Windsor, Ont., – Ford is expanding its Canadian research and development presence with an additional C$500 million investment, extending its connectivity leadership with the addition of more than 400 software and hardware engineers and plans to establish a new Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre.
The additional 400 engineers, approximately 300 of whom will be based in Canada, more than doubles Ford’s mobile connectivity engineering team. By doubling the size of the team, Ford will accelerate its pace of innovation, expand services to leverage the potential of the connected vehicle ecosystem and extend its connected vehicle technology leadership.
“Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer. “Whether it’s providing information to help reduce congestion in cities, allowing vehicles and infrastructure to communicate to keep us safer on the road or simply knowing all your personal settings when you enter a self-driving vehicle, connectivity is the key. By more than doubling our connectivity talent and establishing a research centre, we can innovate faster and deliver more software and services to exceed our customer’s expectations.”
The new Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre in Canada will focus on research and development across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles. Additional facilities will be located in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, as well as Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Florida. This will be Ford’s first centre focused on connectivity research and advanced technology in Canada, and it will serve global connectivity needs for Ford.
The global connected car market will reach $131 billion by 2019, with an annual growth rate of 30 per cent per year, according to a Transparency Market Research study. Ford is on the forefront of this market with built-in modems offered across multiple vehicle lines and plans to equip 20 million cars globally with built-in modems in the next five years.
“Canada has reinforced its position in Ford’s global operations as the company shifts to lead as both an auto and mobility company,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “With this commitment and the support from key strategic partners, we have established a strong future for the highly-skilled and talented employees across Canadian operations.”
Part of the R&D investment relates to research at Ford’s Windsor and Oakville Operations where Ford will be increasing its sustainability and fuel efficiency research capacity. Advancing powertrain technologies, alternative fuels and lightweighting development at Windsor’s Powertrain Engineering Research and Development Centre (PERDC), as well as furthering Ford’s patented research focused on capturing industrial emissions and converting them to useable fuel at the Fumes-to-Fuel Research Development Centre in the Oakville Assembly Complex, will be supported.
In the past six months, Ford has announced C$1.2 billion in Canadian investments, including a C$700 million investment in its manufacturing facilities. The company is transforming its Windsor Operations into a world-class engine facility and adding an all-new global engine program, supporting its future in Ford’s global powertrain operations. Oakville Assembly Complex will continue to upgrade its facilities to support the production of one of Ford’s most popular crossover utilities, the Ford Edge, which is exported from Canada to more than 100 countries.
“Working together with Unifor we were able to create a compelling package that is enabling us to make a significant investment in the Windsor site,” said Bruce Hettle, group vice president, Manufacturing and Labour Affairs, Ford Motor Company. “This project will bring the latest levels of powertrain manufacturing innovation and flexible technology to our Canadian operations.”
Ford’s investments are supported by both the federal and provincial governments, as well as by the successful labour negotiations with Unifor last November. Investment in auto manufacturing directly benefits the Canadian economy - it is estimated every auto job supports up to nine more jobs in the community.