Ford Ranger production grinds to a halt after Pretoria power lines collapse

Published Apr 12, 2023


Pretoria - Ford South Africa has been forced to temporarily halt production at its Silverton assembly plant east of Pretoria after six power lines collapsed in Pretoria on Monday night, leaving large parts of the city without power.

The new Ford Ranger, which is built at the Gauteng plant, is one of South Africa’s biggest automotive exports, reaching over 100 global markets.

Ford SA’s corporate communications manager Duduzile Nxele confirmed to IOL on Tuesday that all three shifts at the plant were suspended, resulting in a production loss of around 720 bakkies per day.

“We are working with both the City of Tshwane and Eskom to resolve the issue, but as yet do not have an indication of when power will be fully restored to our facilities,” Nxele added.

The prolonged outage was caused by the collapse of six 132 kV power lines on the N4 freeway, and has left large parts of Pretoria East and North without power.

The incident also led to the closure of the N4 East Freeway between the Solomon Mahlangu and Simon Vermooten off-ramps, the City of Tshwane said.

On Wednesday the City said it was prioritising the restoration of power to all areas by working with internal and Eskom teams to restore power in a two-pronged approach. In order to return as many areas as technically possible, the City has implemented load rotation in areas that have power in order to re-channel power to areas that have experienced a prolonged outage.

However, getting power restored to the Ford plant is a critical necessity given that the company employs 5 500 people, and approximately 60 000 jobs across the company’s local supplier network are also dependent on it.

Ford SA is a major export supplier to the global network, and last month the company shipped 5 708 units abroad, making it the country’s biggest bakkie export.

IOL Motoring