

The Silverton plant, once upgraded, will also manufacture the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok pick-up truck as part of the Blue Oval’s strategic alliance with Volkswagen for commercial vehicles formed in 2019. Updates to the site include a new body shop with the latest robotic technology, a new stamping plant, both located on-site for the first time.

Meanwhile, a modern blue-light scanner will check surfaces for imperfections before the final product leaves the plant. The company will also build new vehicle modification and training centres, the latter in order for Ford employees to be brought up to speed with the required skill to make the most of the upgraded facilities at the Silverton plant.

These upgrades to the Silverton plant will see increased production line speeds and improved precision of assembly, said Ford international markets group director of operations Andrea Cavallaro.