The Half-Ton Bakkie That South African Have Grown to Know And Love Says Farewell
- The last Ford Bantam rolled off the line on 17 November 2011
- Ford Bantam lays claim to beingSouth Africa’s longest running Ford nameplate
- Bantam customers will continue to receive Aftersales support from FMCS
17 November 2011 – With its rugged features and hard working aptitude the trusty Ford Bantam has epitomised the Built Ford Tough ethos for nearly three decades.
The Bantam, known as the Bakkie that built the nation developed and built by South Africans, for South Africans, inSouth Africa – was the product of home-grown expertise purpose-designed to suit local operating environments.
“South African consumers were first introduced to the Ford Bantam in 1983,” said Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company ofSouthern Africa. “It was a uniquely South African innovation that for 28 years combined the durability and reliability of a pick-up with the comfort and performance of a passenger car. But now the time has come for us to say goodbye to this South African motoring icon.”
The last Bantam rolled off the line at approximately11:45a.m on Thursday 17 November 2011. The occasion marked the end of an era for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) with staff attending a special farewell ceremony.
While the Bantam will always be remembered as a significant model inSouth Africa’s motoring heritage the farewell was a bitter sweet affair as the Bantam has made way for the newly introduced All-New Ford Ranger.
Previously the Silverton Assembly Plant was able to assemble multiple vehicles, however as one of three global production hubs for the All-New Ranger, the facility needed to transform into a single-model production facility that will be exported to 148 countries with a capacity of 110 000 units annually.
The project has brought with it great investment and has seen the introduction of a new Body Shop, Supplier Incubation Centre and Training Simulator constructed from the ground-up, while all areas of the plant have been upgraded.
“The Bantam has contributed positively to the South African economy and ensured jobs for the many workers at our Assembly Plant in Silverton and our Struandale Engine Plant in the Eastern Cape, however with the introduction of the All-New Ranger, Ford has made a significant investment into South Africa ensuring even greater opportunities for the surrounding communities,” explains Nemeth.
Locally, the Bantam has been the face of the “Built Ford Tough” ethos and lays claim to beingSouth Africa’s longest running nameplate for Ford SouthAfrica. Though production of the pick-up has drawn to an end, Ford will continue to offer Aftersales support to Bantam customers. Thanks to its high local content and Ford’s extensive dealer network, customers can rest assured that they will receive the same high-levels of Ford support as before.
“The Bantam will always have a special place in our hearts. It’s been a trusted partner to so many South African’s over the years and will no doubt be remembered for a long time to come,” concluded Nemeth.