THE Ford Struandale engine plant in Nelson Mandela Bay has started producing its first machined component sets this week, officially marking the launch of the new Ford Duratorq TDCi diesel engine export programme and the positioning of the local facility as a key player in Ford’s global supply network.
This comes a year after Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSAO) confirmed the final investment of more than R3-billion in the Struandale plant for the new diesel engine, as well as the Silverton assembly plant for the all-new Ranger pick-up.
FMCSA president and chief executive Jeff Nemeth said the start of production this week allowed the Ford engine plant to become a strategic supplier of machined components for the global Duratorq diesel engine programme.
“What the local team has achieved is simply remarkable, transforming the engine plant into a truly world-class facility, and meeting the highest standards of design, engineering, efficiency and quality,” he said.
Despite the investment programme only being finalised early last year, the plant had already undertaken significant revisions since 2009 in preparation for this vital export programme.
The Duratorq diesel engine export programme involves the machining of 220000 component sets per year, comprising the engine head, crankshaft and block.
Approximately 75000 of these will be used for local engine assembly. The balance of the components will be exported to Thailand and Argentina.
The plant starts assembling its first engines on June 27. These will go to Silverton for installation in the new Ranger.