CEO: Ford still mov­ing small-car line to Mex­ico

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Dow Jones Newswires

Ford Mo­tor Co. will forge ahead with shift­ing small-car pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico de­spite re­peated crit­i­cism from Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, who has warned that com­pa­nies face con­se­quences for leaving the U.S.

Ford’s plan to re­house out­put of the Fo­cus com­pact car from Michi­gan to a new $1.6 bil­lion plant be­ing built in Mex­ico, which isn’t ex­pected to re­sult in job losses, re­mains on track for 2018, CEO Mark Fields said in an in­ter­view on Fri­day.

“We have made the de­ci­sion to move the Fo­cus out, and we’re mak­ing that in­vest­ment now,” Fields said. “When you look at mov­ing the Fo­cus out of our Michi­gan assem­bly plant, that’s to make room for new prod­ucts — zero jobs af­fected, zero jobs im­pacted.”

The Dear­born, Mich., auto maker is ex­pected to re­place the cars headed to Mex­ico with more-prof­itable pickup trucks and sport-util­ity ve­hi­cles to keep the Michi­gan plant hum­ming amid soar­ing de­mand for such ve­hi­cles. Union­ized auto work­ers would keep their jobs and po­ten­tially re­ceive larger profit-shar­ing checks if op­er­at­ing prof­its in North Amer­ica in­crease.

Field’s re­marks came a day af­ter Trump took credit for United Tech­nolo­gies Corp.’s de­ci­sion to keep open a Car­rier Corp. fur­nace fac­tory in In­di­ana and pre­vent about 800 jobs from mov­ing to Mex­ico.

“This isn’t a Car­rier sit­u­a­tion,” Fields said of Ford’s plan. He said Ford de­cided to pro­duce the car in Mex­ico partly to keep the ve­hi­cle’s price in line with cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions.

“In our busi­ness, it’s a long-lead in­vest­ment,” he said of the Fo­cus plan.

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