As many as 300 new jobs and $100 million in investment will be coming to the Ford Stamping Plant in Hamburg to support expanded production across the border in Ontario, The Buffalo News has learned.
Sources with intimate knowledge of the Ford expansion confirmed the move, although Kristina Adamski, a Ford spokeswoman, would not.
While final details are yet to be worked out, sources familiar with the situation said the new investment would be in the range of $100 million and that Ford would begin adding jobs at the Hamburg facility as soon as this winter.
The stamping plant currently employs 492 hourly and 73 salaried workers, the company recently said.
The expansion will follow speculation that the Hamburg plant – a key piece of the region’s automotive industry – would benefit by the recent decision from Ford Motor Co. to expand its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont.
The plant on Route 5 long has had close ties with the Oakville site, stamping metal body parts for the Ford Edge and Flex and the Lincoln MKX and MKT assembled at the plant outside of Toronto.
Ford officials in September announced a $682 million expansion at its assembly plant outside Toronto, securing more than 2,800 jobs and positioning Oakville “as one of the most competitive and important facilities in the Ford system,” the company said at the time.
The automaker will bring several new global models of vehicles to the Oakville plant to meet demand from throughout North America and elsewhere.
Work at the factory there is already under way and expected to be completed by fall 2014, allowing the Oakville site to adapt quickly to changes in consumer demand.
Speculation has been that the new vehicles assembled at Oakville could generate more demand for parts from Hamburg, which is the closest stamping plant to Oakville, located about 80 miles apart.
Meanwhile, the Hamburg plant is capitalizing on the $136 million investment that Ford pledged as part of the labor contract ratified in October 2011 with the United Auto Workers.
The plant is upgrading three press lines, with three additional lines to be upgraded in the next six months, officials with UAW Local 897 told The News in September.
A new door line has been installed, and eight more subassembly lines are due to be installed by the first quarter of 2014, the union said.
At the time those new investments were disclosed in the fall of 2011, elected officials said they expected the labor agreement to lead to 120 laid-off workers being rehired and 400 new jobs being created.
In light of the Oakville investment, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke with Ford CEO Alan Mulally last month and urged him to strongly consider choosing Hamburg for new work associated with the Oakville expansion.
Schumer emphasized to Mulally his efforts to improve cross-border transportation through a prescreening pilot program at the Peace Bridge.
“Once again, CEO Mulally has shown that Ford Motor Company believes in Western New York as much as I do,” Schumer said in response to the Ford expansion.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, agreed. “Because of the Western New York work ethic and solid UAW-management relationship, our region’s auto industry is well positioned for new investment and growth,” Higgins said.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, also praised he development.
“We are so proud that the quality of our work force has been recognized for a significant investment from Ford to help create more jobs for the people of Western New York.”