Michigan to Mexico: Ford's Upcoming Electric Crossover Moves House

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
michigan to mexico fords upcoming electric crossover moves house

In public, automakers talk a great game about the industry’s electric future. The money poured into the development of electric vehicles is necessary, they say, in order to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. It wasn’t long ago that Ford claimed 100 miles of range was just fine for an EV model; not long after, following the introduction of the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt, it announced the development of an EV crossover with far greater (300-mile) range.

Whether or not electric power becomes the dominant propulsion source in the United States remains to be seen, but no automaker can be seen resting on its laurels, shunning the most hyped technology. That doesn’t mean a company can’t be realistic about it, though.

Ford’s electric crossover, expected to roll out of Michigan’s Flat Rock assembly plant in 2020, will instead roll out out of a factory in a much warmer (and cheaper) locale.

News of the production change comes by way of a company memo obtained by Automotive News. Ford’s EV crossover — the byproduct of a $700 million investment into the Flack Rock plant — will be built in Cuautitlan, Mexico. Ford Motor Company has confirmed this report.

“This allows us to bring this exciting new vehicle to global customers in a more effective way to support our overreaching business goals,” the memo stated.

There’s no one alive today who believes a Mexican production line is more expensive to operate than an American one. Ford’s beancounters clearly felt the model’s production costs, coupled with uncertainty over its popularity with EV-hesitant U.S. consumers (and the need for an affordable sticker price), necessitated a trip south of the border. It’s a trip recently made by another Flat Rock alumnus, the Ford Fusion.

Calling the model “affordable” and “mainstream” earlier this year, Ford chief technology officer Raj Nair said, “We think we have a technology path that will get us a 300 plus miles range and an affordable crossover utility that will be fully competitive.”

The biggest concern surrounding EVs these days, besides the potential for battery-based mineral shortages, is how automakers can make a profit from vehicles that are much more expensive to produce than regular cars. General Motors claims it has a plan. Now, Ford seems to have one of its own.

The Blue Oval is downplaying the crossover’s move, preferring to highlight changes to the plant itself. Ford has announced another $150 million for Flat Rock — and another 150 jobs — in the interest of bulking up its development of autonomous vehicles and freeing up production space. The company now plans production of a commercial-grade self-driving vehicle powered by a hybrid drivetrain. The model will carry a new nameplate, the company says.

“We see a bigger opportunity now than we originally saw,” Ford spokesman Allan Hall told Automotive News.

The as-of-yet-unnamed autonomous model is expected to appear in 2021.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • PandaBear PandaBear on Dec 07, 2017

    This is what happen if you screw with trading partners that can bypass you. Mexico and China can trade EV with each other so US don't have to do anything with it. I'd not be surprised Mexico and China do this even if it is not cheaper than trading with the US, just as a big FU to DTJR.

  • Musiccitymafia Musiccitymafia on Dec 07, 2017

    Are there still consumer incentives to buy EV's? If so, and since these are really just transfers of funds to the manufacturers, does it make sense to collect taxes to give to companies for product they manufacture in another country? We won't be able to tax the mexican workers to collect some of this back?

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.