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Ford Cancels Mexico Plant After Trump Criticism, Will Invest $700M in Michigan

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Ford Motor Co. said today it’s canceling a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico after criticism from President-elect Donald Trump.

Instead, Ford (Dearborn, MI) will invest $700 million at its Flat Rock, MI, plant to build autonomous and electric vehicles. The money for Flat Rock will come from funds that had been earmarked for the now-canceled Mexican plant.

Trump, during the presidential campaign, attacked Ford for its plans to shift Focus small-car production to Mexico. The Republican talked about imposing 35% tariffs on cars produced in Mexico.

Ford Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields told The Wall Street Journal last month that the automaker was still proceeding with the plan to build small cars at a new factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, starting in 2018.

“We have made the decision to move the Focus out, and we’re making that investment now,” Fields told the newspaper at the time.

The Focus currently is made at a plant in Wayne, MI. The next-generation Focus now will be built at an existing Ford plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. The company said two models it didn’t identify will be assembled at Wayne, a move that would secure 3500 jobs there.

At Flat Rock, 700 jobs will be added as part of the expansion. The factory produces the Ford Mustang sports car and Lincoln Continental. It will add a new small electric sport-utility vehicle and a planned hybrid autonomous vehicle coming in 2021. The electric SUV, due out in 2020, is supposed to have a range of 300 miles (483 kilometers).

Those two models were among seven of 13 electrified vehicles Ford confirmed today as part of its announcement. The others include a hybrid version of the F-150 pickup and a hybrid Mustang.

Trump-GM

Separately, Trump criticized General Motors Co. (Detroit) concerning Mexican-made Chevrolet Cruze hatchbacks.

“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border,” Trump said in a tweet today. “Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!”

GM, in a short statement on its website, said all Cruze sedans are assembled at its Lordstown, OH, factory. The company said it builds the hatchback version in Mexico for international markets “with a small number” sold in the United States.

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