October 27, 2021


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How Ford sees the future of transformation in South Africa’s auto industry

Bills on gender-based violence, to solve problems in the criminal justice system, are sent to Parliament

New economic realities facing South Africa make transformation more important than ever

That’s what Esther Buthelezi, Ford Motor Company Southern Africa (FMCSA) Transformation Manager, said this week that the transformation was not only more important than ever, but also more urgent.

In statements released by Ford on Tuesday, August 11, Buthelezi said the company is committed to implementing measures to promote better business, part which included support for the new Auto Industry Transformation Fund. (AITF).

In addition, the company announced that it will broaden the reach of its transformation initiatives and step up participation in economic empowerment programs for its dealer network in 2020.


“This unprecedented period as a company and as a country made us think. Markets will remain under pressure for the foreseeable future and competition will increase dramatically, ”said Buthelezi.

“This makes it a great time to implement measures that can help promote better business.”


Buthelezi works alongside various teams responsible for the dealership network, supplier purchasing and human resources to drive Ford’s South African transformation initiatives.

This includes designing, evaluating and implementing a transformation plan that achieves FMCSA’s business goals and that represents the organization’s interests with industry groups across southern Africa.
This includes the FMCSA’s Black Economic Empowerment Initiatives (B-BBEE).


The transformation of its dealers and component supplier network is one of the main goals for the company going forward.

The Industry-Wide Transformation Fund administered by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa provides a vital platform for manufacturers to facilitate transformation, which Ford is a strong supporter of.


The fund will be operational from 2021 and will use its R6 billion in industry contributions to boost industry transformation at all levels.


“We are very happy to partner with the rest of the industry to create this great transformation fund. With funds from the AITF, we will help develop black entrepreneurs, increase the number of black-owned component dealers and manufacturers, and create opportunities for young executives and technical staff at all levels of the world. ‘auto industry,’ noted Buthelezi.

“Ultimately, we anticipate a rapid acceleration of our transformation initiatives when business returns to normal, and we are confident that this will help grow the industry and ensure our sustainability for years to come,” a- she declared.


Buthelezi said the past decade has seen a complete transformation of Ford’s local manufacturing operations, both at the plant and product level.

Ford has invested more than R11 billion in its Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria and the Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth since 2009, and now has the highest installed production capacity ever for Ranger pickup trucks and Ranger Raptor, and the Everest Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

She said that alongside the significant transformation of its factories and product line, Ford has also made progress in transforming its workforce.

The FMCSA actively promotes job creation for young people through its innovative and extensive skills development and apprenticeship programs, with over R 250 million spent on training initiatives since 2014.

“All Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the South African automotive segment are to be Level 4 B-BBEE contributors by 2021. We are continually working towards this goal through various initiatives,” said Buthelezi.


Ford recently embarked on a historic public-private partnership with national, provincial and local governments to facilitate the creation of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (ZES).

“Tshwane Automotive SEZ is an industrial park of automotive component suppliers that will play an important role in boosting investment and job creation in the local economy, and helping businesses become more competitive globally. “Said Buthelezi.

“It is only by working hand in hand with government, industry and communities that we can create opportunities and realize our true potential. Initiatives such as Tshwane Automotive SEZ will enable local suppliers to grow as an integral part of the automotive industry, which currently accounts for 6.4% of South Africa’s GDP and 27.6% of South Africa’s manufacturing output. country. Ford alone contributes more than 1% of GDP, and we aim to further develop our business, ”she added.


Another key area of ​​interest for Ford is the development of all-black suppliers for the automotive industry.

To this end, the company, in conjunction with the Automotive Industry Development Center (AIDC), established an incubation center adjacent to its manufacturing facility in Silverton in 2011.

The Incubation Center helps black entrepreneurs start small service and manufacturing businesses with the ultimate goal of integrating them into Ford’s national supply chain.

“We currently have four budding entrepreneurs in the program. We hope that they will soon join the four other graduates who already provide parts and services to our vehicle assembly plant, and who benefited from more than R15 million in purchases in 2019, ”said Buthelezi.


For the next phase of its business transformation, Ford is investing in the human capital of its dealer and supplier networks. This includes working with key decision makers on senior management succession planning and supporting staff at all levels of the business.

“To ensure the success of our transformation plans, we need to identify individuals in all aspects of a dealer’s business – finance, sales, technical support and management – and support their professional development to ensure that there are a strong pool of future talent to help transform the dealer network, ”noted Buthelezi.

She said this end-to-end focus on training and development includes the Ford Academy which was established in 1998 as a sales academy for new vehicle sales staff, but has since grown to cover most designations for customers in the dealership.

“In addition, Ford offers a unique management development program, which is facilitated by Ford Academy in conjunction with WITS Business School over a 12-month period.

The program covers industry-specific topics that participants are required to present as part of an evidence portfolio. The program is equivalent to an NQF level 6, but it is a non-credit certificate. ”


Buthelezi said that to date, 38 participants from various dealerships across the country have graduated from the two programs offered in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.

Ford is also transforming its long-serving employee scholarship program to make it more inclusive and benefit more employees.

Previously, scholarships were only available for full qualifications. No short courses or other training courses were covered and it was capped at three subjects per year. The employee’s scholarship also had tax consequences which limited participation.

“Over the past year, we have changed our scholarship policy to include coverage for all types of training. As long as the educational institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training, the full cost of tuition fees and study materials is covered.

“The application rate has increased significantly from previous years, rising to over 300 dependent applications in the first half of this year. We have already paid around R6.5 million this year, ”said Buthelezi.

Ford has also partnered with the Youth Employment Service (YES), which enables it to provide temporary employment and training to unemployed young graduates.

To date, Ford has welcomed 205 young people into its YES program, with the goal of integrating many of these talented young people into its own business and that of its dealers and suppliers.

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