Ford expects combustion truck engines to remain important through 2040

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The Windsor plants produce engines for Ford’s F-Series pickups, Mustangs and commercial vans.

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Despite Ford Motor Company’s aggressive push into the electric vehicle market, the company has reassured Unifor officials that it sees internal combustion engines produced at its Windsor plants as an important product offering through 2040. .

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Unifor Local 200 President John D’Agnolo met with Ford Vice President for Americas Manufacturing John Savona and Vice President of Labor Affairs Kevin Legel last week in Toronto for an update. up-to-date on the company’s plans for its Canadian operations.

“They’re still a long way from coming out on the combustion side as far as trucks go,” D’Agnolo said.

“They don’t see until 2040 before they come out on the burning side.

“Right now I’ve looked at their plans for the next three years and it’s stable across both sites (Essex Engine, Annex Engine). I was quite happy with that.

They recognize the quality and productivity of our workforce

D’Agnolo admitted he was a bit anxious ahead of the game. The company will begin production of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck this month with its annual production quota already exhausted.

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Unifor Local 200 President John D'Agnolo speaks during a news conference Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Windsor.  PHOTO BY DAN JANISSE/Windsor Star
Unifor Local 200 President John D’Agnolo speaks during a news conference Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Windsor. PHOTO BY DAN JANISSE/Windsor Star

However, Ford has made it clear that it will continue to rely on its Windsor-built engines to power its most popular and profitable products, including the F-Series pickups and the Mustang.

“They were pretty positive,” D’Agnolo said. “That’s where they make their profits to invest in the battery electric vehicle side.

“Right now these truck engines are their bread and butter and they won’t make any changes to that.”

D’Agnolo said the company has confirmed demand for the Windsor-built 5.0-litre and 7.3-litre engines and the soon-to-be-launched 6.8-litre engine remains strong.

He added that he expects the transition to EV products will likely happen faster than expected as technology evolves. The federal government has also set a deadline of 2035 for all sales of new cars and light trucks to be electric.

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However, heavy-duty pickup trucks will not be subject to this federal ban.

“I don’t think they’ll be able to get out of this (the heavy trucks) too quickly,” D’Agnolo said.

“Anyone who just drives a truck, like the F-150, maybe we’ll see that differently.”

Ford Crew Chief Rino Fanella works on the new 7.3L V8 engine at Ford's Windsor Engine Plant subsite on February 7, 2019. PHOTO BY NICK BRANCACCIO/Windsor Star
Ford Crew Chief Rino Fanella works on the new 7.3L V8 engine at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant subsite on February 7, 2019. PHOTO BY NICK BRANCACCIO/Windsor Star

D’Agnolo also continued to press the company to prepare to place other products in Windsor when the time for combustion products comes to an end.

“I spoke to them about the importance of this because we’re going to be one of the last to produce on the combustion side,” D’Agnolo said.

“We cannot be forgotten because of this. They recognize the quality and productivity of our workforce.

Of greater concern to the company and Unifor in the near term are the supply chain issues faced by all automakers.

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The addition of the new 6.8-litre engine at the Annex plant in Windsor was supposed to create a third shift this fall, but hiring has been halted and the start of the shift is unknown due to the shortage of microchips.

“The third shift would be on if we had the chips,” said D’Agnolo, who added that the industry is also plagued by logistics cost issues, a lack of truck drivers and other shortages. parts to a degree never before experienced.

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“The problem is that they can’t guarantee the chips will work a third shift. They gave no indication or timeline when they would be ready to go with the third shift.

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D’Agnolo said the 1,700 chips required for an electric F-150 Lightning are eight times greater than the current F-150.

In addition to microchips, Ford will also need more battery factories to supply the five electric vehicles that will be produced at its sprawling Oakville complex.

Ford officials told D’Agnolo that the plant’s transition to an all-electric production facility is scheduled for late 2024 or early 2025.

“Obviously they’re going to need more battery factories,” said D’Agnolo, who added that company officials were tight-lipped on the matter.

“They are well aware that the federal and provincial governments recognize the importance of these programs and they (the government) are now pursuing the business where they expected before.

It has been confirmed by several sources that Ford has been investigating southwestern Ontario as a possible site for a battery plant.

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