Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Ford is to suspend vehicle and engine production in SA because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The US-based motor company will halt operations at its Tshwane vehicle assembly plant and Port Elizabeth engine plant on Friday.

It is the second multinational vehicle company to suspend SA operations because of Covid-19, following similar action at the end of last week by German carmaker BMW.

Motor industry officials fear more companies could follow suit soon as the pandemic not only cuts domestic demand but, more importantly, undermines export orders.

More than 60% of SA vehicle production is sold overseas.

Ford Southern Africa is particularly dependent on exports. Its Silverton, Tshwane vehicle assembly plant, which builds the Ranger bakkie, Everest sports utility vehicle and Raptor high-performance bakkie, ships them to nearly 150 countries and territories around the world.

The Port Elizabeth plant supplies diesel engines and components to Ford vehicle plants in other countries. SA is one of several international Ford locations shuttering production. All are export-orientated. I

Indian operations were closed on Saturday, Vietnam will follow on Thursday and Thailand and SA on Friday.

furlongerd@businesslive.co.za

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