Ford to move all small car production to Mexico

September 14, 2016 in News by Slad

 

Source: The Detriot News

Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Mark Fields on Wednesday confirmed Ford will end small-car production in the United States by shifting it all to Mexico in the next two to three years.

The only small cars still produced in the U.S. are the Focus and C-Max, built at Michigan Assembly in Wayne. Ford announced last year it would end production of those vehicles in the U.S. in 2018, but until now has not confirmed where they would go. The Detroit News first reported last year it wants to replace those products in Wayne with the Ranger midsize pickup and Bloomberg has said it could also include the Bronco SUV.

Ford also makes the Fiesta, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ in Mexico. It will continue to build the Taurus, Lincoln Continental and Mustang in the United States.

The announcement by Fields was part of Ford’s investor day, in which it offered a new strategy for how it’s dealing with its slow-selling small cars.

Among its changes: it reduced available Ford Focus combinations from 200,000 in 2015 to approximately 300 for the 2017-model year and 30 for the next-generation Focus. That’s saving the company about $300 per car, Ford said.

Ford’s move to Mexico reflects a strategy that other automakers are taking.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has said it is ending all car production in the U.S.

General Motors Co. still builds several small cars in the U.S. including the Chevrolet Cruze compact at its Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio and the small Buick Verano, and the only subcompact built in the U.S., the Chevrolet Sonic at its Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township.

GM, however, is ending production next month of the Verano as it phases the small car out of its Buick lineup in the U.S. GM also builds the Cruze in Mexico for other markets.

The Mexico issue has been a hot-button topic in the 2016 presidential campaign for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The billionaire businessman has said he would charge Ford a tariff on all cars produced in Mexico. He has said the tariff could be as much as 35 percent.

“Right now, there’s no consequence,” Trump said in an interview with The Detroit News during a visit to the Motor City earlier this month. “They take their factory, they leave, they fire everybody in Michigan … and after they fire everybody, they build cars in a different country and they just sell them to us and there’s no retribution, there’s no consequence that will stop them from leaving.

“Right now in Mexico, they’re building massive plants for Ford Motor Co. to move in and build cars and trucks in Michigan and they’re going to leave Michigan — not going to happen if I’m president,” Trump said.

Ford plans to build a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The Dearborn-based automaker has said it will employ 2,800 at the new Mexican plant by 2020, but the automaker has never said truck production would be moved to Mexico as Trump suggested, and has recently moved some truck production from Mexico to the United States. Ford does not assemble its trucks in Mexican plants, but Detroit Three rivals General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles do have truck assembly plants in Mexico.

Ford also is spending $1.1 billion to expand an engine plant in Chihuahua and another $1.2 billion to build a new transmission plant in the Mexican state of Guanajuato that is projected to employ 2,000 workers by 2018.

Ford says Mexico ranks fourth among countries where it makes its vehicles for global customers behind the United States, China and Germany.

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

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Twitter.com/MikeMartinez_DN