USA TODAY US Edition
Ford pulls production from USA to make small cars in Mexico
Trump: ‘We shouldn’t allow it to happen’
Ford Motor said Wednesday that it will shift all of its U.S. small car production to Mexico, a development that drew fresh criticism from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Ford’s declaration came as CEO Mark Fields sought to appeal to investors.
“Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” CEO Mark Fields told a meeting in Dearborn, Mich., where the company is based.
The development played perfectly for Trump, who was campaigning in Michigan, the traditional home to the nation’s auto industry. In April, he blasted Ford’s plans to move production to Mexico as an “absolute disgrace.”
Wednesday, he picked up the beat again as he visited Flint, which has been hard hit by the loss of autoworker jobs.
“We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people not from this country, and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said. “When we send our jobs out of Michigan, we’re also sending our tax base.”
In Michigan, Ford’s announcement didn’t come as a great surprise.
Ford said it continues to invest heavily in its U.S. plants and isn’t cutting jobs here. Last fall, the automaker committed to invest $9 billion in U.S. plants, about half of which would go to 11 facilities in Michigan. The deal created or re-
tained more than 8,500 jobs as part of a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers union.
Still, UAW President Dennis Williams has blasted Ford and other automakers for investing so much money in Mexico. “There is no reason, mathematically, to go ahead and run to countries like Mexico, Thailand and Taiwan,” Williams said this year. “We all recognize there is a huge problem in Mexico. So we have to address it as a nation. The UAW cannot do it alone.”
Average autoworker wages in Mexico are set at a fraction of their U.S. counterparts. Mexico allows automakers to reduce their costs enough that they can still make a profit on smaller cars sold in the USA.
Ford isn’t alone. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said this year it will end production of all cars in the USA by the end of this year as it discontinues production of the Dodge Dart in Belvidere, Ill., and the Chrysler 200 in Sterling Heights, Mich.
In recent years, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota and Volkswagen have all announced plans to either expand plants or build ones in Mexico. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has said it is considering an expansion of its production there.
Mexico has seen a 40% increase in auto jobs since 2008 to 675,000 last year while the USA saw a 15% increase in the same period to more than 900,000, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.