Politics

Ford Nixes Mexico Plant, Will Invest In Michigan Instead

| by Nik Bonopartis

Calling the decision "a vote of confidence" in President-elect Donald Trump's administration, Ford Motor Co. announced it has canceled plans to build a new factory in Mexico.

Instead, the car company said in its Jan. 3 announcement, it will invest $700 million in an existing facility in Michigan. Ford said it expects to create about 700 new jobs for Americans as it retools its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to produce more electric and self-driving cars, The Hill reported.

The plant will be a new "manufacturing and innovation center," Ford CEO Mark Fields said at a press conference, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Ford executives said they had not cut a deal with Trump to stay -- unlike Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer that took tax breaks to keep jobs stateside -- but they had been in contact with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

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"We look at all the factors," Fields said, "and our view is we see a more positive U.S. manufacturing business environment under president elect Trump and the pro-growth policies and proposals that he is talking about, so this is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump and some of the policies that they may be pursuing."

In a series of tweets about the decision to reinvest in stateside factories, Ford said it's going to add electric versions of its Mustang muscle car and F-150 pickup truck, in addition to introducing an all-electric small SUV by 2020 and a "fully autonomous hybrid" by 2021.

The company wasn't always in Trump's good graces. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump singled out Ford for criticism and pointed to Ford's plans to build a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico as an example of an American company abandoning the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Trump called the plans for the Mexico factory an "absolute disgrace," Reuters noted, and warned that, if elected, he would impose tariffs on Ford cars and trucks brought back to the U.S. to sell to American customers.

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The president-elect has issued similar threats to General Motors, the wire service reported, for manufacturing some of its cars in Mexico.

Ford shares enjoyed a 3.3 percent bounce in response to the news, while Trump reveled in the news, pointing toward a statement he made in 2015 when he announced his candidacy for the White House. The Republican businessman had spoken specifically about Ford, among other corporations, when he joined a crowded field of Republicans seeking the party's nomination.

"They’ll say, ‘Mr. President we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States — we’re not going to build it in Mexico,'" Trump said at the time. "That’s it. They have no choice."

Most of the reaction on social media seemed positive, although a small number of users criticized Ford's decision.

"Watched your CEO praise the racist Trump, will be boycotting Ford," user Ramiro Fernandez tweeted. "Me and my family will not be buying any of your products again!"

Others said they were happy to hear American jobs would be saved.

"Thank you for keeping and improving jobs in [America]," another user wrote. "[I'm] glad you came to your senses."

Sources: The Hill, Reuters, Ford Motor Co./Twitter, Detroit Free Press / Photo credit: Dennis Elzinga/Wikimedia Commons

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