Ford delays EV production at Oakville, Ontario plant until 2027

Ford Motor Co. is delaying the start of electric vehicle production at its plant in Oakville, Ont., by two years.

Image: Ford Motor Company

The U.S. automaker had planned to start production at the Canadian plant, which employs 2,700 workers, in 2025 and is pushing that back to 2027.

Ford announced plans last year to spend $1.8 billion to transform its Oakville assembly plant into a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing including vehicle and battery pack assembly.

It says work to overhaul the plant will begin in the second quarter of this year as planned, but the launch of the new three-row electric vehicles to be produced at the factory won’t happen until 2027.

The delay will give the consumer market more time to develop, the company said, and allow for further development of EV battery technology.

Some employees will remain on site during the plant transformation but there will be layoffs, Ford spokesman Said Deep said Thursday.

He noted that employees are eligible for income security benefits for a period that varies with seniority levels.

The company said it will work with Unifor, which represents 3,200 workers at the plant, to mitigate the impact the delay will have on its workforce.

Unifor said it wants Ford to consider all possible options to lessen the negative effects on workers from the “substantial delay” in the EV production launch at the Oakville plant.

“Unifor is extremely disappointed by the company’s decision. Our members have done nothing but build best-in-class vehicles for Ford Motor Co. and they deserve certainty in the company’s future production plans,” said Unifor national president Lana Payne.

“I want to be very clear here. Our members can be assured that we will push the company to explore every single possible opportunity to lessen the impact of this decision on them and their families.”

Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said the delay is a long-term decision.

“We value our Canadian teammates and appreciate that this delay will have an impact on this excellent team,” Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

“We are fully committed to manufacturing in Canada and believe this decision will help us build a profitably growing business for the long term.”

The Oakville site includes three body shops, one paint building and one assembly building.

Ford has said the planned changes at the site include a new battery plant where workers will assemble parts produced at Ford’s U.S. operations into battery packs that will then be installed in vehicles assembled on-site.

The company’s spending plans were first announced in 2020 as part of union negotiations, with workers seeking long-term production commitments. The Detroit Three automakers eventually agreed to invest in Canadian operations in concert with spending agreements with the Ontario and federal governments.

The two governments agreed to provide $295 million each in funding to secure the Ford investment.