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Last Updated: Aug 23, 2021 Views: 2

Gordon McGregor (1873-1922)

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1904-1922
Major roles: Head of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd.
(image: P.O.281 Acc.1660 box 140)

Gordon McGregor’s association with Ford Motor Company began in 1904 when he entered into an agreement with Henry Ford to assemble Ford vehicles in Canada and established Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. McGregor realized the popularity of Ford cars in Canada and also saw the chance to avoid high tariff fees by assembling vehicles in Canada instead of importing them. McGregor oversaw the building and operation of the Walkerville, Ontario plant where vehicles were assembled on chassis sent from Detroit with Canadian-made bodies. By 1906, Ford of Canada was producing for the domestic market as well as exporting vehicles to India, Malaya, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Over 1910-1913 McGregor expanded plant facilities, installed a power conveyer, and upped production, eventually manufacturing more and more components at the Walkerville factory. During WWI, McGregor followed Henry Ford’s refusal to produce for the war effort due to his pacifist views, though these were quite unpopular in Canada. The Walkerville plant did continue to produce standard cars, trucks, and ambulances, and contributed to the war effort by exporting these to countries overseas. Eventually when Ford began to manufacture for the war effort after the US entered the war, the Walkerville plant manufactured some parts for the Detroit factory’s war work. After the war, McGregor worked to get the plant back up to full capacity, increased wages, and set up an employee welfare and housing fund. After a short illness, McGregor passed away in 1922 and was succeeded by Wallace Campbell.

Key resources:
Ford Times (articles on McGregor and Ford of Canada) 
In the Shadow of Detroit: Gordon M. McGregor, Ford of Canada, and Motoropolis. by David Roberts 

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