Will Ford axe the Edge and its Canadian factory? | Automotive Industry News

Ford’s Oakville plant built RHD Edge variants, primarily diesel, for UK, Ireland and, later, Australia

Ford reportedly is ending Edge SUV production, a move seen as leading to closure of the Oakville, Ontario plant in Canada.

US media reports, citing a report by AutoForecast Solutions of the axing of the Edge model line, noted the Ontario plant currently makes only the Lincoln Nautilus and Edge with Nautilus production scheduled to move to China after 2023. AutoForecast Solutions previously correctly forecast GM would end production at its Oshawa plant, also in Ontario.

The current Edge is also built in China, according to GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Centre (subscription required).

CD539, the second generation Edge, is a five-door SUV similar in size to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It entered production in Ontario during the second quarter of 2015 for North America’s 2015 model year, built on the same CD4 platform as the Fusion. Other rivals in North America and other markets are the Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander/Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe, VW Tiguan Allspace and Renault Koleos.

In November 2014, it was announced that a seven-seat variants would be manufactured in China by CFA and sold through Changan Ford dealerships

US investor website seekingalpha.com noted the next generation Edge was due out in June 2023 on a new platform but “tepid” sales of the current model, and new entries from Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota and Ford’s own new SUVs, including the Bronco, Bronco Sport and updated Escape [Kuga] apparently had put the redesign project in doubt.

Ford, however, said the Edge remains a critical part of its lineup.

“We have no plans to exit the segment,” spokesman Mike Levine told seekingalpha.com by email. But he did not comment on where the vehicle would be made.

Edge US sales last year rose 3% to 138,515 units, that report added.

“Unless Ford decides on a different programme to replace the Edge, there’s no future for Oakville,” which employs 4,200 hourly workers, Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told Automotive News. Ford declined to comment.

Fiorani noted Edge was Ford’s final Canadian-built vehicle and its cancellation puts Oakville at risk of closing. The Canadian auto workers’ union Unifor’s labour contract covering the Oakville plant, as well as two engine plants in Windsor, Ontario, expires in September.

After negotiating the closure of a Romeo, Michigan, engine plant, the two Canadian engine plants were to be the only sources of Ford’s five-litre and PV-8 family of V8 engines, Fiorani reportedly said.

“The Edge is more of a fleet vehicle, you don’t see many of them in people’s driveways, but they still sell 150,000 a year in North America,” he told Automotive News.

European sales [mostly diesel -ed] had not met Ford expectations, he added. There was no indication Ford would cancel the Edge redesign for China, Fiorani added.

The current Edge is made at the Hangzhou plant which Changan Ford opened in March 2015. Sales commenced in August 2015.

The Edge first went on sale first in North America, followed by Europe, South America and Asia Pacific. Initial right-hand production was for the UK and Ireland but imports ceased during 2019 due to low demand.

Ford of Europe originally sold the Edge with two versions of the two-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel: 180PS and 400Nm or 210PS and 450Nm. With the arrival of a facelifted model in 2018, outputs changed to 150PS and 190PS and there was a new 238PS EcoBlue engine.

Unlike some rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, VW Tiguan Allspace and the 5+2-seater Land Rover Discovery Sport, and despite its size, the Ford Europe Edge had just five seats.

It was discontinued in some EU markets during 2019 but it remains available in a handful.

The diesels are not available in North America.

Ford Australia began importing the Edge from Canada in late 2018 to replace the locally built and similar size Territory, production of which ended when Ford exited local manufacture to become a full importer. Toyota Australia owned rights to the Edge name so it was badged Endura.

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