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CANADA: Ford announcement secures Oakville’s future

By Chris Wright | 20 September 2013

Huge spend strengthens future of long-serving Canadian plant in Oakville, Ontario. File photo shows 2011 Flex final line

Huge spend strengthens future of long-serving Canadian plant in Oakville, Ontario. File photo shows 2011 Flex final line

Ford Canada has announced a major spending programme which will secure the future of its operations in Oakville, Ontario, guaranteeing around 3,000 jobs into the next decade.

The carmaker will spend up to US$700m to retool the Oakville plant, west of Toronto, which will assemble mid size crossover utility vehicles for both North America and export. The federal and Ontario provincial governments will contribute about US$130m following more than two years of negotiations with the two governments.

The auto industry plays a crucial role in the Ontario economy; the state is home to all of the vehicle plants in Canada and most of the 150,000 jobs in assembly and parts manufacturing.

Vehicle manufacturing and components represent about 2.4% of the province’s gross domestic product directly and as much as 10% when the contribution of other industries such as steel making, transportation and warehousing is included, according to estimates from the Bank of Montreal.

The two governments also contributed more than US$12bn to the bailouts that saved Chrysler and General Motors from liquidation. The redevelopment at Oakville represents one of the largest single investments Ford has made since the end of the recession which the company rode out without going into US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and without any government bailouts.

Oakville will build the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers on a relatively new global platform that also serves as the base for the mid-sized Ford Fusion [the upcoming 2014 Mondeo in Europe] and Lincoln MKZ sedans and is expected to be extended to other new vehicles.

Production of the current versions of the Edge and MKX will end late next year and assembly of new models on the new platform is due to begin early in 2015.