They’re here: Pre-production models of Ford’s new Ranger, Everest touch down in SA

The South African market is getting ever closer to the local launch of the next-generation Ranger bakkie and Everest SUV. Both vehicles were shown to a global audience via digital presentations, along with the expected specifications available to each. Ford South Africa, too, is excited about the prospect of launching both vehicles in the local market and is confident that they will set new standards in their respective segments.

Just weeks after the Everest’s reveal, both the new SUV and new Ranger were shown to media representatives at Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, South Africa. According to Ford SA, local media are among the first in the world to see both the new bakkie and SUV in the metal outside of those working for Ford.

Media were given an overview of the updated production facilities where both the Ranger and Everest will be built, along with a reveal of the two models – albeit pre-production units that were imported for homologation purposes.

The highlight accompanying the news was that a new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine would headline both the Ranger and Everest’s engine line-up.

The new unit will offer 184kW and 600Nm and is mated to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Speaking on the engine, Pritika Maharaj, Ranger and Everest programme manager, notes that this engine has been added to see to customers’ needs and demands.

Maharaj says: “We’re offering this engine specifically because some customers told us they wanted more power and torque for towing and extreme off-roading. When you drive a Ranger with the V6 turbodiesel, it feels like a much bigger (bakkie). And it feels strong in the sense that it’s got plenty of power and torque, which is exactly what our customers told us they wanted.”

Ford’s new V6 diesel engine will complement the existing range of single- and bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engines.

Local specification and pricing for both the Ranger and Everest will be announced closer to each vehicle’s launch date.

Ford is going green – in a big way

Over the last 18 or so months, Ford SA saw substantial investments being made into its assembly plant. The financial injections were to better equip and prepare both the workforce and facilities for the new Ranger and Everest’s production and for the plant to have a zero-carbon emissions rating by 2024.

Addressing the carbon issue, Ford SA announced in November 2020 that it would invest R135 million into solar energy for its Silverton plant. Over the next year, the implementation of the 13.5MW solar facility took place, and the Blue Oval says that the new power source will deliver around 30% of the plant’s annual power requirements. The automaker is also investing in hydro energy to meet its 2024 target.

At the time, Ford SA’s operations vice-president Ockert Berry said: “This is a bold and pioneering step that will transform our business, helping us make an important contribution to reduce our impact on the environment. It will also make our Silverton Assembly Plant more efficient and more cost-competitive.”

Customer needs ‘developed’ new Ranger, Everest

In terms of the Ranger and Everest’s production, Ford Global invested R15.8 billion in the Silverton plant in February 2021. The investment covered the realignment of the plant’s operations – meaning, a smoother and more efficient flow of the vehicles’ assembly – and the upskilling of staff. For Ford, the South African assembly plant is an essential cog in the Ranger’s production, with the locally built bakkie – both for the domestic and export markets – riddled with the highest quality craftsmanship.

According to Ford, a new Ranger rolls off the production line every two minutes, with more than 700 units built in a single day.

In December of last year, the automaker invested a further R600 million in its Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.