A third shift will be added at Ford Motor Co.’s Windsor Annex Plant to produce the automaker’s new 6.8 litre internal combustion engine for the F-Series Super Duty trucks.
The additional line will create 150 jobs and will launch in January, company spokeswoman Lauren More said Oct. 6.
The factory will supply the automaker’s Kentucky assembly plant, said Tim Little, vice-president of Unifor Local 200, which represents more than 1,600 hourly employees at two engine facilities in the southwestern Ontario city, straddling the Detroit border.
Current production of the 6.2 litre engine will cease in Windsor by the end of the year, with assembly of the 6.8 litre beginning in January, said Little.
The number of jobs has yet to be finalized, he said, adding that, “so much is tied to that truck plant in Kentucky.”
News of the upcoming third shift was first reported by The Windsor Star.
“I think it’s an indication of how popular that product is; how important continental integration of the auto sector is,” said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. “And, it’s a reminder for all observers — casual or otherwise — that internal-combustion-engine goods still drive the bottom lines for all the major automakers.”
The new shift is good news for “suppliers who are enjoying that extra volume,” Volpe said. “A third shift means ‘we’re absolutely confident we can sell every truck we make and we can’t make them fast enough.’ That permanent commitment to extra volume ensures supplier viability.”
ENGINES UPON ENGINES
As well as the Annex plant, Windsor is home to a second plant, which assembles the 5.0 litre Coyote engine for the F-Series pickups and Ford Mustang.
Windsor Annex also builds the 7.3 litre for the F-Series Super Duty trucks.
The awarding of the 6.8 litre engine program stemmed from the last round of Detroit Three bargaining, said Little.
It also comes as Ford boosts investment in its highly profitable F-Series program to meet consumer demand and help fund its electrification strategy. In September, the automaker announced plans to invest US$700 million and add 500 jobs at its Kentucky plant for production of its 2023 model year F-Series Super Duty products.
A standard 6.8-litre V-8 engine replaces the current 6.2-litre V-8, and a new high-output 6.7-litre PowerStroke V-8 diesel will be offered. Those will join the carryover 7.3-litre V-8 and 6.7-litre PowerStroke V-8 diesel to give the trucks what Ford says will be best-in-class towing, payload, torque and horsepower figures.
Heavy-duty pickups are among the few vehicles still seeing big investments toward development of more powerful gasoline and diesel engines. Although the segment isn’t huge, the money at stake is. Ford Motor Co. says it gets more revenue from Super Duty sales alone than Southwest Airlines, Marriott International and many other Fortune 500 companies generate.