Ford (IW 500/8) announced today that it will invest C$700 (US$685) in its Oakville Assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. The plant assembles Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT. The investment secures 2,800 jobs.
“This investment is helping us find much needed capacity for global products and securing jobs, and it is positioning Oakville as one of the most competitive and important facilities in the Ford system,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas, speaking from a ceremony at the plant today. “Global fuel-efficient products, built in a state-of-the-art facility, by a great workforce are a win for everyone today.”
Hinrichs said Ford will bring several new global models to the plant, helping to meet demand in North America and around the world. He added that the company’s investment will mean its spending on Canadian-made auto parts will increase by approximately C$200 million, to a total of nearly C$4 billion annually.
The enhancements at Oakville Assembly are the company’s latest step in maximizing its existing North American manufacturing assets, matching production to consumer demand as Ford’s North American sales surge to pre-recession levels. Sales of the Oakville Assembly-produced Edge in the United States – Edge’s biggest market – so far in 2013 are on pace to beat the prior record of 130,000 vehicles set in 2007.
“If consumers suddenly shift their buying habits, we can seamlessly change our production mix without having to idle a plant,” said Hinrichs. “Flexible manufacturing enables us to get vehicles to consumers faster than ever before. This is a great value proposition for everyone.”
Ford currently utilizes nine global platforms around the world to build about 85% of its vehicles. Global manufacturing offers Ford the opportunity to leverage commonality of components, design and build processes to streamline its ability to produce high-quality vehicles and accelerate production to meet growing consumer demand for Ford products.
As part of the investment, Ford will also be increasing its sustainability and fuel efficiency research and development capacity in Ontario, including supporting studies in vehicle light-weighting, the reduction of stationary emissions from industrial facilities, and research into advanced engine development at Ford’s powertrain research facilities in Windsor.
With today’s announcement, Ford has now invested more than C$2 billion in Canada in less than a decade. In 2004, Ford announced a C$1 billion investment for Oakville Assembly to introduce flexible manufacturing to the facility. In 2010, the company announced a C$590 million investment for Essex Engine Plant in Windsor.
Investment in auto manufacturing directly benefits the Canadian economy. It is estimated every auto job generates up to 10 supporting jobs.
Work on the transformation at Oakville Assembly is already under way. It is expected to be completed by fall 2014. “This is an incredible year for Oakville Assembly,” said Will Cowell, plant manager, Oakville Assembly. “We are celebrating the plant’s 60th anniversary and we passed the one-million mark in Ford Edge production. We look forward to continuing to celebrate many more milestones and to building quality vehicles with passion and excellence for years to come.”