Ford SA invited journalists to spend some time on the production line of its Silverton factory near Pretoria last week, not just as observers but helping to assemble the new Ranger Raptor bakkie, which is due to be launched in SA early in 2019. After a recent investment of almost R3bn to expand its capacity of up to 168,000 vehicles per year, comprehensive upgrades and changes were implemented at the plant. Ford’s Silverton plant churns out about 530 Rangers and Everest SUVs daily, destined for the local market as well as 148 left- and right-hand drive countries. It’s an enormous logistical exercise and every vehicle has to be fitted with the correct basket of features — lest some dealer in Manchester or Mexico City ends up with a Ranger missing the desired load-bay liner. I’ve spent a lot of time on factory tours and, while it can be fascinating, it’s not the same as donning gloves and doing the work yourself. I was first assigned to the Trim 1 station where, under the close guidan...

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