CEO: Ford still moving small-car line to Mexico
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.