Ford begins Edge production, hires 400 new workers

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday will announce the hiring of 400 workers at its Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, as it begins production of the 2015 Edge crossover.

The Dearborn automaker will offer the mid-size crossover for the first time in Europe, and it also will be sold in North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The 400 new hires will join more than 1,000 workers whose hiring was announced last year. Ford previously announced a $563 million investment in the plant that included the installation of more than 250 advanced robotics systems.

The 2015 version of the Edge includes a number of updates, including adaptive steering (which reduces how much the driver has to turn the steering wheel at slow speeds, making parking and other tight maneuvers easier), a 180-degree front camera with a washer, enhanced park-assist and side park sensors. It will come in three trim levels: the base SE, SEL and new Titanium series.

It will be the first to come standard with Ford's new twin-scroll turbo 2-liter Ecoboost. The Edge will also feature a Sport version that comes with a 2.7-liter V6 Ecoboost engine.

Oakville Assembly was retooled and expanded to include robots that can do everything from install hoods and panels to create glass seals on the vehicle to reduce wind noise.

The plant installed a simulation classroom to prepare the new hires and existing employees on how to manage the systems.

"The new global Edge is an excellent and timely indication that Canada's auto industry is poised to excel in coming years," Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, said in a statement. "This new vehicle is great news for the company and its workers, and good news for all Canadians who benefit from a strong auto industry and the revenue it generates."