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Published on Friday, January 12, 2018

Oakville to make new Edge ST

Production starts this summer

Oakville to make new Edge ST
Ford photo
Ford Edge ST
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

Unifor Local 707 president Dave Thomas is calling Ford’s decision to build a revamped version of the Edge SUV at the Oakville Assembly Plant evidence of the company’s commitment to Canada and Oakville.

The auto giant announced Thursday, Jan. 11 that the Oakville plant would be manufacturing the new Edge ST.

According to Ford the vehicle not only features superior handling and braking and the most powerful V6 engine in its class, but is also sporting more standard driver-assist technology than any other mid-size SUV including post-collision braking, evasive steering assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centring.

“This is great news for our operations at Oakville Assembly and the highly-skilled employees who work there,” said Lauren More, vice president of communications with Ford Motor Company of Canada.

“Edge is a global success story- it is already exported to more than 100 countries. And now, Oakville Assembly will be producing the smartest, most advanced Edge ever.”

Despite this announcement, More said there are currently no plans for additional hiring at the assembly plant.

That said, More noted the company would be keeping an eye on the market demand for the revamped vehicle.

Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth Brad Duguid also welcomed the news and spread the word on social media.

“So happy to hear that @Ford Canada will be building its redesigned Edge SUV at its Oakville plant. Great news for the Ontario auto sector,” he said on Twitter.

The move comes a year after Ford pledged $1.2 billion over four years to retool its Canadian plants and create a research and engineering centre in Ottawa.

It was part of a contract deal negotiated in November 2016 between Ford and Unifor that saw the automaker invest $600 million into its assembly plant in Windsor and $100 million to upgrade the assembly plant in Oakville.

The news also comes at a time when the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement is in question.

The announcement was well received by Thomas, whose union local represents the 4,600 employees at the plant.

“It is always good because it does drive some more investment into the Oakville plant,” he said. “It does kind of show that they are committed to Canada and they are committed to Oakville, so this is a good sign for us. This does bode well for the future of Oakville. There is no doubt about it.”

Production for the Edge ST is expected to begin at the Oakville plant in the summer.

Thomas said the one cloud on horizon is that Ford is planning to phase out production of the Ford Flex, which is currently manufactured at the Oakville plant, in 2020.

He questions whether this new line will be enough to replace that loss.

“We are going to need something to replace it that is for sure,” said Thomas.

“We’ll have to see how the demand is for the Edge ST. We’re hoping this line will take off and be viable for us for years to come.”
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Oakville Town Council



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