Port Elizabeth – 22 November 2010 – The Ford Struandale Engine Plant proudly hosted United States Ambassador Donald H Gips during a visit to Port Elizabeth last week, as part of his efforts to strengthen economic ties between South Africa and the US.

Ambassador Gips and Bill Lehmberg, Economic Officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town, visited the Engine Plant in order to gain first-hand insight into the massive investment in the facility in the build-up to the production of the new-generation Puma diesel engine.

More than R3,0-billion is being invested in the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth for the Puma engine, as well as in the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria for the production of the new-generation Ranger compact pick-up – with most of the capacity destined for export markets when the projects come on line next year.

“Ford has made an important investment in South Africa, and as my role is to promote more investment and trade between our two countries, I wanted to see the progress first hand,” Ambassador Gips stated.

“It has been a wonderful experience to witness the transformation of the Struandale Engine Plant. The thing that struck me most during our tour of the plant is that this is a truly global economy.  You see machines made in Germany, engineers from America and India, cast-iron components from Brazil, all put together as part of this global product that is the new Puma engine.”

Ambassador Gips also acknowledged and congratulated the Struandale Engine Plant team on the effort they put into winning this global contract for the high-tech new Puma engine, having competed against numerous other top-ranked plants around the world.

“It’s clear that it took a remarkable effort and commitment to win the Puma contract for the Struandale Engine Plant and, importantly, this has guaranteed Ford’s future in this region,” Ambassador Gips said. “It really is a win-win situation for South Africa and the US that Ford is able to produce the engine and components here and, in doing so, create jobs and become a true global player.”

The Puma engine programme will see the Port Elizabeth facility producing 220 000 component sets (engine head, block and crankshaft) annually as of April 2011, 75 000 of which will be used for the assembly of complete engines for shipping to Silverton for the new Ranger, beginning in June 2011.

Notably, the Struandale Engine Plant enjoys the unique privilege of being the sole Global Puma source of machined components for the new generation Ranger, and shares the engine assembly volume for the Puma programme.