Ingé Lamprecht
1 minute read
11 Apr 2014
6:30 am

Ford mulls increasing SA production

Ingé Lamprecht

Ford Motor Company is mulling its production options as it aims to benefit from growth opportunities in the Middle East and Africa.

The Ford logo is seen on a newly-built Ford Focus at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in this October 1, 2013 file photo in Wayne, Michigan

The US-based group recently established a separate business unit for its operations in the Middle East and Africa. South Africa is its second largest volume market in the region after Saudi Arabia.

Stephen Odell, executive vice-president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, says global new vehicle sales will grow from a 85m vehicles this year to over 100m within ten years.

The new business unit is expected to sell around 220 000 units in 2014.

Final assembly decisions will be made soon.

Ford’s production facilities in Silverton, Pretoria (Ranger) and Struandale, Port Elizabeth (engines) are its only manufacturing plants in the region.

“Clearly there is an opportunity to consider South Africa in that pot of decisions that are ahead of us.” Odell says it will consider all the scenarios before any formal decisions are made.

However, there are some things that it will have to consider, such as South Africa’s labour issues, Odell says. Odell says businesses need a stable environment to be competitive.

Last year saw not only saw labour disruptions at automotive manufacturing plants but also at suppliers and logistics companies. Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) says he is looking forward to the outcome of the minister of labour, Mildred Oliphant’s, indaba which is scheduled to take place in June/July this year.