Ford invests $700M in Oakville plant to secure 2,800 jobs

Spending on Canadian-made auto parts will increase by up to $200 million.

OAKVILLE – Ford Motor Co. is investing $700 million at its Oakville assembly plant, a move than will secure more than 2,800 jobs and expand the facility’s manufacturing capability to meet surging global demand.

“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. “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 and that the company’s spending on Canadian-made auto parts will increase by up to $200 million, to a total of nearly $4 billion annually.

The enhancements at Oakville Assembly are Ford’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 US – Edge’s biggest market – are on pace to beat the prior record of 130,000 vehicles set in 2007.

The move to global manufacturing at the Oakville plant will also enable Ford to shift production based on consumer demand more quickly and efficiently. The facility will align capacity of any one vehicle with real demand for Ford customers in North America and all over the world.

“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.

“Ford’s investment demonstrates Canada can be competitive in the global market through strategic partnerships,” said Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “Working closely with government and labour, we have secured a bright future for our employees at Oakville Assembly.”

As part of the investment, Ford will increase 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.

Ford has now invested more than $2 billion in Canada since 2004, when the automaker announced a $1 billion investment for Oakville Assembly to introduce flexible manufacturing to the facility. In 2010, the company invested $590 million in its Essex Engine Plant in Windsor.

Work on the transformation at Oakville Assembly has already started and is expected to be complete by fall 2014.

Oakville Assembly currently manufactures Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT.

Ford of Canada’s manufacturing operations include three vehicle assembly and engine manufacturing plants, and two parts distribution centres that employ more than 6,000 people.