Ryan Searle appointed sales director for Ford South Africa

Ford South Africa has announced the appointment of Ryan Searle as its new sales director, effective from 1 May 2024. With three decades of local and international retail sales, marketing, dealer development and management experience for German automotive brands, Searle will play a crucial role in the growth of the Ford brand in South Africa, and ensuring the success of its expanding range of new-generation products.

“We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Ford in South Africa this year, and have reinforced our commitment to providing competitive and compelling must-have products and services for our customers,” says Neale Hill, president, Ford Motor Company Africa. “Our locally produced Ranger line-up continues to grow with exciting new derivatives, and we’re bolstering our model portfolio with the freshly launched Territory SUV, the new Transit and Tourneo Custom and the seventh-generation Mustang later this year.

“It’s an exciting period for Ford South Africa, and we need a dynamic sales director to lead the company and our dealers into this new era. We are confident that Ryan Searle has the experience and drive to achieve these objectives, and we welcome him to the Ford family,” Hill says.

Searle joins Ford after six years as the head of Volkswagen Passenger Sales where he was responsible for sales and market share performance for its South African dealer network, including sales strategy and demand planning for the various sales channels.

Prior to this appointment he headed up market entry and local production strategy for one of the Volkswagen Group brands, and had responsibility for Volkswagen’s marketing communications, market entry and mobility strategy in Rwanda.

He has held various other senior positions in the Volkswagen Group in South Africa, including heading up the Audi Sales division from 2002 to 2004, and managing Volkswagen Marketing from 2005 to 2008. Thereafter he was appointed as head of Audi South Africa (2008-2014), followed by a three-year stint as the head of Audi Taiwan.

Searle also brings his extensive experience and knowledge of the retail sales business within the large Barloworld group to the Ford SA sales director position. He started in the industry in 1994 as an Audi sales executive before being promoted to sales manager a year later. In 2000, he was appointed dealer principal of Barons VW Wynberg in Cape Town, a position he held for almost two years before relocating to Johannesburg to join Volkswagen Group South Africa as Audi national sales manager.

Having matriculated from St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown in 1989, Searle went on to complete his Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1992 with Economics and Political Science as his major subjects. He followed this up with an Honours degree in Economics the following year.