Ford has struck a deal with a Markham, Ont., company that specializes in carbon fibre to build its next-generation GT "supercar."
Multimatic Inc., a company that has worked with Ford since 1984, was chosen to assemble the limited edition sports car.
"We chose to partner with them because they have specialized equipment for carbon fibre production and expertise in carbon fibre assembly," said Marc Vejgman, marketing manager for Ford of Canada.
The first models will roll off the line at the end of next year. Ford says the release is timed for 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ford’s president of the Americas Joe Hinrichs announced the deal with Multimatic at the Canadian International Auto Show, without putting a dollar figure on it.
Ford built a GT with aluminum body panels from 2005 to 2006, but one of the next-generation car’s big innovations is aluminum combined with lightweight carbon fibre construction.
The automaker is investing heavily in lighter alternatives to steel. The new GT has aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fibre body panels as well as a carbon fibre passenger compartment. Carbon fibre is one of the world’s strongest materials for its mass, but is more expensive to produce.
"We are doing research on carbon fibre as we plan for future innovations in auto technology," Vejgman told CBC.
Ford is developing 12 new performance cars to test new technologies between now an 2020, he said.
A 3.5-litre, 600 horsepower engine, which Ford has redesigned with its EcoBoost technology, will power the GT. The engine has been designed to give more power for its size.
The GT is a two-seater with upward swinging doors. Ford has not announced the price or the number of cars that are likely to be sold, but it is likely to be a low number.
Multimatic previously produced Ford’s FR500C and Boss 302R race cars. The company, headquartered just north of Toronto, is a privately-held global enterprise that makes both mass-produced auto parts and low-volume specialty cars.
Ford’s deal to make a concept car follow on GM’s announcement of an $860-million investment to expand production of the Equinox in Ingersoll, Ont.
Auto analysts are regarding the new developments as a sign of confidence by automakers in Ontario’s manufacturing sector. Over the past six months, there has been increasing concern over the lack of investment in Ontario, which fell behind Mexico in 2014 in number of vehicles made.