TORONTO -- Ford Motor Co. of Canada is "not far away" from a decision on whether to transform its Oakville, Ontario, facility into a flexible assembly plant, the automaker's chief executive said on Wednesday.
"We are looking at our business plan -- we're not ready to talk about it -- but we might not be that far away," Alain Batty, chief executive of Ford Canada, said in an interview.
The possibility of retooling the Oakville plant later in the decade into a flexible manufacturing site was raised during contract talks in 2002 between the automaker and the Canadian Auto Workers union.
Ford presently has flexible manufacturing facilities in the United States, South America and southeast Asia but none in Canada. The technique, used by Asian automakers for years, lets automakers build several models on the same assembly line, raising efficiency and lowering costs.
Whether the business plan goes ahead depends on getting internal Ford approval and what contribution, if any, the federal and provincial governments are prepared to make.