It's Ford's 100th birthday, and it's bringing the gifts
Ford arrived in South Africa in 1923. Setting up a small factory in Gqeberha, or Port Elizabeth, as it was previously called. Initially, this factory managed to churn out a whopping 10 Ford Model Ts a day. It was different back then.
The brand is known for pioneering modern manufacturing with the invention of production lines and a 5-day work week. Nowadays, Ford South Africa is continuing the drive for impressive feats, with a mind-boggling 720 cars manufactured each day in SA.
To adapt to the continuous change in models and generations, the Ford factory in Silverton is under constant improvement to adapt to new models and vehicle types. This brings me to the first of a long line of gifts, or new cars, that Ford will bring to SA: the Ranger Wildtrak PHEV.
It's essentially a plug-in hybrid Ranger with improved fuel economy and plenty of low-end torque inside a body that we have all already fallen in love with. To support the PHEV arrival, Ford is adapting the current Ranger production line to incorporate both the ICE and PHEV on the same line to improve productivity, spending a mammoth R5.3 billion to do so. The batteries will also be assembled in Silverton at a facility nearby. The good news? The plug-in bakkie will roll out next year.
The second and third models due to arrive are the newest generation of Tourneo and Transit. Beginning with the Tourneo, this 7-seater family van focuses on client involvement with a highly customisable interior to cater to any family. The Tourneo Custom is a sharp-styled van with plenty of space to ship the family and luggage around on the school run and during the holiday season.
The Transit is not an unfamiliar name, but it is one that we will be seeing a lot more of soon. Despite our bakkie-passionate nation, Ford believes that the Transit will greatly benefit product transport and be a workhorse for business owners.
If you want an SUV but aren't wowed by its large size and impressive off-road capability, then the Territory will be more to your preference. This midsize SUV looks sharp and is another option in an already broad SUV market. The boldly styled Territory will be powered by a 1.8-litre EcoBoost engine that drives the front wheels.
To no surprise, there are a few new models of Ranger to look forward to as well. The Platinum is a more comfortable and stylish lifestyle bakkie with a more city-focused design and luxurious interior. The Tremor is also on its way, equipped as a more heavy-duty off-road-focused Ranger, which will most likely be the cheaper option for 4x4 enthusiasts who can’t justify the price of the Wildtrak X.
Of course, we know the Puma is already here, and we will be driving it shortly, but there are another two products that have me giddy. More so for the special edition than the standard model. Well, the new Mustang is coming in all of its 5.0 GT Fastback glory. This adds a more aggressively styled and refined version to the current model. And Ford is bringing the Dark Horse.
The Dark Horse is a more brutal, track-focused, and much faster version of the 5.0 Mustang. The Dark Horse will only be arriving in 2025, but be sure to keep an eye out, as we should be getting our hands on it.
It’s a relief to see that Ford is at last widening its product line-up. I think I speak for all of us when I say the last couple of years have had us questioning what Ford is up to with only a couple of cars available. Be sure to keep a lookout, as many new Fords will be hitting our roads shortly.