Ford Scraps Planned Mexican Plant as CEO Promises U.S. Investment, Jobs
Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields didn’t completely walk back the company’s long-range production plans today, but the automaker pull a hard U-turn on one goal.
In a speech at the automaker’s Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant this morning, Fields said he was “encouraged” by President-elect Donald Trump’s “pro-growth policies.” Because of this, the Blue Oval’s planned $1.6 billion small car plant in Mexico is now off the table. Instead, the automaker will expand and modernize Flat Rock as it brings a slew of promised hybrid and electric vehicles to production.
In total, Ford promises seven electrified models, including two — a long-range fully electric vehicle and a fully autonomous hybrid vehicle — that will roll out of Flat Rock. To accommodate the plans, Ford will invest $700 million to build a new manufacturing and innovation center at the plant, creating 700 new jobs in the process.
Flat Rock already produces the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental.
Crediting the UAW and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for their continued support, Fields lauded the policies signaled by the incoming Trump administration.
“We believe that these tax and regulatory reforms are critically important to boost U.S. competitiveness, and of course drive a resurgence in American manufacturing and high-tech innovation,” said Fields. “All of these factors — coupled with segmentation shifts that we’re seeing in the marketplace and our effort to fully utilize the capacity at existing facilities — have prompted us, obviously, to invest in Flat Rock’s expansion and cancel building a new plant in Mexico.”
The CEO claimed Flat Rock will become “one of the world’s most flexible and high-tech manufacturing centers.”
Trump made an example out of Ford during the election, singling the automaker out for moving its small car production to Mexico — a common practice in the industry — and threatening a 35-percent import tariff. Ford rebuffed the threats, claiming in November that the low-profit Ford Focus was still leaving Michigan for Mexico. That plan hasn’t changed, but the compact won’t find a home in a pricey new plant. Instead, the model will be built at Ford’s existing Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant.
In an interview with CNN, Fields claims he spoke with Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence this morning. “We didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” said Fields of the plant announcements. “We did it for our business.”
The CEO promised to build the infrastructure behind the upcoming electric vehicles, including a potential wireless-charging system. That method of recharging will soon be the focus of a Ford pilot project.
UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles was clearly pleased with Ford’s announcement, declaring the Flat Rock investment to be the “equivalent of a new assembly plant.”
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
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I really think Ford's (Field's) "official reported position or explanation is nonsense. 1. Ford's profits have dropped. 2. Ford would of already had planned for the $700 million expansion in the US. Thump had nothing to do with it, or it could be deemed collusion. 3. Vehicle sales are dropping, furthering pressure on Ford profits. 4. It is wise for Ford to not spend ..... anywhere, even Mexico. Why invest in Mexico and run at a loss. Ford (Field) is giving Thump a cranium job and blowing him. Thump thrives on this, narcissists are great, just ask Thump how good he is and whether the truth matters. This is just a bullsh!t news item infating Thump and pissibly scaring potential Ford customers to other brands. FORD THUMPS BRAND OF CHOICE. Not a good look for Ford marketing.
There's a lot of political, and other, grandstanding going on, but according to what they said on WWJ here in Detroit this decision apparently has less to do with Ford trying to make nice to Mr. Trump than the fact that the cost of doing business in Mexico has gone up due to local inflation as the peso has fallen. The peso has fallen about 13% recently, the most since Mexico's peso crisis of the mid 1990s, and the Ford announcement has further weakened the Mexican currency. Ford may be getting more pesos to their dollar but they have to pay more pesos for everything they buy in Mexico.