Initial production of 2009 Ford Flex, Oakville, Ontario (top two photos) and The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, with the Ford Flex. Click image to enlarge
Article and photos by Paul Williams
2009 Ford Flex
Oakville, Ontario – Opened in 1953, Ford’s assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario has built products wearing the Blue Oval for over half-a-century. The Torino, Falcon, Maverick, Econoline, Crown Victoria, Tempo, Topaz, Windstar, Meteor, Monarch, Monterey and Mercury Lynx have all rolled down the line.
But they did so one-model-at-a-time. Now, Ford’s big Canadian plant is called the Oakville Assembly Complex, recently re-engineered to produce vehicles based on different platforms at the same time.
So it is that the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, based on one platform, and now the 2009 Ford Flex, based on a stretched Taurus platform, can be built simultaneously.
This is “flexible” manufacturing, enabling manufacturers to more rapidly respond to market needs, and better utilize their plant resources. In fact, Oakville’s work force is expected to rise from 3,500 to 4,000 as product demand increases.
The June 2, 2008, the Oakville Assembly Complex was the site Flex launch, with invited guests from government, labour, the media and Ford’s Dearborn administrative centre including Ford of Canada President, Barry Engle. Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One,” also stopped in to take a look.