Little is known about the Ranger’s PHEV powertrain, but Australian website CarExpert suggests it will be an electrified version of Ford’s venerable 2.3-litre turbo petrol Ecoboost engine, with electrical assistance bumping total output to some 362bhp and 502lb ft – far more than even the most potent version of the Ranger currently available.
Ford is expanding its operations in South Africa to ready its Silverton factory for production of the new Ranger and its mechanically identical Volkswagen Amarok sibling, making its largest ever investment in the country to the tune of $1.05 billion (roughly £0.77bn).
The sum will be invested in improving Silverton’s environmental credentials and increasing its annual capacity from 168,000 to 200,000 vehicles.
To achieve this enhanced capacity, Ford will hire 1200 new workers at Silverton, bringing its South African workforce to 5500 as well as creating around 10,000 new jobs in the plant’s supply chains.
The American firm will also spend $686 million (£503m) upgrading the plant’s infrastructure. The upgrades include a new on-site robot-equipped bodyshop and stamping plant, box line and paintshop improvements and the addition of new vehicle modification and training centres.
The president of Ford’s International Markets Group, Dianne Craig, said: “The Ranger is one of our highest-volume, most successful global vehicles. This investment will equip our team with the tools and facilities to deliver the best Ford Ranger ever, in higher numbers and with superior quality.”
While the new Ranger will be Silverton’s main focus, produced for the domestic market and exported to the UK, the plant will also produce the next-generation Amarok. Both pick-ups are being developed together in a partnership between the two companies that’s said to greatly improve economies of scale.
Ford and Volkswagen confirmed a wide-ranging global alliance last year, whereby the two will join forces to develop commercial vehicles and pick-ups, including a Ford EV built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform.