The term “world cars” has been around for quite some time now, the idea being that identical models sold in one part of the world would also be available to other markets; i.e., a product designed and built in North America could be sold in Asia and/or Europe, and vice versa.
Unfortunately, with the odd exception, most of what we’ve seen of late has been travelling inbound. Indeed, several Ford products are currently assembled in Europe for North American consumption (Fiesta, Transit, Transit Connect, etc.). Much of this is due to North America’s ever-growing thirst for smaller and/or more fuel efficient vehicles, which naturally places the Europeans slightly ahead in the game.
Until now that is, because the playing field is about to level out considerably with news emanating from Ford’s Head Office in Oakville, Ontario. Yes, the all-new 2015 Ford Edge “world vehicle” is to be built right here in Ontario, Canada and will be sold around the world, including (for the first time) parts of Western Europe.
I was recently in attendance for this momentous announcement. I listened to the speeches made by top-level Ford execs, local and national government officials, together with the roaring cheers from Ford Employees as Jerry Dias (National President, Unifor) took to the stage to give one of the best union rah-rah speeches I’ve ever heard. As the applause died away, he spoke of the cooperation required to make this happen. He thanked those Ford executives in attendance, praised Canadian Government agencies for their assistance, but mostly spoke of how this will aid vehicle manufacturing in Canada and support both current and future Ford employees.
And he’s right! Here’s why building the Ford Edge (to be sold globally) in Canada is so awesome:
• Worldwide demand for utility vehicles is up 88% since 2008 and these products now account for 19% of the global automotive market.
• First launched in 2006, the Ford Edge has been the company’s best-selling 5-passenger crossover utility in the United States (its biggest market, so far) for seven out of the past eight years.
• It took an investment of $700 million CDN to transform Ford’s Oakville facilities, and it is now one of only five assembly plants worldwide capable of producing 11 midsize products on one platform.
• The all-new Canadian-built 2015 Ford Edge will eventually be shipped to 100 countries, including USA, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Turkey, Lithuania, Croatia, Singapore, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Bolivia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Italy and Latvia to name just a few! Because of this, the new Ford Edge will be built here in Canada in both Left-Hand Drive and Right-Hand Drive configurations, and there will even be a diesel version (although no word yet on whether this will be available for us here in North America).
• The 2015 Ford Edge will also be the first Ford vehicle in North America to be powered by the company’s new twin-scroll 2.0L EcoBoost engine. Available models will consist of the SE (base), the SEL, Titanium, and a new Sport model boasting Ford’s newest EcoBoost engine: the 2.7L V6.
• To meet demand, an extra 400 new employees will join the 1,000 announced last year, bringing the total workforce at the Oakville plant to 4,500. Since 2013, Oakville Assembly has hired more than 1,700 employees, which raises the total number of Ford employees in Canada to approximately 7,000 (plus 18,000 employed in Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealerships across the country).
• With investment in new robotics (250 brand new robots and 1,000 upgraded), together with Ford’s “Vehicle on Wheels” visions system ensuring panel fit & finish and its new 3D dirt detection technology for paint finishes, the quality of vehicles rolling off the line in Oakville is assured.
Now, with Canadian vehicle manufacturing standards renowned throughout the world, and this encouraging type of investment, Ford of Canada is well prepared to meet the needs of the future. That’s good news for our friends at Ford of Canada, but it’s also good news for all Canadians.