Ford’s Struandale engine plant celebrates 50 years

BY CHARL BOSCH - NOVEMBER 6, 2014

The CEO and President of Ford Motor Company South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, Jeff Nemeth, officially cut the cake to celebrate 50 years of the marque’s Straundale engine plant in Port Elizabeth on Thursday November 6th.

“This is an important milestone for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, as Ford originally started in Port Elizabeth, which was the local motoring hub in the 1920s and remains one of the region’s most important sectors,” Nemeth said.

“The Struandale Engine Plant has endured an ever-changing automotive landscape, and remains a crucial part of our local operations. Moreover, it is a significant supplier within the global Ford network, supplying machined components and engines to Ford plants in North America, South America and Asia”.

Originally commissioned in 1964, the plant currently manufactures the 2.2-litre four cylinder and 3.2-litre five cylinder Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engines for use in the Ford Ranger bakkie, with the latter engine also being exported to North America under the Powerstroke name for use in the Transit van, the first time Ford South Africa has ever exported engines to its mother company.

Shortly after opening, Struandale produced its 10 000th in April 1965 with the 100 000th unit following in 1968, and the 500 000th in 1977. Three years after producing its one-millionth engine, exports of the 3.0-litre Essex V6 engine, later enlarged to 3.4-litres and famously used in the Cortina, Sapphire, Sierra and Courier bakkie, started in 1990.

The success of the Essex resulted in the Struandale plant being awarded the contract to build the 1.4-litre PTE and 1.6-litre EFI engines for use in the locally made Escort and European spec Fiesta in 1995. Following this engine’s discontinuation in 2001, the plant was retooled to produce the popular 1.3-litre RoCam engine for use in the Ka and Fiesta.

RoCam manufacturing at Struandale ended after 1 346 919 units in 2012 with production of the Duratorq diesel starting in December that same year. Strong demand locally and internationally for the new Ranger resulted in the plant producing its 100 000th engine in November 2013. The securement for an additional 31 000 engines for the Transit, lead to the plant producing its three millionth engine, an export 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi, in July this year.

“The local team has consistently proved that they are up to the challenge, using trademark South African ingenuity and dedication to produce world-class products,” said Nemeth.

“From the popular RoCam engine that reached a final production volume of over 1.3-million units to the new Duratorq TDCi engine that powers the mighty Ranger, the local products and the people that have made it happen have done us proud.”

Inline with celebrating 50 years of the plant, Nemeth also introduced a shake-up in the plant’s management positions with John Cameron taking over as manager, Basil Raman as Plant Operations Manager, Neil Stander as Manager for Programmes and Operations and Ludwe Kawa as Quality Manager.

 

CAPTION: (L-R) Ford Motor Company of South Africa Vice President of Sales and Service, Mark Kaufman; Ford Motor Company of South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa CEO and President, Jeff Nemeth; and newley appointed Straundale Engine Plant Manager, John Cameron with the cut birthday cake, Duratorq TDCi diesel engines and the smash-hit Ford Ranger at the 50th anniversary celebration of the marque's Struandale Engine Plant on November 6th. FILE IMAGE