PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, visited the Ford Struandale Engine Plant last week with the focus on gaining a broader understanding of the investment and growth opportunities within the local automotive sector.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to visit the Struandale Engine Plant and see the great work that has been done here,” Ambassador Gaspard said. “It is an impressive facility with great opportunities for growth, and this tour has enabled me to become an even better representative of the achievements and potential that exists within the local industry.
“The whole question of the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2015 is under discussion in the US. I have several meetings on Capitol Hill just before Christmas where I will be presenting the miracle of what has happened in the automotive industry in South Africa, and the way it has benefitted from the Act.”
The timing of the Ambassador’s visit, accompanied by Inga Heemink, Economic Officer from the US Consulate General, was particularly apt as the Port Elizabeth plant is currently gearing up to begin production and first-ever exports of engines to North America at the beginning of next year.
The locally produced PowerStroke 3,2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel engines will be used in the Ford Transit which will be assembled at the brand new Kansas City plant in Missouri from early 2014.
“We welcome the interest and support shown by the Ambassador in the successes and achievements at the Ford Struandale Engine Plant,” says John Cameron, Operations Manager.
“The plant has been transformed into a world-class and globally relevant facility that machines components and assembles engines for Ranger production around the world, while the new Transit engine export program opens up exciting new opportunities in the US, which is the largest and among the most competitive automotive markets in the world.”