Ford has canceled plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and will instead invest that money into existing facilities in Michigan. Further, Ford CEO Mark Fields admits that the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump played a role in that decision.
As CBS News reports, Ford will invest about $700 million into the existing Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, a few miles south of Detroit. The investment will help the plant produce electric and self-driving cars, creating about 700 new jobs.
Speaking to CNN, Fields says that he believes a Trump presidency will create a more favorable environment for manufacturing in America.
“When we make decisions like this as a company we look, first we do what’s right for our business. This makes sense for our business. And we look at all factors, including what we view as a more positive U.S. manufacturing business environment under President-elect Trump. And it’s literally a vote of confidence around some of the pro-growth policies that he has been outlining and that’s why we’re making this decision to invest here in the U.S. and in our plant Michigan.”
In remarks made available via Fox News, United Auto Workers (UAW) president Jimmy Settles praised Ford’s decision to keep those jobs in America.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers. The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”
Fields insisted that there was no connection between his decision to keep jobs in Michigan and a recent tweet from Donald Trump criticizing Ford’s competitor, Chevy. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Chevy was importing Chevy Cruze models from Mexico into the U.S. and failing to pay taxes on them.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
In fact, Trump’s accusation was entirely true, according to GM. The company insisted that only a “small portion” of Chevy Cruze models sold in the U.S. are actually made in Mexico; the rest are made in the USA – specifically, at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
This is not the first time Donald Trump, directly or indirectly, has played a role in keeping jobs in the USA. Last month, air conditioner and furnace maker Carrier scrapped plans to move jobs to Mexico after meeting with Donald Trump. Instead, those jobs will stay in Indiana. Perhaps not coincidentally, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, had served as the governor of Indiana before being tapped for the job of Vice President.
Looking towards the next five years, Ford is expanding its focus into the growing market for electric and hybrid cars. Thirteen new hybrid or fully electric Ford models will be reaching the market within the next five years, including hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S.; a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe; and a fully electric SUV, which is expected to have a range of at least 300 miles, in markets all across the world.
Looking even further down the road, Ford is also eyeing expanding into the growing ride-share market, with an eye toward self-driving cars. By 2021, Ford hopes to have on the road a fully autonomous, high-volume vehicle capable of hauling freight or passengers.
[Featured Image by Darren Brode/Shutterstock]