Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper has reported that the long-term future
of the Ford F-series truck plant in Oakville, Ontario is in jeopardy after it
was passed over for the next-generation model due to start production in 2003.
The newspaper claimed it has an internal memo which says that the Ontario Truck
Plant (OTP) will continue making the current F-series instead of winning new
investment to manufacture the next model.
Three U.S. plants will be equipped for the new version beginning in the third
quarter of 2003 while OTP and a Mexican plant will manufacture the older version
which the memo names "Classic", The Globe and Mail said.
Industry sources told the newspaper Ford was unlikely to keep the old model
going once the new plants were up to full production.
"As of the 2005 model year, there hasn’t been a decision on a replacement
vehicle," Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove told the Globe
He added that he was always worried when a plant has no future product earmarked
for it, but said "it’s hard to imagine them closing the truck plant."
However, one industry source in Detroit told the Globe and Mail that the plant’s
future was in jeopardy.
"Every vehicle facility has to be sure that it has product in place for
the next five, six years," the source told the newspaper.
"I would question Ontario Truck’s position in light of that."
Ford Canada spokesman John Arnone told the Globe and Mail that there was no
plan to close the plant.
"Vehicle and plant plans are continually under study," he said.
The Globe and Mail said that Ford eliminated one shift of workers at OTP in
November 1993 although it spent about $C1 billion to upgrade the paint and body
shops to make the latest version of the F-series, which the Oakville plant began
building for the 1997 model year.
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