Authored By Melanie Zanona – 01/03/17
Ford Motor Co. is canceling plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico and instead is investing $700 million in Michigan, the automaker announced on Tuesday.
The company’s CEO, Mark Fields, told CNN that the move is a “vote of confidence” in President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to create a pro-business environment. Fields emphasized, however, that he did not negotiate any special deal with Trump. “We didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” he said. “We did it for our business.”
Trump bashed Ford on the campaign trail over the automaker’s plan to invest $1.6 billion in Mexico by shifting its North American small-car production south of the border. Ford had emphasized that the move would not affect U.S. jobs because the automaker would be putting new vehicles into the Michigan plants.
But now Ford will instead build the Ford Focus at an existing plant in Mexico. It will also invest $700 million in its plant in Flat Rock, Mich. and create 700 jobs in an effort to produce more electric and self-driving cars. The automaker has said it plans to build a fully self-driving car by 2021.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers vice president, according to CNN.A Ford spokeswoman told The Hill that Trump’s team was notified of their plans Tuesday morning.
Ford is not the only automaker to draw Trump’s ire. Earlier Tuesday, the president-elect blasted General Motors on Twitter, threatening a “big border tax” on GM models made in Mexico.
GM announced last June it would build the Chevrolet Cruze model in Mexico and sell them in the U.S. for the first time due to high demand. The automaker revealed the change after its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, struggled to meet consumer demands.
In a statement released about an hour after Trump tweeted, GM said only a small number of its cars made in Mexico are sent to the U.S. market.
U.S. taxpayers lost $11.3 billion in the federal bailout of GM following the 2009 financial crisis. Ford did not take a bailout.