CANADA – America’s second largest car manufacturer, Ford Motor Co has announced plans to cut about 450 jobs at its Oakville assembly plant in Ontario, as it discontinues production of the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, Reuters has reported.
According to Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker, the layoffs will occur in early-2020 after Ford discontinues production of the Flex in late-November.
The layoffs are in addition to about 200 job cuts at the plant in September to better match vehicle supply with customer demand.
“We will stop building the Ford Flex at the end of November. Lincoln MKT production ended earlier this month,” said Kelli Felker, manufacturing & labor communications manager at Ford.
Both vehicles are being discontinued as part of a previously announced plan for Ford to redesign or replace 75% of its vehicle lineup by the end of 2020.
The plan is specifically focused on expanding Ford’s truck and utility lineup and shedding passenger cars, except for its iconic Mustang sports car.
The company which employs about 4,100 hourly workers at the Oakville plant and is currently engaged in negotiations Unifor, Canada’s Labor Union for the private sector, to chat the way forward for employees at the company.
“There’s nobody surprised about the discontinuation of the Ford Flex,” Jerry Dias, president of Unifor said
“We’re still waiting for Ford to see what their short-term and long-term plans are … We need to see where their head is at,” he added.
During an interview with CNBC, Daves said that they were hoping to get some kind of announcement during their negotioatiosn with Ford that the automaker “is going to invest some new money into Oakville” and at least bring hope at the end of the tunnel.
The Flex, which can seat up to seven people and is known as a “minivan alternative,” built a loyal following for its unique design and functionality, but sales of the vehicle never met expectations.
Ford sold more than 296,000, or roughly 27,000 vehicles a year, since the Flex arrived in dealerships in 2008.