MONTREAL/DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to announce production of a new engine in Windsor, Ontario, two sources familiar with the matter said, in an investment that would boost Canada's auto industry after years of job losses to Mexico and the U.S.
The sources told Reuters the 7X engine, for large pickup trucks, is to be announced with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Ford Essex Engine Plant in Windsor on Thursday morning.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, and Mark Buzzell, CEO of Ford of Canada, also will be on hand, the automaker said in a notice. No details were provided.
During 2016 contract negotiations with Canadian union Unifor, Ford pledged to spend $700 million on its Ontario manufacturing operations. The lion’s share of the money was earmarked for a “major engine program” at the Essex Engine Plant. The promised new engine program fulfilled a key goal for the union, which had sought investments from each of the Detroit 3 automakers last fall.
Spokesmen for Ford and Trudeau declined to comment.
In addition to Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will be on site, according to a spokeswoman from Edelman, a public relations firm working for the province of Ontario.
They will also be part of an announcement “related to autonomous vehicles,” an advisory from Edelman said, without providing details.
Brian Maxim, a vice president at AutoForecast Solutions, said in a telephone interview that the 7.0-liter, V8 engine would have more torque and be more fuel efficient than the 6.8-liter V10 engine now built in Windsor and used in Ford's super-duty trucks, such as its F-250s.
Maxim said he expected Ford to produce about 125,000 units of the new engine per year, starting in 2019.
New investment in engine production in Canada was seen as vital because the large V8 and V10 motors now built by Ford in Windsor were expected to end production in four years.
Between 2001 and 2013, some 14,300 jobs were lost in vehicle manufacturing in Canada, according to Hamilton's Automotive Policy Research Center.
Unifor Local 200 President Chris Taylor, who spent much of Wednesday in meetings with Ford management, would only tell Automotive News Canada that the Ford announcement “is good news for our site.”
About 800 employees at the Essex factory currently build 5.0-liter V-8 engines. Next door, at the Windsor Engine Plant, about 600 workers build the 6.8-liter V-10 engines.
Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.