Friday, March 1, 2013

Ecoboost May Put The Squeeze On Ford’s Canadian Engine Plants

Ford’s plan to ramp up production of their Ecoboost engines may negatively impact the Blue Oval’s Essex engine plant in Windsor, Ontario.

The Essex plant, which currently employes 800 workers and operates with three shifts, is in danger of moving to two shifts as Ford’s V8 engines are increasingly replaced by the forced-induction 4-cylinder engines. Essex produces the 5.0L V8 engine used in the F-150 and the Mustang.

According to the Windsor Star, the Canadian Auto Workers union says that the total volume of engines isn’t expected to decrease for 2013, but the next-generation Mustang’s likely move to an Ecoboost powertrain could bring lower demand for the V8. The addition of an Ecoboost Mustang is expected to increase its profile across the Ford lineup, with 95 percent of Ford’s cars offering it as an option (up from 90 percent currently).

On the bright side, the V8 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Despite the Ecoboost’s popularity, a majority of F-150 buyers opt for the V8, and heavy-duty vehicles still rely on the naturally aspirated V8 for their motivation. Meanwhile, Ford’s Oakville plant, which assembles the Edge and Flex crossovers, is slated to get an all-new global platform and add hundreds of jobs (largely composed of previously laid-off workers).

But nothing is a given with respect to Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector, and even though strong F-150 sales are keeping the Essex plant busy, nobody ever expected Oshawa to lose their truck plant either.

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