Pretoria’s bakkie twins to change the South African pickup landscape for once and for all
The Ford Motor Company’s billion dollar investment in its Silverton, Pretoria plant confirmed today, rubber stamps yet another bakkie deal that even further entrenches South Africa as world leader in the international a pick up truck arena.
NOW SIX BAKKIES ARE BUILT IN SA
The deal, which lays the groundwork for next generation Volkswagen Amarok production alongside the long awaited all new Ford Ranger, now brings local pickup production to six platforms alongside Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, Mahindra and Nissan’s new Navara, which will soon also be produced on the other side of Pretoria.
The investment underpins new advanced technologies and systems will modernise and grow the Silverton Plant ahead of expanded production of the next Ranger and Amarok, which previous model was imported from Argentina. It allows Ford to hire an additional 1,200 workers to support expanded production and up its workforce to 5,500, while also creating an estimated 10,000 new jobs across Ford’s local supplier network.
US$686 million or R10.3 billion of the investment will be used to usher in further upgrades and new facilities to support high quality, efficient production at Silverton to increase output by 32,000 units to 200,000 vehicles a year to service domestic sales and exports to over 100 global markets, while also achieving Ford ‘Island Mode’ carbon neutral status by 2024.
PRETORIA’S BAKKIE TWINS
The gist of the deal is that the next Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok will be built side-by-side on a common platform as part of a long term project in South Africa. It also appears that Silverton is the sole Amarok plant. While the bakkies will share common underpinnings, it is unlikely that the Amarok will just be a badge-engineered Ranger with both VW and Ford to ‘deploy their core strengths in two clearly differentiated models.”
The new bakkies will continue on a much revised current-generation Ranger’s platform dubbed T6.2. The Ranger will get a Ford F-150 like design, with the VW going a more traditional albeit next-level VW style.
We do not expect the 118 kW 385 Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 147kW 470Nm 3.2-litre five-pot single-turbo diesels to continue, in the leisure market at least, with the Raptor’s modern 157 kW 500 Nm 2-litre four-pit biturbo diesel and 130 kW 420 Nm single-turbo units set to continue.
TURBO PETROL AND DIESEL V6S COMING TOO
T6.2 Ranger is also likely to gain a pair of 185 kW 600 Nm single-turbo 3-litre diesel and a 230 kW 540 Nm 2.7-litre biturbo petrols to join the range. Also expect hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions with a turbo petrol four-cylinder petrol coupled to at least one electric motor. And the existing choice of choice of a six-speed manual and 10-speed torque-converter automatics will also likely continue.
Volkswagen is likely to adopt at least two key Ford engines in the 2-litre biturbo diesel four-pot and the 3-litre turbodiesel V6, both matched to 10-speed automatic transmissions. Whether the ’22 Amarok continues with rear disc brakes remains to be seen, as does the question if the Ranger’s load bay will grow to meet the current Amarok’s broader bak.
Another poser is whether the Amarok will retain its permanent all-wheel-drive without a low range in 4×4 models, considering current 10-speed Ranger 4x4s have a traditional selectable off-road 4×4 system with a low range transfer case.
SAFER, STRONGER INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS
Pretoria’s bakkie twins are also expected to pack expanded suite of advanced driver-assist systems chasing five-star safety ratings. They will packing intersection assist, a centre airbag, more advanced autonomous emergency braking and lane support systems.
This new Ford-VW alliance promises formidable combination, considering the Ranger’s strong sales in SA and the likes of Australia and New Zealand, being the market leadership in Europe and is strong in most other countries, while Amarok has found particular favour in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as in South America.
This international deal will also spread across both companies’ light commercial portfolios, including a likely ‘half-ton’ bakkie to play where Ford’s Bantam and the the original VW Caddy once did.
Expect new Ranger to break cover later this year, Amarok next.