An investment of C$1.8bn (US$1.35bn) will be made by Ford to transform its Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario into a high-volume hub of electric vehicle manufacturing. The decision comes as part of the OEM’s plan to scale production of EVs to make them more accessible for prospective customers.
Beginning Q2 2024, the campus, which is to be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will be retooled and updated to enable the production of Ford’s next-generation EVs. The announcement marks the first time that a vehicle OEM plans to manufacture passenger EVs in Canada for the North American market.
“Canada and the Oakville complex will play a vital role in our Ford+ transformation,” explained Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “It will be a modern, super-efficient, vertically integrated site for battery and vehicle assembly. I’m most excited for the world to see the incredible next-generation electric and fully digitally connected vehicles produced in Oakville.”
The investment will be used to repurpose and transform existing buildings to create an advanced production facility. The OEM is pursuing a diverse strategic approach to expand EV production by constructing new greenfield sites in addition to transforming existing manufacturing sites, such as in Oakville and Cologne, Germany.
The 487-acre Oakville site currently comprises three body shops, one paint building and one assembly building. Once the transformation is complete, the campus will benefit from a new 407,000ft2 battery plant that will use cells and arrays from BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky. These components will then be used to assemble battery packs at the new campus for installation into Ford vehicles manufactured on-site.
“Ford’s commitment to invest in OAC retooling and upskilling signals a bright future for Canadian EV production and for Canadian auto sector employment,” said Lana Payne, national president of union Unifor. “The transformation of the Oakville plant is an important step toward a stronger industry and testament to the hard work, skills and dedication of our Unifor Oakville Assembly Complex members.”
“Ford of Canada has been a leader in the country’s auto industry since it was founded 119 years ago, driven by hard-working, dedicated employees,” said Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “As the top-selling auto brand in Canada for 14 straight years, the successful transition to EV production in Oakville will help deliver stable Canadian employment with the opportunity to build the new skills and expertise to drive Ford and the industry forward.”