While Port Elizabeth is recovering from the exodus of one of the city’s vehicle manufacturers, General Motors has reached a milestone as it consolidates its local investment.

The Ford South Africa Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth has just assembled its half a millionth diesel engine for its Ford Ranger range.

Since the plant opened in 1964 it has now assembled more than 3.3 million Ford engines.

The Ford Ranger engine programme started six years ago, the engines are exported to 148 countries. Ford is now consolidating a R3 billion investment in its local operations in order to increase its exports.

It was a tough year for local manufacturers with little to no growth in the local market. Ford also had to resolve the fire issues in its Kuga range.

But sales of its pick-up remained strong.

The Struandale plant also manufactures components for other Ford diesel engines.

More than 1.3 million component sets have been produced since 2011 and are exported to the company’s plants in Argentina and Thailand.