Ford Motor Co. is getting ready to disclose plans to invest around $700 million to retool its Oakville assembly plant in Ontario, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto. Ford is expected to spend between $675 million and $725 million at its only Canadian assembly plant, which builds the Ford Edge, Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, said the paper adding that the federal and Ontario governments also will contribute around $135 million.
According to Globe and Mail, Ford has been in talks with the two governments for over two years over the future of the Oakville site. Once retooled, the site will enable Ford to assemble the next-generation Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers on the same platform as the Fusion and MKZ sedans. The auto industry is considered crucial to the economy of Ontario, where all of auto assembly plants and most of 150,000 auto-related industrial jobs are located.
The planned Oakville investment is part of Ford's four-year tentative agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers -- now known as Unifor -- to reduce costs while keep vehicle production in the country. The agreement entails wages and benefits for 4,500 Ford auto workers.
At the time, CAW President Ken Lewenza remarked that while the agreement would provide no base wage adjustments, hourly employees will receive C$2,000 lump sum payments in the last three years of the contract. Once the agreement is ratified, eligible workers will receive a C$3,000 ratification bonus. According to CAE, the agreement would result to the creation of around 600 jobs at Ford's Canadian operation. The deal also extends the number of years that new workers will work at lower pay before earning top-tier wages.