Ford Motor Co. has tapped around 1,400 workers at Oakville Assembly plant, near Toronto, since last year to build the redesigned Edge crossover. The carmaker originally planned to hire around 1,000 new workers as part of its C$700 million ($563 million) investment in preparation for the five-passenger 2015 Edge that is already being sold in North America.
The site now employs around 4,500 people building the Edge, Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said in a statement that the new capabilities at Oakville Assembly allowed for build the 2015 Edge that boasts of improved driving dynamics, quality, quietness, interior space and even more technology.
Ford will eventually sell the 2015 Edge crossover to Western Europe, China and other new overseas markets. “The all-new Ford Edge is a true global vehicle and a showcase of Ford’s product excellence,” Hinrichs said. The surge in new jobs at Oaksville is in contrast with recent cuts in manufacturing industries in Canada.
The Oakville site will commence production of a redesigned Lincoln MKX later this year. The Canadian and Ontario governments contributed 20 percent of Ford’s investment in the Oaksville plant. Jerry Dias, the national president of Unifor, said in Ford’s statement that the new Edge is “an excellent and timely indication” that the Canadian auto industry will excel in coming years.
Among the upgrades implemented at the site include new robots for: applying urethane to glass in a way that cuts wind noise; and for installing panels, doors and hoods more uniformly.
New robots were also installed for making seams in the roof stronger and more precise. The carmaker also installed “3D dirt detection technology” to find paint imperfections that could be detected by the naked eye. Ford also increased automation to render the paint more durable.
“The all-new Ford Edge is a true global vehicle and a showcase of Ford’s product excellence,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas. “Thanks to the new capabilities at Oakville Assembly, the 2015 Edge delivers improved driving dynamics, quality, quietness, interior space and even more technology, and we are proud for our Canadian team to start bringing Edge to customers in even more markets around the world.” [source: Ford]