Trudeau, Ford announce $500 million R&D investment in Canada

In a news release, the governments said investment will bring 300 new jobs to Ford in Ontario and maintain employment for hundreds of others.

Ford said it also will add another 100 engineers elsewhere, more than doubling its mobile-connectivity engineering staff. Ford says it will help quicken its efforts and expand services in the space.

For Trudeau, it was somewhat of an emotional return to the plant his father helped break ground on while he was Canada's Prime Minister back in 1978.

The auto maker made the announcement Thursday in Windsor, Ont., where its Essex Engine Plant will begin building a new V8 engine, preserving 500 jobs.


The latter project is focused on developing connected auto technology, including research and development on features like infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles.

The global market for connected vehicles will exceed US$131 billion by 2019, after growing 30 per cent annually, according to a study by Transparency Market Research that was cited by Ford. Unifor also said Ford committed to continue to make the 5.0-liter engine at the Windsor plants.

"This is about positioning Canada as a global centre for automotive innovation, creating better opportunities for Canadians, and keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector competitive", Trudeau said in the statement. "With this substantial partnership, the company and provincial and federal governments are joining forces to ensure Ford will remain a leader in building the vehicles of tomorrow - right here in Ontario".

The funding is also aimed at helping Ford establish an advanced manufacturing program that will transform the company's power-train facility in Windsor.


The C$1.2 billion in investments (US $903 million) have all come in the last six months. He called it an emotional day, as he was able to hold the shovel his father held the day officials broke ground on Ford's Essex Engine Plant.

The Essex plant was a focus of Unifor's labor contract talks with Ford a year ago.

The Essex engine plant will assemble Ford's new 7X engine, a 6.9-litre V8 engine that will eventually replace the 6.8-litre V10 engine that is now offered as an option on Ford's best-selling vehicles, its full-sized pickup trucks.

The second-largest USA auto company had previously announced it would spend Can$700 million to refurbish its Windsor and Oakville assembly plants.


Wynne said she has been meeting recently with various state counterparts, including Gov. Rick Snyder in MI, to discuss the importance of Ontario's trade relationship to the United States.


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