Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited

October 16, 2006 09:56 ET

Changing the Game: New Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX Roll Off Oakville's Flexible Assembly Line

- Highly anticipated, all-new Canadian-built Ford Edge to be exported to more than 40 countries - New Lincoln MKX is the first volume Lincoln ever built in Canada - Oakville Assembly completes a $1-billion transformation making it Ford's first flexible plant in Canada - Hockey great Wayne Gretzky leads an employee celebration to mark start of production - Real-world testing of pre-production models in three key U.S. markets

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 16, 2006) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

Described as "game changers" for their bold design and segment-busting potential, the 2007 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX began rolling off the line at Ford of Canada's showcase Oakville Assembly Complex today marking the completion of a $1-billion conversion to flexible manufacturing.

"The people of Oakville Assembly are creating our future. Products like the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX create the value and excitement that customers want. Not only are the products fantastic, but the flexible manufacturing processes we see in Oakville will help us deliver new products faster than ever and with outstanding quality," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company.

The start of production was given star treatment today as hockey great Wayne Gretzky emerged from a 2007 Ford Edge to the cheers of morning-shift employees.

"The new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will change the game in the auto industry. These are winning products being built by a winning team," Gretzky said.

"As a flexible assembly complex, Oakville will compete from a position of strength, delivering the all-new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX and a third, all-new crossover," said Joe Hinrichs, vice president, North American manufacturing, Ford Motor Company.

In addition to the Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX, Oakville Assembly will build a full-size, seven-passenger crossover utility vehicle (CUV) based on the Ford Fairlane concept. It is slated to go on sale in 2008. Crossovers represent one of the fastest growing segments in the industry with sales surpassing traditional SUVs in North America.

Ford of Canada president and CEO Bill Osborne said, "Oakville Assembly is a jewel in Ford's assembly operations and its new products will bring a new generation of Ford customers to showrooms in Canada and around the world."

Ford Edge will be sold primarily in North America, but 40 additional nations including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Panama will also market the made-in-Canada CUV.

The 2007 Ford Edge will distinguish itself in the red-hot CUV market, with bold and modern design, dynamic driving character, innovative features and a wide range of standard convenience and safety features.

The Lincoln MKX is the first Lincoln of significant volume ever built on Canadian soil and it is loaded with comfort and convenience as a modern new choice in the luxury CUV market. Lincoln MKX's elegant design is combined with a sporty stance, powerful engine and quiet interior. It also boasts such technological advances as adaptive headlamps that move with the steering wheel, a panoramic glass roof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, 14-speaker THX II audio system and DVD-based navigation.

In the view of OAC plant manager Frank Gourneau, "We used every tool available to identify customer concerns before they become customer concerns."

Among the tools, a real-world evaluation of a fleet of Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX pre-production units was implemented in three key U.S. markets. The evaluation by customers of competitive crossovers provided key quality feedback.

At OAC, a robust readiness practice was implemented with an eye on building-in assembly quality. The Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX launch teams evaluated and improved thousands of work stations for ergonomics including how parts are presented to the operator, time required for the operator to complete his/her job and overall ease and efficiency for the operator. Industry studies show ergonomics on the job have a direct impact on quality.

Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX go on sale in November and join the Ford Freestar as models currently built in Oakville. The 5.4 million ft2 (486,000 m2) complex has undergone a massive, $1 billion conversion to flexible manufacturing, including a state-of-the-art body assembly facility. As a flexible plant, OAC can build multiple models on unique architectures enabling the plant to change the mix, volume and options of products more quickly in response to consumer demand - representing a new level of market agility.

Ford of Canada's operations include a national headquarters, five regional offices, five vehicle assembly and engine manufacturing plants, two parts distribution centres, and affiliates including Ford Credit, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover. Ford employs nearly 12,000 people in Canada, while an additional 19,000 people are employed in the more than 460 Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealerships across the country. Since 1990, Ford has invested more than $10 billion in its Canadian operations. For more information, please visit www.ford.ca.

Go to http://media.ford.com for photos of Ford Edge, Oakville Assembly Complex and Bill Osborne.

Contact Information

  • Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited
    John Arnone
    (905) 845-2511 x1316
    Cell: (905) 464-2461
    Email: jarnone@ford.com
    or
    Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited
    Lauren More
    (905) 845-2511 x1161
    Cell: (416) 543-3673
    Email: lmore@ford.com
    Website: www.ford.ca