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$685 million going to Ford’s Ontario plant

Will be factory that produces global models

– Ford Motor Co., the top-selling automaker in Canada, plans to spend $685 million to update its last assembly plant in the country to build cars and trucks from one of its global vehicle platforms.

The Oakville, Ontario, complex will get an upgrade to its body shop and transition from a to-be-discontinued architecture now underlying the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers produced there, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said last week. He declined to name the future platform or models that the Dearborn, Mich.-based company will build.

Carmakers are paring the number of architectures off which they build vehicles to trim development costs and boost profit. The nine global platforms that Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has focused on under his One Ford plan are used for 85 percent of the vehicles Ford builds. The carmaker had 27 vehicle architectures in 2007.

“This secures the foreseeable future of the Oakville assembly complex, and that’s a big deal for auto manufacturing in Canada,” Hinrichs said by telephone.

The investment will maintain 2,800 jobs at Oakville, Ford said in a statement. The project will be completed in the second half of 2014 without any major interruption to vehicle production at Oakville, Hinrichs said. The factory also assembles Lincoln MKT and Ford Flex utilities.

“We may take a down week here or there tied to a holiday period to extend some of the construction periods, but nothing of any major consequence,” he said. “We’re running this plant pretty solidly. We need to keep building product.”

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