Oakville, Ontario — A U.S. automotive consultant says Ford is planning to stop production of the Edge crossover utility vehicle, which has raised concerns about the future of the Oakville, Ont., assembly plant where the model is built.
Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, says Ford is in the process of changing its mix of models, and part of that process has led to them scrapping the Edge program.
“We are expecting the current Edge to be extended a short time to fill the gap, and then Ford to move on to another product,” Fiorani said in an interview with CBC News.
If the Fiorani’s prophecies come to fruition—similar to 2014, when Fiorani correctly predicted that General Motors would cease production at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.—it could potentially jeopardize the Oakville assembly plant. Currently, the plant has enough work to keep it busy through Edge’s current production cycle. However, if the automaker does decide to scrap the Edge, it could affect the livelihood of the plant.
“We have no intel saying they are planning any product in Oakville as of yet,” Fiorani said.
Ford Canada poured cold water on the report by telling CBC News that the “Edge and the five-passenger midsize SUV segment remain a critical part of Ford’s winning portfolio.”
“We have no plans to exit the segment,” said spokesperson Lauren More.
The Fiorani report comes as the labour agreement between Ford and Unifor, its largest Canadian union, is set to expire. Negotiations for a new four-year pact are scheduled to begin in September.
“This is the time when Ford would tell the union that it plans to close within the next contract four-year period,” Fiorani said.
In an interview with CBC News, Unifor leader Jerry Dias said that he was “concerned” with the report, but he described it as “premature.”
“Final decisions have not been made yet,” he said. “They sell 200,000 of these a year. It would have to be replaced with something if, in fact, it goes away at all.”
“The Ford Oakville plant was already going to be the focus of our contract negotiations this fall with Ford so what this did was certainly put a spotlight on it for good reason,” Dias said.
“We’re going to find a solution.”