Ford plant goes to Mexico, not Ontario

Ford’s new type of engine will be manufactured in Mexico instead of Winsdsor, Ontario. According to auto workers’ union Unifor, talks with Canada’s federal and provincial governments broke down, meaning the 900 to 1,000 new jobs will be going to NAFTA’s southern member.

Jerry Dias, President of Unifor, expressed disappointment that the four-week-long negotiations failed. He said Ford had requested a cash grant plus a federal government loan. While not specifying how much money was discussed, he said “It was a very aggressive proposal by Ford.”

Mr. Dias said that the Mexican government simply outbid Canada. Like every other nation that is serious about having a strong automotive industry, Mexico was willing to subsidize heavily, he added.

Brad Duguid, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure, said the government was unwilling to invest taxpayers’ money in any partnership that failed to provide a strong return for Ontario citizens.

Mr. Dias said, regarding a possible deal:

“We almost captured this project. It was an uphill battle all the way. Am I disappointed? Absolutely I’m disappointed. I’m furious actually.”

Jerry Dias, Unifor

Jerry Dias said he was bitterly disappointed that Ontario could not clinch the deal.

Mr. Dias then added optimistically:

“While we are disappointed that this work will be lost to Mexico, we remain optimistic that the tide is changing. Government, industry and labor are increasingly committed to finding ways of securing the strategic investments we need to rebuild our manufacturing base.”

Opposition lawmakers criticized the Liberal government for giving jobs away again. They urge authorities to have an effective strategy and proper policies in place to make sure Ontario is not caught flat-footed again.

This is not the first time Windsor has been at the center of partisan squabbling regarding funding for the automotive industry. Chrysler Canada announced in March that it would no longer be seeking a $700 million deal with provincial and federal authorities because the minivan assembly line plan for Windsor had become a “political football”.

On a positive note, Ford said two weeks ago that it would hire an additional 1,000 employees at its Oakville plant by the end of 2014 to build next year’s Ford Edge crossover SUV.

Ford of Canada had near-record September

Ford of Canada announced earlier this month that September sales were the second-best since 1978. Strong car sales, including Focus, Fiesta, MKS and MKZ helped keep the brand in the top spot for the month and year.

David Mondragon, CEO of Ford of Canada, said:

“We were up against an unusually strong September last year. The fact that our car sales continue to improve shows that our investment in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles is paying off.”