Published: Fri, March 31, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Ford Invests for R&D in Canada

Ford Invests for R&D in Canada

The federal and and provincial governments are investing more than $200 million in a new engine program at Ford's Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ont., as part of a $1-billion partnership with the company to "create and maintain" nearly 800 jobs.

The new hires more than double the size of Ford's mobile connectivity engineering team. Meaning it will hone in on vehicle modems, new driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles. Additional facilities will be located in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, as well as Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Florida.

Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer, said that connectivity is critical to the future of mobility.

Ford has received more than $1 billion in a partnership with the Province and Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday that federal and provincial governments will provide Ford with conditional grants of up to $102.4 million Canadian dollars for the projects. The Ottawa-based company's software is already present in the infotainment systems of more than 60 million Ford cars.

The funding also aims to help Ford establish an advanced manufacturing program that will transform the powertrain plant in Windsor.

It is part of the $700 million in new investments secured during a 2016 agreement between Ford and its 7,000 unionized Canadian workers, the sources said.

Standing beside Wynne at the University of Windsor's Centre for Engineering Innovation, economic development minister Brad Duguid said provincial leaders still hope NY won't limit where it can buy from and - if it does - that an exemption can be worked out for Ontario.

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"Technology and innovation never stand still, so it's essential that Ontario's auto sector keeps driving ahead to remain globally competitive".

The company was also set to release details on plans to add a new engine line for pickups at the Essex plant.

Buzzell said the government's investment will help Canada "compete and win" in the global auto industry.

Ed Giofu has worked for Ford in Windsor for the past 34 years and survived three plant closures. he called the investment "awesome". The investment includes CA$613 million into its Windsor operations and CA$100 million in Oakville Assembly.

The auto maker made the announcement Thursday in Windsor, Ont., where its Essex Engine Plant will begin building a new V8 engine, preserving 500 jobs.

Ford is far from the only automaker to be injecting massive amounts of money and resources toward connectivity and related fields. Investment for that engine is expected to begin in mid-2018 for launch in 2019 or 2020, union officials previously said.

"At the end of the day, these trading relationships create good jobs for the people of Ontario ... but they also create good jobs for people in the United States", Wynne added.

Unifor said Ford said technology upgrades to the current 5-liter engine program at Essex would be needed for expanded use of a particular spray technology in time for the 2018 model year.

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