Ford's South Africa unit to fund hybrid vehicle expansion
【Summary】Ford's South Africa unit plans to invest $281 million in producing a hybrid vehicle, specifically the Ranger hybrid. The company aims to produce 44,000 units of the hybrid Ranger starting from 2024. Ford has urged the government to expedite the implementation of an electric vehicle policy. The investment comes as South Africa's auto industry, which contributes 5% to GDP and provides over 100,000 jobs, faces challenges due to the UK and Europe's ban on new petrol cars by 2035.
The South African unit of Ford, the U.S. auto giant, has announced plans to invest 5.2 billion rand ($281 million) to produce a hybrid vehicle in the country. This investment comes as Ford urges the government to expedite the implementation of an electric vehicle policy. The auto industry in South Africa is a significant contributor to the country's economy, accounting for 5% of gross domestic product and employing over 100,000 people. However, with the UK and Europe planning to ban the sale of new petrol cars from 2035, the South African government has expressed concerns about the future of the sector and the need to transition to electric vehicles.
Andrea Cavallaro, Ford's operations director of the international market group, emphasized the urgency of finalizing the government's electric vehicle policy. He stated, "The government really needs to finalize its policy and get it out there because other countries are moving fast, very fast." Cavallaro also highlighted that while the government works on its policy, Ford will focus on producing hybrid vehicles, which can run on both petrol and electric charge.
The investment by Ford will be dedicated to producing the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, which is set to be rolled out from the company's factory in Pretoria starting from late 2024. Ford plans to export around 70% of the 44,000 Ranger cars to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company in Africa, emphasized the rapid adoption of new energy vehicle technologies, indicating the need for automakers to keep up with the changing market demands.
The auto industry in South Africa heavily relies on exports, with three-quarters of cars produced in the country being shipped overseas, primarily to European countries. The UK and Europe's decision to ban new petrol cars in the coming years poses a significant threat to the sector. Therefore, the South African government and automakers are seeking a clear plan to transition to electric vehicles in order to secure the industry's future.
As Ford celebrates its 100 years of operations in South Africa, the company's investment in hybrid vehicles demonstrates its commitment to adapting to the changing automotive landscape and meeting the demand for more sustainable transportation options.
($1 = 18.4993 rand)
Reporting by Tannur Anders Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Josie Kao
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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