Motor Co. will invest Canadian $700 million ($680 million) to
bring several new global models to its Oakville, Ontario,
assembly plant as it moves to meet demand in North America and
around the world.
"This investment is
helping us find much-needed capacity for global products ...
and it is positioning Oakville as one of the most competitive
and important facilities in the Ford system," Joe Hinrichs,
Ford president for the Americas, said Sept. 19.
The expansion will
increase Fords sourcing of Canadian-made auto parts by
about C$200 million ($194.3 million) to an annual total of
nearly C$4 billion ($3.9 billion).
The move to global
manufacturing at the Oakville plant will enable Ford to shift
production based on consumer demand more quickly and
efficiently. "If consumers suddenly shift their buying habits,
we can seamlessly change our production mix without having to
idle a plant," Hinrichs said.
Ford now uses nine global platforms to build about 85 percent
of its vehicles. As part of the investment, Ford will boost its
sustainability and fuel-efficiency research and development
work in Ontario, including supporting studies in vehicle
lightweighting, reducing stationary emissions from industrial
facilities, and advanced-engine development at its Windsor
powertrain research facilities.
Work on the
transformation at Oakville, which builds the Ford Edge, Ford
Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT models, is already under way
and should be completed by fall 2014.
A Canadian Auto
Workers (CAW) union official told AMM recently he was
not alarmed by the amount of investment North American
automakers had announced for the United States and Mexico over
the prior 16 months (
amm.com, July 5), and he anticipated further
investment in Fords Oakville plant.
in cycles," said Ken Lewenza, now retired as CAW president.
realized higher capacity utilization and productivity rates at
their Canadian operations, offsetting perceived disadvantages
such as high wages and a strong Canadian dollar, Lewenza said,
adding that CAW members provided that high quality and
productivity so "Canada is a good place to invest."
The CAW and the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada merged
Aug. 31 into a single organization called Unifor.
"The benefits of this
investment are enormous for the province and for the country,"
Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a statement.
Ford will maintain
2,800 jobs as a result of its capital project. "Our members at
Ford have worked hard to ensure that this facility is a
profitable location to invest and build automobiles well into