In a move that’s likely to generate a fierce backlash from United States President Donald Trump, Ford has announced it is not moving production to Mexico – it’s taking it to China instead.
The company will cease production of its Ford Focus vehicle in Michigan and shift that project to China by 2019. Last January, Ford was eyeing a new $1.6 billion plant in Mexico to continue building Ford Focus units. But staying true to his promise to protect American jobs from foreign manufactures, Trump slammed Ford and persuaded it to pull out of the deal. Instead, it thought to use an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, while using the $500 million it saved to invest in a Michigan plant that produces electric cars.
But now, the company has scrapped that plan as well and decided to make China the sole birthplace of the Ford Focus.
Ford Executive Joe Hinrichs said the move to China would allow it to make savings, which would be invested toward the growing parts of the company. The firm said the decision will not affect the American workforce, and the Michigan plant making Ford Focus cars will switch to making trucks with the same amount of hourly workers by 2018.
Still, the move may anger Trump who continues to champion the call to have as many American goods bought in America made in America. Tax reform, which is likely higher on his agenda, will likely play a role here as well.
In response to Ford’s latest move, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the shift will hurt U.S. car suppliers. He also underscored the urgent need for tax reform that could help make domestic manufacturing more competitive