South Africa and the Ford Motor Company share a history that spans more than 100 years.
Ford is one of the most recognised brands in the country, and its vehicle sales have increased year on year. In 2016, Ford South Africa registered its highest ever market share of 16.4%.
At Masterparts, we recognise the special place that Ford occupies in the country by offering a comprehensive range of affordable Ford parts and spares – and here, we look at the history of the world’s fifth largest car manufacturer from a uniquely South African perspective.
First-ever Ford export outside North America
The earliest recipient of a Ford motor car outside North America was Johannesburg financier, Arthur Youldon.
When visiting New York in 1903, he came across an automobile demonstration by Henry Ford. Youldon was so enamoured with the four-seater Model A, with its spacious interior, three-gear transmission and two cylinder internal combustion engine, that he ordered one on the spot. It boasted a top speed of 45 kmph, and sold for just $750.
The motor vehicle was duly shipped to Port Elizabeth, and then sent to Johannesburg by train.
The original car has survived to this day, and can be viewed at the Franschhoek Motor Museum.
The first S.A. Ford dealerships
Not long after the arrival of the Model A on South African shores, Arkell & Douglas and Frenchman Georges Chapart began serving as local Ford agents. One early dealership was Atkinson’s Motor Garages, a company later incorporated into the vast McCarthy Group.
Right-hand drive kits for Ford models had to be imported from Canada because the Ford production lines in the United States manufactured only left-hand drives.
In 1924, tax incentives prompted the development of the first Ford assembly plant in South Africa.
South African Motor Corporation
In 1985, the South African subsidiary of Ford Canada merged with Sigma, an Anglo-American car manufacturer that produced Mazda and Mitsubishi motor cars for the South African market.
The merger spawned the South African Motor Corporation (Samcor), a company that marketed the likes of the Ford Laser and Ford Meteor, both of which were based on the Mazda 323.
Due to sanctions imposed by Washington on the apartheid regime, Ford sold its stake to Samcor and pulled out of South Africa. It did, however, license the use of the Ford name to Samcor, ensuring the continuation of the brand.
Ford in post-apartheid South Africa
The inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected President of South Africa prompted the return of the Ford Motor Company.
Since 1994, Ford has pumped more than R5.5 billion into new equipment and state-of-the-art facilities in South Africa. Today it employs thousands of people in two plants – the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth.
In 2016, the Silverton plant became a two-vehicle assembly plant with an annual capacity of 110 000 units. Both the Everest SUV and the Ford Ranger pick-up truck are assembled there.
The Struandale Engine Plant manufactures components for the Duratorq TDCi, a new generation engine with enhanced fuel economy and low carbon emissions. The Port Elizabeth facility has an annual output of 250 000 machined components.
Ford parts and spares
Products vary from body parts and electronic spares, to all the components required to keep Ford motor cars performing at their peak.
Quality machined Ford parts, spares and accessories are stocked at Masterparts branches in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Leading supplier of Ford parts and spares
Ford is one of the top-selling vehicle brands in the country. Accordingly, Masterparts stocks a comprehensive range of high-quality Ford parts and spares, for all the popular Ford models – old and new – on our roads.