Ford's Compact Car Production Leaving Michigan And The USA -- Can You Guess Where Ford's Going Instead?

Dawn Papple

Ford's compact car production is moving from the Michigan Assembly Plant, which is currently located near Detroit. The Ford Focus and C-Max hybrid production will move from the Motor City area by 2018. Ford blames the move on the difficulty the company is having making fuel-efficient vehicles at home and still turning a profit. Ford's announcement precedes the United Auto Workers talks about the union's labor agreement. The UAW wants to fight proposals to scale back healthcare costs and seeks a wage increase. So, where is production headed?

Ford has assembly plants in Mexico already for the production of the Ford Fusion and the Fiesta. The Ford Focus and the Ford C-Max hybrid are likely headed south of the border as well.

Ford's spokeswoman Kristina Adamski stressed that Ford hopes to produce different vehicles at the Michigan Assembly Plant sometime in the future.

"We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with United Auto Workers leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations."

— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) July 10, 2015

"U.S. first-half sales were down 3 percent for the Focus and 17 percent for the C-Max."

This spring, Ford announced that it would create 3,800 jobs and invest $2.5 billion into Mexico for two plants that would produce engines and transmissions. Now, it appears as though even more jobs are headed to Mexico.

"I think Ford has a trump card in their hand as they walk into negotiations," Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis with AutoPacific Inc., told The Detroit News. "It sends a message that now the UAW has to negotiate for jobs and (Ford) can close a plant and move it to another, lower-cost facility."

In mid-June, Ford laid off 673 hourly employees and 27 salaried employees. With relatively low gas prices compared to recent years, Americans just aren't buying the fuel-efficient vehicles as expected, and there is not as much of a profit in these vehicles either. According to the Detroit News, besides for Michigan, the Focus is also "built in China, Argentina, Germany, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan for overseas markets" and the C-Max is also built in Germany.

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