The Oakville Assembly plant in Canada is currently producing the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus for North America but will stop building both models after 2023. According to Ford Authority’s 2020 report, the Oakville Plant was supposed to replace those models with five new EVs by 2025 following a complete retooling in 2024, which would include all-electric versions of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossovers.
Ford’s next all-electric model will be explorer-like, while Lincoln plans to release four new EVs by 2026. However, it seems as if The Blue Ovals’ original plan has changed in the past two years; now only the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator EVs will be built at Oakville– this is according to Automotive News Canada.
“They’re constantly moving products around and they came to the conclusion that the EV versions of the Explorer and Aviator will be high enough volume to keep production going at the plant,” explained Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions (AFS), to Automotive News Canada. “In past years, this plant has built as many as 300,000 vehicles per year,” he continued, adding that with these two new EVs likely being produced at a rate of 230,000 annually.
Under the new collective agreement between Unifor and Ford reached in 2020, Oakville will be converted for EV production. However, the contract does not say how many models will be built there. Fiorani expects that Ford will have approximately one year to retool the plant after production of the Edge and Nautilus end. It is also possible that Ford will build battery packs in Oakville, although this has not been confirmed by the automaker yet.
Ford is not commenting on this report as of now. Dino Chiodo, director of auto at Unifor, did confirm that the Oakville plant retooling remains on schedule for 2024 completion, even though very little progress has been made at this time. “They haven’t said which month we’re doing this task or that one– they really haven’t done anything noticeable in the plant yet,” claims Chiodo. “What they are doing is some superficial stuff – just preparing behind-the-scenes work – but that’s all.”