Ford on Monday said it had expanded its engine production capacity at its plant near Pretoria, South Africa, as part of a US$500m export investment programme.

The Struandale plant now has the capacity to produce 75,000 engines and 220,000 engine component kits. The Silverton assembly plant also expanded its Ford Ranger pickup truck production capacity to 110,000 vehicles a year, which will be exported to 148 markets, Dow Jones reported.

The expansion solidifies "South Africa's role as a key operation in Ford's global manufacturing footprint," executive vice president and chief financial officer Lewis Booth said in a statement.

Ford refurbished the engine and assembly plant in the past 24 months.