Ford to make announcement at Essex Engine in Windsor

Ian Thibodeau

Ford Motor Co. will make an announcement Thursday morning at its Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne scheduled to take part.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas and Mark Buzzell, president and CEO of Ford of Canada, also will attend, according to a media advisory. Ford and Canadian government officials did not say what will be announced.

Trudeau’s office said Navdeep Bains, the federal minister of innovation, science and economic development, and Brad Duguid, the provincial minister of economic development and growth, also will attend.

The Essex plant has more than 800 employees. The 1.9-million square-foot facility opened in 1981 and workers there produce 5-liter V-8 engines.

The Essex plant was a focus of Unifor’s labor contract talks with Ford last year. The contract, ratified late last year to cover 6,400 Ford employees, included CA$713 million in investments at Ford Canada facilities. The investment includes CA$613 million into its Windsor operations and CA$100 million in Oakville Assembly. The union did not breakdown the Windsor investment between Windsor Engine and Essex Engine, but most, if not all of the investment, is expected to go toward the Essex plant.

The company, according to the union, promised Essex Engine production of a new large-displacement engine for some of the automaker’s best-selling vehicles. Investment for that engine is expected to begin in mid-2018 for launch in 2019 or 2020, union officials previously said.

More than 500 jobs were expected to be created or retained under the Unifor-Ford labor deal, according to the union.

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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