Ford mov­ing elec­tric SUV pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - KEITH NAUGHTON Bloomberg

Ford is chang­ing gears again in Mex­ico, shift­ing planned pro­duc­tion of a small elec­tric-pow­ered sport util­ity ve­hi­cle to a plant south of the bor­der in­stead of a Michi­gan fac­tory.

Send­ing the elec­tric ve­hi­cle to Mex­ico, where labour costs are lower, will help the business case for the costly model. It also risks rais­ing the ire of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who had been sharply crit­i­cal of an ear­lier plan by Ford to build a small car fac­tory in Mex­ico that the com­pany ul­ti­mately can­celled.

“They have to do what’s best fi­nan­cially and this elec­tric ve­hi­cle is not go­ing to be huge” in terms of sales vol­ume, said Michelle Krebs, an an­a­lyst with car-shop­ping web­site Au­to­trader.

“It’s not like they’re not putting money into the U.S.” Krebs said.

Mov­ing pro­duc­tion of the asyet-un­named elec­tric SUV to Mex­ico will al­low the car­maker to boost planned out­put of self-driving vehicles at its fac­tory in Flat Rock, Mich.

Ford is boost­ing its in­vest­ment by $200 mil­lion and adding 150 more jobs to the Michi­gan plant as part of the shift, Mark Truby, the com­pany’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief, said in an email.

The driver­less car is to de­but in 2021.

The SUV to be built in Mex­ico start­ing in 2020 will go 480 kilo­me­tres on a sin­gle charge and is the cen­tre­piece of a planned $4.5bil­lion over­haul of Ford’s lineup to add 13 elec­tric or hy­brid mod­els, in­clud­ing a gas-elec­tric F-150.

Ford’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Jim Hack­ett, has been ac­cel­er­at­ing the au­tomaker’s moves in elec­tric and au­ton­o­mous cars, while an­nounc­ing $14 bil­lion in cost cuts to im­prove the what he calls the com­pany’s “fit­ness.”

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