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GQEBERHA, South Africa – Ford Motor Company’s Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha has been crowned the overall winner of Exporters Eastern Cape’s annual Exporter of the Year awards for 2022. The announcement was made at the 27th edition of the prestigious awards at a gala dinner held at the Boardwalk Convention Centre on Friday 21 October 2022.
In addition to winning the main prize, the Struandale Engine Plant won the Best Exporter OEM category for original equipment vehicle manufacturers – the fifth time Ford has earned this title. It also received an IDC Job Creator Merit Award for the third time, having also won this category on two previous occasions.
“It is an honour and privilege to be announced as Exporter of the Year for 2022, which is the first time we have won the overall award,” said Shawn Govender, Plant Manager of the Ford Struandale Engine Plant. “It’s a testament and credit to the hard work and dedication of the entire Ford team to ensure the sustainability and relevance of our business, both here in Nelson Mandela Bay and internationally as part of Ford’s global manufacturing network.”
This success comes on the back of Ford’s investment last year of R600-million in the Struandale Engine Plant for the addition of the new 3.0L V6 Diesel engine program. This comprises cylinder head machining and engine assembly, making it the third diesel engine family currently manufactured at the plant, and its 11th engine program to date.
“The introduction of the V6 Diesel engine required a high level of innovation and ingenuity from our team, as it is assembled on the same line as our existing 2.2L and 3.2L Duratorq TDCi engines, although it has been extended and thoroughly modernized with significant quality improvements,” said Oscar Sundu, Assistant Plant Manager of the Ford Struandale Engine Plant. “This makes it the only facility in the Ford world that produces in-line and V-configuration engines on the same line, which was essential for us to contain the investment costs required, and ensure that we are globally competitive in terms of cost-per-unit.”
The investment also facilitated upgrades to the existing 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo engine assembly line, with both engine programs supporting Ford’s highest-ever installed capacity for the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, which will commence production of the highly anticipated Next-Generation Ford Ranger pick-up later this year. Following a R15.8-billion investment in the Silverton operations and supplier tooling, Ford now has an installed capacity for producing 200 000 vehicles per year for domestic sales and exports to more than 100 global markets.
“At the heart of each one of these vehicles is an engine proudly produced at the Struandale Engine Plant,” said Ockert Berry, VP Operations, Ford South Africa. “With more than two thirds of the vehicles we produce being destined for export markets, this is a major export achievement for the Struandale operations, as well as our employees and supplier network.”
Since 2011 the Struandale plant has been machining Duratorq TDCi cylinder heads, blocks and crankshafts that are used for local engine assembly and exports to other engine plants around the world. By the end of 2021, almost 7-million machined components were manufactured, of which more than 4.2-million were exported.
Fully assembled Duratorq TDCi engines have been produced for export customers and for Ford’s vehicle assembly operations in Pretoria. Duratorq TDCi engine assembly started in 2011, followed by the 2.0L SiT/BiT engines in 2019 – both of which have powered the current-generation Ford Ranger pick-up and Everest sport utility vehicle (SUV) for domestic sales and export markets.
The Struandale Engine Plant opened its doors in 1964, and by the end of last year a total of more than 3.8-million engines had been produced. This contributed to Ford’s exceptionally proud legacy in the Eastern Cape, which dates back to 1923 when Ford Motor Company of South Africa was founded in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).
Currently the Struandale Engine Plant employs approximately 850 salaried staff and hourly employees, with permanent sub-contractors taking that number up to approximately 1 300 people on-site, along with thousands of additional jobs at supplier companies. In total, around 5 500 people are employed at Ford South Africa, while supporting approximately 60 000 jobs in the total value chain.
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