Why Is Trump Bashing Ford, Praising Caterpillar as Both Send Jobs to Mexico?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
why is trump bashing ford praising caterpillar as both send jobs to mexico

So, there’s an election on, and a certain candidate has made some high-profile, sometimes inflammatory comments about American manufacturing and jobs being sent south of the Rio Grande. That person’s name is Donald T. No, perhaps that’s too obvious. D. Trump.

The Republican nominee recently found himself in a cage match with Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields after accusing the automaker of sending its jobs to Mexico. But one manufacturer that Trump does favor, one that he invests heavily in and whose products he plans to use to build a certain wall, also has a “Mexican problem.”

Back in September, Trump put Ford on the defensive. The automaker had announced that it was sending its remaining small car production — the Focus and C-Max — to a Mexican assembly plant.

Moving low-profit car volume to lower cost jurisdictions to free up U.S. plant space for high-profit trucks and SUVs has become a norm in the industry. Want to cut costs and boost profits? Send the little ones down to Mexico. Or, if you’re Sergio Marchionne, plead for other manufacturers to send you some little ones made in Mexico.

That angered Trump, who accused Ford of sending its workforce to Mexico, despite the fact that the departed Focus plant will see new product and the same number of workers, if not more. A UAW representative later blabbed that the Ranger and Bronco are headed to the Michigan Assembly Plant.

“Ford has been in the United States for more than 100 years. Our home is here. We will be here forever,” spokeswoman Christine Baker told CNN Money. As of last year’s annual report, Ford employed 96,000 people in North America, 53,000 of them American UAW members. Those union workers represent 99 percent of Ford’s U.S. workforce. In 2014, Ford workers numbered 90,000 in North America. The Blue Oval bolstered its U.S. ranks with another 3,000 hires in 2013.

Still, Ford remains a target. Trump claims he’d tariff the hell out of Ford’s Mexican products, despite North American Free Trade Agreement rules. Trump is, however, very keen on Caterpillar, that global, Illinois-based manufacturer of heavy equipment.

According to the Peoria Journal Star, Trump told coal miners in West Virginia, “I’ve always been fascinated by the mines. I don’t know why. I love construction. I love the whole thing. I can tell you more about Caterpillar tractors than the people that work there.”

Mines are indeed interesting, though the Caterpillar claim is open for debate. When describing the proposed border wall, he mentioned his favorite company again, saying the construction should involve Caterpillar. “I only want to use Caterpillar, if you wanna know the truth,” he told the audience during a Super Tuesday victory speech.

The man likes Caterpillar, and he puts his money where his mouth is. The company ranks 13th in a list of Trump’s top 14 stock holdings, Fortune claims. While Trump saw fit to invest somewhere between $100,000 and $250,000 in Caterpillar, the company itself saw no problem with sending Illinois manufacturing to Mexico.

230 jobs will be lost at Caterpillar’s Joliet, Illinois facility as the company sends production of gear and engine oil pumps and valves to its Monterrey, Mexico plant. That plant makes parts for bulldozers and earth moving equipment, some of which would no doubt be used in the construction of that wall. The transition is taking place right about now, which is awkward timing.

This past summer, Caterpillar announced further cost-cutting, which could lead to more jobs leaving the U.S. for Mexico. Last month, 300 employees lost their jobs in Mossville, Illinois. Yet in the past, Trump has either praised Caterpillar or used it as an example of the struggles faced by the domestic manufacturing industry.

Caterpillar’s Illinois jobs aren’t coming back, so why single out Ford?

Sure, the Tempo was no great shakes, but unless Trump got a raw deal on a used sedan once, or has a personal beef with Mark Fields, the only thing that separates the two issues is money. Money invested in one company, and not the other.

[Image: Caterpillar]

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14 of 108 comments
  • Carguy Carguy on Oct 18, 2016

    I can't wait for this damn election to be over. The nastiness and negativity is just corrosive.

    • See 8 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Oct 19, 2016

      28-Cars-Later - you ain't too bad yourself.

  • Daniel J Daniel J on Oct 19, 2016

    Wow, this site is getting way to political for my tastes.

  • Grein002 I hope you meant "take the Ranger out behind the *barn*" rather than "bar". I think something completely different happens "behind the bar".
  • Cprescott Suddenly there is no reason to buy ugly anymore. The Silverdodo is dead. Long live the less hideous Colorado.
  • Cprescott Portable BBQ's for everyone!
  • Lou_BC The 2023 ZR2 is burdened with GM's 8 speed. It's been allegedly "fixed" so it doesn't gear hunt and shudder. I still won't trust it. The turbo 4 cylinder should address the lack of torque found in the V6. I test drove a full-sized Trail Boss. I could make it gear hunt. The turbo 4 didn't seem to be lacking in power, at least for an empty crewcab with a 6.5 box. It lacked anything resembling character. It had next to zero compression braking even with tow/haul engaged. Chevy should have continued offering the VM Motori based inline 4 diesel that's in the older Colorado trucks. I do like the fact that the 2023 comes with 33's standard and IIRC the wheel hubs/axles etc. have been beefed up to handle the larger rubber. The bolt pattern (IIRC) is shared with fullsized 1/2 tons opening up one's choice for aftermarket wheels.
  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 That's a >$50K truck right there. I don't need to have the build sheet, it's just way over the top. I'd keep it simpler in LT or Z71 trim. If I wanted to spend $50K I'd have gone full size already