Interesting to see that while Ford has shut down its manufacturing in Australia, the US giant is expanding its operation in South Africa.

The much-anticipated Ranger Raptor, a high-performance version of the sales topping Ranger ute, will also be built in South Africa.

Australia’s Rangers come from Thailand.

Ford is investing some $300 million in an update of its Silverton plant, near Pretoria, and says its ‘super-bakkie’ (South African equivalent of ‘ute’) will join the existing Ranger line-up in 2019.

“The response to our announcement that Ford will be introducing a Ranger Raptor has been absolutely phenomenal,” managing director of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region Dr Casper Kruger said.

“We’re exceptionally proud to now confirm that this highly anticipated performance model will be assembled in South Africa.”

As the latest addition to the Ford Performance line up, the Ranger Raptor will be a high-performance desert-racing inspired variant that builds on the heritage of Ford’s iconic F-150 Raptor sold in the US – one of the world’s most extreme production pickup trucks.

Ford hasn’t yet confirmed technical details, but it appears Raptor’s  engine bay will house the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 that powers the F-150 Raptor, which claims a mighty 336kW of power and torque of 690Nm for a 0-100km/h time of about 5.8 seconds.

It will probably also inherit the F-150’s 10-speed automatic transmission.

The South African-built Ranger, launched in 2011, is exported to 148 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Ford says the upgrade to the Silverton assembly line is to meet growing local and international demand for the one-tonner.

Ford has been in South Africa for more than 100 years, with car plants at Struandale, Port Elizabeth and truck production at Silverton, Pretoria.

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.