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Ford Motor Co. delays start of EV production at Oakville, Ont., plant until 2027

Ford Motor Co. has decided to postpone the start of electric vehicle (EV) production at its Oakville, Ont., plant by two years. This change impacts the timeline previously set for launching production at the Canadian facility, which currently employs 2,700 individuals. Initially slated for a 2025 kick-off, the production commencement has now been rescheduled for 2027.

Last year, Ford announced intentions to allocate $1.8 billion towards the transformation of its Oakville assembly plant into a center for electric vehicle manufacturing, encompassing both vehicle and battery pack assembly. Although the plant overhaul is still scheduled to commence in the second quarter of this year as originally planned, the introduction of the new three-row electric vehicles earmarked for production at the site will now be delayed until 2027.

Ford has elucidated that the delay is partly influenced by the need for further evolution within the consumer market and advancements in EV battery technology.

Amidst this transformation phase, certain employees will remain stationed at the Oakville plant, but layoffs are inevitable, confirmed Ford spokesperson Said Deep. The company has assured affected employees of eligibility for income security benefits, with the duration varying based on seniority levels.

Acknowledging the impact of the delay on its workforce, Ford has pledged to collaborate with Unifor, the union representing 3,200 workers at the Oakville facility, to mitigate adverse effects. Unifor has expressed disappointment over the decision, emphasizing the importance of providing certainty to its members regarding future production plans.

Lana Payne, Unifor's national president, affirmed the union's commitment to advocating for its members and their families, urging Ford to explore all feasible avenues to minimize the repercussions of the delay.

In response, Ford's president and CEO, Jim Farley, asserted that the deferment represents a strategic long-term decision. Farley reiterated the company's dedication to Canadian manufacturing and its workforce, despite the temporary setback.

The Oakville site comprises three body shops, one paint building, and one assembly building. Ford's envisioned modifications include the establishment of a new battery plant, where workers will assemble components sourced from Ford's U.S. operations into battery packs for installation into vehicles assembled onsite.

The decision aligns with Ford's commitment to Canadian production, a stance emphasized during negotiations with unions in 2020. These negotiations resulted in agreements between the Detroit Three automakers and the Canadian government, securing investments in Canadian operations. Both the Ontario and federal governments pledged $295 million each to facilitate Ford's investment in the Oakville facility.

While the delay may present short-term challenges, Ford remains steadfast in its mission to cultivate a sustainable and profitable manufacturing presence in Canada, underscoring its faith in the long-term viability of the Oakville plant's transformation into an EV manufacturing hub.



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