Ford Canada is "not far away" from a decision on whether to transform its Oakville, Ontario, facility into a flexible assembly plant, according to a Reuters report.

"We are looking at our business plan - we're not ready to talk about it - but we might not be that far away," Ford Canada chief executive Alain Batty said in an interview with the news agency.

The possibility of retooling the Oakville plant later in the decade into a flexible manufacturing site was raised during contract talks in 2002 with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Reuters noted that Ford presently has flexible manufacturing facilities in the United States, South America and southeast Asia but none in Canada. The technique, used by Asian carmakers for years, lets them build several models on the same assembly line, raising efficiency and lowering costs.

Whether the business plan goes ahead depends on getting internal Ford approval and what contribution, if any, the federal and provincial governments are prepared to make, the report added.