Photo: Ford Motor Co.

Photo: Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has announced it will assemble its Ford Ranger pickup truck in Nigeria starting in the fourth quarter of 2015 as part of its expansion in Middle East and Africa. Nigeria will be the first African country outside of South Africa where Ford vehicles are produced, according to the automaker.

Ranger assembly will begin in Ikeja, in the Lagos State about 750 km southwest of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. Ford said it is partnering with Ford dealer group Coscharis Motors Limited on the project.

Ford said it will assemble the vehicles at a semi-knockdown level, using body parts and components imported from South Africa for the new Ranger. The new assembly plant in Ikeja will create approximately 180 jobs directly and indirectly, and has the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually. Vehicles assembled at Ikeja are destined for sale in Nigeria only.

The Ford Ranger was the best-selling vehicle South Africa for the first half of 2015, and is currently sold in 24 countries throughout the continent. Later this year, Ford will begin selling an updated Ranger with new styling and new features.

The Ranger features an ability to wade through water up to 800 mm deep, and has 230 mm of ground clearance. And with a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle, customers feel confident when taking on steep terrain. An electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4x4 models to shift on the fly from 4x2 to 4x4 high with a knob on the center console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill braking, drivers can also engage low-range 4x4 gearing. An electronic locking rear differential helps to improve traction in difficult conditions.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa produces the Ranger for 148 markets including Europe, Middle East, and Africa.