The FINANCIAL — Ford Motor Company on August 11 announced it will assemble its popular Ford Ranger pickup truck in Nigeria starting in the fourth quarter of 2015 as part of its expansion in Middle East and Africa. Nigeria will be the first African country outside of South Africa where Ford vehicles are produced.
Ranger assembly will begin in Ikeja, in the Lagos State about 750 km southwest of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. Ford is partnering with Ford dealer group Coscharis Motors Limited on the project, according to Ford.
“Assembling Ford Ranger trucks in Africa’s largest economy is an important milestone in our Middle East and Africa growth plan,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East & Africa. “With Coscharis we have the right partner and with the Ford Ranger we have the right product to deliver a world class truck that Nigerian customers want and value.”
Ford will assemble the vehicles at a semi-knockdown level, using body parts and components imported from South Africa for the new Ranger. The new assembly plant in Ikeja will create approximately 180 jobs directly and indirectly, and has the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually. Vehicles assembled at Ikeja are destined for sale in Nigeria only.
“Nigeria is a priority market for us in Sub-Saharan Africa and today’s announcement will allow us to better serve our customers both from a retail point of view, and in terms of vehicle and parts availability,” said Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Sub-Saharan Africa region. “We are committed to supporting Nigeria’s developing automotive industry and economy together with Coscharis, and are looking forward to being active in the community. New assembly operations, even on a smaller scale like this one, have very positive ripple effects in the local economy and work force.”
Dr. Cosmas Maduka, president of Coscharis Motors said: “We value our partnership with Ford immensely and we are looking forward to having the opportunity assemble world class Ford Rangers in Nigeria. This partnership will boost Nigeria’s much needed march towards industrialisation and create an important step in the development of the automotive industry.
In line with the operating procedures for Ford plants around the world, Ford will send experienced employees to Nigeria to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality and delivery.
The Ford Ranger was the best-selling vehicle South Africa for the first half of 2015, and is currently sold in 24 countries throughout the continent. Whether towing heavy loads of up to 3,500 kg, taking advantage of its exceptional payload capacity, or driving on city roads, highways or off the beaten track, the Ranger is designed and engineered for work and play, no matter the conditions.
Later this year, Ford will begin selling an updated Ranger with new styling and new features.
“The new Ford Ranger is world class with an aggressive exterior, a premium, sporty, interior, the latest driver assist technologies and capabilities that ensure it’s up for any work or adventure,” said Nemeth. “The new Ranger is bolder, smarter and more refined for customers who want to combine genuine 4×4 capabilities with stand-out styling and premium features.”
It features a class-leading ability to wade through water up to 800 mm deep, and has 230 mm of ground clearance. And with a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle, customers feel confident when taking on steep terrain. The impressive capabilities of the Ranger are easy to use. A robust electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4×4 models to shift on the fly from 4×2 to 4×4 high with a knob on the center console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill braking, drivers can also engage low-range 4×4 gearing. An electronic locking rear differential helps to improve traction in difficult conditions.
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa produces the Ranger for 148 markets including Europe, Middle East and Africa.