Ford has announced that it will not manufacture a next-generation Edge SUV as previously planned. Additionally, the company is considering shutting down the Canadian assembly plant that produces the vehicle.
The Ford assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario used to make the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. It currently makes only two vehicles: the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Edge. The Flex and MKT were canceled last year. The production of the Nautilus is scheduled to move to China in 2023.
The end of the mid-sized Edge SUV, which debuted in 2006 and received a facelift in 2019, would leave the Canadian assembly plant with no product to build. Ford has said they are considering all options for the Ontario plant. It could potentially restructure its operations and adjust the types of vehicles it makes.
The next-generation Ford Edge was scheduled to launch on an all-new platform in 2023. Ford sold a total of 138,515 Edge models last year. They are in the process of expanding their SUV and crossover offerings. Upcoming Ford SUVs include the Bronco, Bronco Sport, a newly updated Escape, and a Ford Fusion. They are all a similar type of vehicle as the Edge – a tall crossover SUV with car-like driving characteristics. It’s no wonder that the Edge ended up on the chopping block.
Ford said that the mid-sized SUV market remains an important segment for the company. In recent years, the Detroit-based automaker has stopped manufacturing sedans entirely (except the fabled Mustang). Instead, the focus is almost exclusively on making SUVs and pick-up trucks. They are simply more popular with consumers.
Ford reached a four-year labor deal with unionized workers at its Canadian assembly plant back in 2016. That deal is set to expire later this year. Unfortunately, it presents an opportunity for the company to shift away from the Oakville facility. Ford announced 450 job cuts at the Canadian plant last year when it stopped manufacturing the Flex and Lincoln MKT. The Oakville assembly plant currently employs nearly 4,000 people.