Ford Motor Co. plans to spend $209 million to expand its South African operations in preparation for a new small pickup truck and diesel engine.

The investment will be split between Ford’s assembly plant in Silverton, Pretoria, and its engine facility in Struandale, Port Elizabeth.

Expansion of the facilities is slated to begin next year, with production of the new diesel engine starting in 2010, followed by the new pickup in 2011.

The investment will transform Ford’s current manufacturing capabilities to “enhance South Africa’s significance as a strategic export base for vehicles, engines and components,” the auto maker says.

Plans call for the Silverton plant to transition to a high-volume, flexible single-platform line to accommodate the new pickup. Annual capacity will rise to 110,000 units, with approximately three-quarters of the output targeted for export, Ford says.

The Struandale engine plant will increase annual production of its next-generation, turbocharged, common-rail Puma diesel engine and components to approximately 180,000 units, with the majority for export, Ford says.