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Ford Territory replacement a Canadian?

Growing pains: The current Ford Edge is going gangbusters in the US, and its likely Canadian-made successor is a potential next Territory.

Next Ford Territory could come from Canada following cash splash

Ford logo23 Sep 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

FORD Australia’s global replacement for the current homegrown Territory SUV due in 2016 looks set to come from Canada.

The Blue Oval brand announced last week it would pump $A720 million into the Oakville assembly plant in Ontario, shoring up 2800 jobs and expanding its manufacturing capability to meet growing global demand.

The investment will also ensure Oakville remains the sole supplier of the North American Edge and Flex SUVs, plus the Lincoln MKX and MKT.

The next-generation successor to the Edge – whatever badge it wears – is expected to be based off a global ‘One Ford’ platform rather than the current model’s shared Mazda CX-9 architecture, and is a hot tip to become Australia’s next Territory.

As previously reported, the closure of Ford’s manufacturing operations in Australia by 2016 will see the demise of not just the Falcon, but also the Territory rear-drive and all-wheel-drive wagon spun off it.

Ford is expected to offer the newly international, Canadian-made SUV here alongside the rugged, ute-based Everest designed in Australia but made in Thailand.

But, as GoAuto has reported, Ford Australia has not ruled out ditching the Territory nameplate, meaning it could adorn its international successor. It is understood the Blue Oval views the model as possessing strong currency with buyers, and the recent commencement of a widespread, mainstream Territory advertising blitz suggests the brand sees plenty of life left in the badge.

Following the Canadian factory’s upgrade – to be finished by September 2014 – Ford says it will add several new global models to the plant, meeting both North American and global demand. It is unclear if Ford will continue with the current four models made in Oakville as well as the additions, of whether one will eclipse the other.

The cash splash will see spending on Canadian-made auto parts increase by approximately $A206 million to a total of nearly $A4.1 billion annually.

With last week’s announcement, Ford has now invested more than $A2 billion in Canada in less than a decade. In 2004, Ford announced a $A1 billion investment in Oakville to introduce flexible manufacturing to the facility, and in 2010 the company announced a $A600 million investment for the Essex engine plant in Windsor.

The Canadian investment reflects the growing demand in a resurgent, post-recession United States for, most notably, the Edge, which is on track to eclipse 2007’s sales record of 130,000 units.

The announcement also comes just weeks after Ford North America president Joe Hinrichs outlined the importance of Canadian manufacturing, and why it would – unlike Australia – remain intact despite being one of the company’s highest-cost markets worldwide.

“The combination of the high Australian dollar and isolated location doesn’t make it a good export base and not a big enough total (sales) volume industry to support manufacturing,” Mr Hinrichs told Canada’s The Globe and Mail.

“The Canadian situation is a little different than Australia because there is enough volume in the total North American industry to support high-volume plants, which makes up for some of those other issues.”

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