* To expand production of pick-up trucks, Puma diesel engine
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* Seeks to boost exports
JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (Reuters) – The South African unit of Ford Motor Co. (F.N) plans to invest an extra 3 billion rand ($414.5 million) in its operations in the country to help ramp up production as it seeks to boost export volumes.
Business Day newspaper reported on Friday that Ford SA would use the additional capital expenditure to increase production of its next-generation compact pick up truck and Puma diesel.
Jeff Nemeth, chief executive and president of Ford SA, said the investment was part of its parent group’s expansion plans on the African continent.
“It ensures Ford maintains a viable and strategic presence in southern Africa,” Business Day quoted Nemeth as saying.
South Africa’s auto industry is the biggest within the manufacturing sector. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Tuesday the country’s total industry new vehicle sales had posted its third straight annual increase. [ID:nLDE63511C]
Other vehicle manufacturers in South Africa include Toyota Motor Co (7203.T), General Motors Corp GM.N, Nissan South Africa, Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE), and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE).
Nissan South Africa said last year it would boost production and was exploring further opportunities in countries like Angola and Nigeria. ($1=7.237 Rand) (Reporting by Serena Chaudhry)