Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said today that it will spend just over $1 billion to expand and upgrade a factory in South Africa, even as it scales back its operations in other parts of the world.
Ford's assembly plant in Silverton, near the South African capital of Pretoria, currently builds the Ranger pickup and a Ranger-based SUV called the Everest. The trucks built at Silverton, roughly 168,000 per year, are sold in South Africa and exported to about 100 markets around the world (but not the United States).
The move follows Ford's announcement that it is ending manufacturing in Brazil, closing three factories and leaving about 5,000 workers unemployed. The company has also made sharp cuts to staff in Europe and the United States as part of an ongoing $11 billion restructuring effort.
Ford said the Silverton investment will boost the factory's annual production capacity to 200,000 vehicles while preparing it to build an all-new Ranger and a Ranger-based pickup for Volkswagen (OTC:VWAGY), both starting in 2022. The automaker plans to build a new stamping plant at the factory, to manufacture body panels on-site, and to upgrade the technology throughout the plant.
Ford agreed to build a VW-brand pickup truck as part of an expanded partnership with the German automaker announced last year.
The investment is expected to create about 1,200 jobs at the factory itself, and about 10,000 additional jobs in the local supply chain, Ford said.