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Ford contract opens up new avenues to future of auto industry

Dave Waddell, Windsor Star
September 29, 2020

Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association President Flavio Volpe called Unifor’s new contract with Ford Canada a transformational moment in the domestic auto industry.

“The impact of this is comparable to when Toyota opened a green field plant in 2007,” Volpe said.

“We’ve had a lot of healthy investments in existing plants. This one is transformational.

“It allows us to tell our story differently. Before our pitch was potential. Now our pitch is reality.

“What better endorsement of everything we can potentially do than Ford Motor Company saying, “Fine, let’s do it.’”

With Ford turning its Oakville Complex into an electric vehicle and battery assembly complex, the Detroit automaker has stuck a flag in Ontario designating the province as one its key jurisdictions in its electrification strategy.

“We’re talking about a BEV plant,” Volpe said.

“That’s unprecedented, not just in Canada, but it’s one of the earliest OEM commitments to a full BEV plant anywhere in the world.

“In Ford’s terms, it’s only preceded by the electric F-150 announcement a couple weeks ago.”

Volpe said Ford’s commitment to Oakville is the first example of the benefits of the new USMCA trade agreement and the value of proactive government investments.

“I talked with the premier last week and he’s very focused on battery sourcing,” Volpe said.

“He doesn’t want sourcing of batteries from somewhere else. There’s a desire for lot more strategic government participation.”

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