Pretoria – 23rd July 2008 – Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is proud to be the official vehicle sponsor of the South African rugby team and will reaffirm its commitment to the game of Rugby when it hands over 34 Ford Bantams to the development programme of the South African Rugby Union.

Ford has a longstanding association with South African rugby with its sponsorship encompassing the Springboks, the South African A team, the South African U-21 team and the South African Sevens team. The brand is also a sponsor for the Super 14 tournament.

“We are delighted to be the official vehicle sponsor of the South African Rugby team,” says Hal Feder, FMCSA President & CEO. “Both Ford and the South African Rugby team enjoy a proud history in the country with a large following across all age groups.”

The 34 Bantam’s will be handed over to the South African Rugby Union during July with the vehicles being used exclusively by the development officers in the different provinces.

“The South African rugby development programme ensures that policies are in place to identify and develop high calibre talent for future national squads. Ford is committed to the ongoing development of rugby in South Africa and is therefore pleased to play a role in nurturing new rugby talent through the development programme,” commented Feder.

“In a country as large as ours, developing the game countrywide presents considerable geographical obstacles. That is why we are very grateful to Ford, whose donation of 34 Bantams will go a long way to overcoming issues of distance and mobility. It is a tremendous investment in rugby development, and reflects the deep commitment Ford has to South African rugby and the game in general,” comments SARU President Oregan Hoskins.

Designed, engineered and tested in South Africa the Bantam is a vehicle that is perfectly suited to local conditions, inspiring the tagline: ‘Designed for South Africa by South Africans, with South African conditions in mind’.

“The Ford Bantam is a uniquely South African product and has been designed to withstand even the toughest local conditions,” continues Feder. “Its rugged ability partnered with its low running costs makes it the perfect choice for the development initiatives of SA Rugby.”

Ford’s Tough Truck ethos is founded on the basis of Ford’s revered Truck history. The Bantam, first introduced in 1983, is Ford’s longest standing nameplate in South Africa. Not only is the Bantam the backbone for Ford in South Africa, but Ford trucks have been the driving force of Ford’ Tough Truck heritage which dates back more than 100 years.

To commemorate the handing over of the vehicles Ford has put together a print advert featuring Springbok Rugby stars Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen and Francois Steyn. The advert already appears in various sport and relevant magazines.

“The advert serves to instill a sense of customer passion through our involvement with rugby. The sport is such an integral part of South African culture and we are delighted to be able to showcase Ford’s heritage alongside our involvement in South African rugby,” concludes Feder.