Ford to invest $1.46 billion in Canada plants as part of Unifor union deal

FILE PHOTO: A Ford logo is seen on a wall of the Oakville Assembly Plant as workers with UNIFOR attended a ratification vote nearby, in Oakville, Ontario, Canada November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co will invest C$1.95 billion ($1.46 billion) in its Oakville and Windsor plants in Canada as part of a tentative deal with Canadian autoworkers, Unifor union National President Jerry Dias said on Tuesday.

The deal includes retooling the Oakville plant to build five electric vehicle (EV) models between 2025 and 2028, with the first EV rolling off the assembly line in 2025, Dias said.

The federal government, along with the Ontario government, is willing to invest in turning the Oakville plant over to the production of EVs, an investment that could keep the facility open for years, a government source confirmed on Tuesday.

“We’re in the midst of negotiation” of how much money the Ontario government would contribute to the Ford plant’s electric car production line, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Tuesday.

He did not say how much the province was considering to contribute.

The Toronto Star and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp have reported that the two governments could pitch in up to C$500 million.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy said the deal is beneficial for Ford as it averts a strike at the U.S. automaker’s Canada plants and addresses spare capacity.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sriraj Kalluvila