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Ford adds 400 jobs to kick off Edge production at Oakville plant

Popular crossover SUV will be released later this year and exported to more than 100 countries.

February 26, 2015   by PLANT Staff with files from The Canadian Press

Vehicle on Wheels (VOW) at the Oakville Assembly Plant  ensures the flushness of doors, hood and lift gate through laser and optical imaging. PHOTO: FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Vehicle on Wheels (VOW) at the Oakville Assembly Plant ensures the flushness of doors, hood and lift gate through laser and optical imaging. PHOTO: FORD MOTOR COMPANY

OAKVILLE, Ont. — Ford Motor Co. says it will add 400 new jobs at its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont. where the new Ford Edge crossover SUV will be built for Canada, the US and more than 100 other countries.

The new jobs are on top of 1,000 positions that Ford announced in October as the plant geared up to build the redesigned Edge with a $700 million investment in the plant, west of Toronto.

Ford says the redesigned Edge will go on sale this spring in Canada and the US.

To support the global launch of the Ford Edge, Oakville Assembly also announced today the addition of 400 new employees to supplement the 1,000 new employees that were announced last year. With an investment of $700 million, the Oakville Assembly plant has undergone a retooling and expansion, transforming it into one of the most competitive and advanced global manufacturing plants in Canada.

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The company says global demand for utility vehicles is up 88% since 2008 and they now account for 19% of the global automotive market. In Europe, the utility vehicle segment grew from 9% market share in 2008 to 21% in 2014. In the US – Ford Edge’s biggest market – the vehicle has been the best-selling five passenger crossover utility for seven out of the eight years since its launch.

The company will export the Edge to Western Europe for the first time.

“The new global Edge is an excellent and timely indication that Canada’s auto industry is poised to excel in coming years,” said Jerry Dias, national president, Unifor. “Canadian auto workers have consistently demonstrated superior productivity and quality results, which are essential to the success of an innovative vehicle like this one. This new vehicle is great news for the company and its workers, and good news for all Canadians who benefit from a strong auto industry and the revenue it generates.”

First opened in 1953, the Oakville assembly plant also produces the Ford Flex and the Lincoln MKT. It will also begin production of the 2016 Lincoln MKX this year. The facility has approximately 4,500 employees.

The production facility has undergone a significant transformation to include new technology and robotics, new processes, and new training. More than 250 new robots were added, including new software and vision systems that improve efficiency and quality. Another 1,000 robots have been upgraded.

The new robots will apply urethane to glass, install panels, doors and hoods to reduce variability. Laser brazing with new robotics will provide cleaner lines and higher strength seaming of the roof. A “Vehicle on Wheels” visions system
and a 3D dirt detection technology and increased robotic automation in paint employ a more durable paint application.

To prepare for Oakville’s 1,400 new hires, a simulation classroom was created to provide hands-on training. Throughout the plant, existing employees received training to manage new systems and processes.


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