Union Boss Worried the Grim Reaper is Coming for Ford's V10

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
union boss worried the grim reaper is coming for fords v10

It was heady days at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The facility cranked out Triton V8 engines and the mighty 6.8-liter V10 for an insatiable truck and SUV market (remember the Excursion?), but its future is now in jeopardy.

Aggressive fuel economy targets and the move towards EcoBoost power and fewer cylinders in Ford engine bays have workers and their labor leaders wondering how long they can continue building the factory’s chief powerplant — the Triton V10.

Unifor, which represents 6,400 Ford Motor Company of Canada workers, wants the automaker to invest in Windsor, but Ford doesn’t have an engine to offer, the Globe and Mail reports.

Contract negotiations between the union and Ford begin next month, and the onus is on Unifor to make further investment in the plant seem like a reasonable option for the automaker. Right now, the Triton V10 finds a home in the aging E-350 and E-450 cutaway cab and stripped chassis van variants, as well as the F-450, F-550, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty chassis cab trucks.

The 5.4-liter Triton V8, also built at the facility (but scheduled to die soon), was used solely in the E-Series, but isn’t listed in the 2017 engine lineup.

Unifor represents workers at all Detroit Three facilities north of the border, but finding new product for Ford’s Windsor engine plant — as well as GM’s endangered Oshawa assembly plant — will be a big challenge.

“Do I believe it’s going to be easy? The answer is no, but ultimately you’re dealing with a global corporation that thinks a long way ahead,” Unifor president Jerry Dias told the Globe and Mail. “So I would expect they’ve got a solution. If they don’t have one today, they’re certainly going to have one by the middle of September.”

As the Windsor engine plant languishes, Ford’s Oakville, Ontario assembly plant is thriving, thanks to a $700 million investment. The Essex Engine Plant, also in Windsor, closed in 2007, only to be reopened two years later with financial help from the federal government. That plant also produces a single engine — the 5.0-liter V8 found in the Ford Mustang and F-150.

The V10’s fate became more hazy after Ford announced it would offer the 6.2-liter V8 as an option in its E-Series starting in 2017. The 10-cylinder was dropped from lesser Super Duty trucks after 2010.

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  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Jul 06, 2016

    As long as the demand is there, they'll keep building them. It's the go-to motorhome and box truck engine. The body builders and operators of those vehicles don't have much interestin switching to something new, and fuel economy standards don't matter to those vehicles. Ford's other gas engine options won't net much better economy in those applications anyway, and would do it less reliably...which does matter to operators. Ford may be interested in in reducing their powertrain variety to save cost, but the V10 tooling is long paid for and it's low cost to produce.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 07, 2016

    I remember similar wailing and gnashing of teeth when Ford pulled the plug on the 460.

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