Ford Motor Company has just announced an investment of $170 million into its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa, in order to build the all-new Ford Everest SUV. The expansion will create an estimated 1,200 new jobs, including both those with Ford, and within the automaker’s South African supplier network.
The $170 million investment will also help expand the Ford Ranger mid-size pickup truck program there.
The Ford Everest SUV is already built at AutoAlliance Thailand in Rayong, Thailand; the JMC Xiaolan Plant in Nanchang, China; and Ford’s plant in Chennai, India, where it is sold as the Endeavour. Presently, it’s imported to South Africa from Thailand, with a 3.2-liter Duratorq diesel the sole engine of choice. The start of local production will allow Ford to begin offering a second engine choice: a 2.2-liter Duratorq diesel. The range of trim levels will also be expanded.
“Our customers love the capability and utility offered by the all-new Ford Everest,” said Ford President of Europe, Middle East and Africa Jim Farley. “By producing the Everest in South Africa, we will be able to make it more readily available, and in a greater variety of models, for customers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The Ford Everest SUV is a body-on-frame design with seven seats, and “intelligent” all-wheel drive. Some have suspected that it might serve as a preview of the next Ford Bronco, which is rumored to make a return in the US before the end of the decade.