Ford of Canada ceases production at its Windsor, ON, Canada, casting plant as the auto maker moves away from in-house casting operations to focus on its core automotive business.

In operation since 1934, the plant most recently produced cylinder block castings for 4.2L V-6 engines and crankshafts for 4.2L V-6, 5.4L V-8, 3.0L V-6, 4.6L V-8 and 2.3L mills.

The plant employed some 450 workers, who have been offered financial assistance packages worth up to C$100,000 ($93,184) to be used for retirement or to “move their careers in new directions,” Ford says, adding it has also partnered with the Ontario government to open an employment counseling and training center for employees impacted by the auto maker’s restructuring.

While difficult, the decision to shutter the facility was necessary, says Adrian Vido, Windsor site manager.

“The company’s decision to move away from in-house casting operations is based on a thorough analysis of our business and a need to focus on our core operations,” Vido says in a statement.

The decision to mothball Windsor Casting follows an announcement earlier this month that Ford will close its Cleveland (OH) Casting facility by 2009.

Following the Cleveland announcement, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s vice president-North American manufacturing, told Ward’s the auto maker will be outsourcing all its casting operations in the future.

“It’s more economical to outsource casting,” Hinrichs says. “We want to prioritize how we use capital in the future and where our key customer interfaces are. Engines and transmissions are important, but castings are not as core.”

Hinrichs did not disclose who would supply castings in the future, revealing only that the auto maker is “going through the sourcing process.”