A series of tweets made by President-elect Donald Trump with regard to Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) Chairman William Ford Jr. and a decision to keep the company’s Louisville assembly plant in Kentucky is raising questions from numerous observers.
The first Trump-Ford tweet stated that the president-elect received a phone call from William Ford Jr., who told him that the company will be keeping their Lincoln assembly operations in Kentucky.
The second Trump-Ford tweet described the president-elect’s efforts, working together with Ford, to “keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky.”
Business Insider noted that William Ford Jr. hasn’t commented publicly on the operations of the company founded by his great-grandfather since 2006 and that there was never any talk of eliminating jobs at the Louisville assembly plant.
What has been suggested is moving production of lower-profit small passenger cars to Mexico, while increasing production of higher-profit SUVs in Louisville, which has been in operation since 1955.
Christina Alesci, with CNN, described the Trump-Ford-Kentucky tweets as the president-elect seemingly “taking a victory lap for something he didn’t do.”
Alesci described Ford entering into a “legally binding” agreement with the United Automobile Workers union prior to Donald Trump being elected.
In December of 2015, the UAW ratified a four-year contract that included a commitment on the part of Ford to invest $600 million in the Louisville plant, as reported by Automotive News.
“Ford was probably his favorite corporate pinata,” Alesci said of comments Trump made through his 2016 presidential campaign.
“Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky,” the statement from Ford read, seemingly confirming that some communication between the company and Donald Trump took place.
“No one really wants to get on Trump’s bad side,” Christina Alesci said with regard to the soft wording of the Ford statement and the stance of other corporate leaders toward the president-elect.
Alesci went on to describe a 2015 rally in New Hampshire, where other Trump-Ford plant promises were made; on that occasion, the company was going to build a new factory. In reality, the company had only been planning to shift production under an agreement that was made four years prior.
“Donald Trump will flat-out lie,” Bakari Sellers stated on CNN. “It’s categorically false.”
Paris Dennard defended Donald Trump to Sellers’ remarks, stating that the real issue was that the president-elect had raised the issue of “jobs leaving the country” after Don Lemon pointed out that decisions with regard to the Ford Louisville plant were made long before Trump became president-elect.
“Paris, the truth doesn’t matter?” Don Lemon questioned the Trump surrogate.
Dennard stated a belief that honesty or fact wasn’t the core of the matter, instead insisting that Donald Trump had accomplished his mission of “raising awareness.”
“Let’s be honest,” Lemon returned.
The CNN host went on to describe Donald Trump “taking a victory lap” for an accomplishment that does not exist, and even it if did, would not be his to lay claim to. Lemon continued that if the Trump-Ford tweet stated he was “raising awareness” about the United State losing jobs, Dennard’s argument might hold ground, insisting again that the president-elect is taking credit for something that he had no input into.
Business Insider suggests that if the president-elect mandates “punitive tariffs” on Ford vehicles produced in Mexico for sale in the United States, as he has suggested he wants to, the car maker would have to consider discontinuing small car production entirely, given “current market conditions.”
According to Yahoo Finance Canada, Ford Motor Co. has 199,000 employees worldwide and generated $140.57 billion in revenue in 2015. That figure is expected to grow 1.4 percent to $142.49 billion in 2016 and then shrink by 0.1 percent to $142.40 billion in 2017.
Ford stock currently pays a $0.60 or 4.9 percent dividend.
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