Ford has announced that, beginning in 2019, most new North American Focus models will be imported from China for the first time, with additional variants coming from Europe later.
The car manufacturer estimates that by ending production of the Focus in the US and moving it mostly to China, the Ford Motor Company will save $1 billion.
“Consumers care a lot more about the quality and the value than they do about the sourcing location,” Ford’s president of global operations Joe Hinrichs said.
The same cannot be said about President Donald Trump and many of his voters who wanted to stop the outflow of manufacturing jobs from the US. On the campaign trail, Trump blasted Ford’s plans to build a plant in Mexico. Ford later scrapped the plan, prompting cheers from the president who was seemingly eager to take credit for Ford’s backtracking.
Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford & Fiat C!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Ford’s latest decision appears to fly in the face of Trump’s earlier comments: “Ford and others are building new plants and expanding old plants, and they’re no longer talking about running away from our country, they’re talking about building their cars and other products by other companies right here in the USA,” he said. “People don’t want to leave, they want to come back and they want to create jobs in the United States.”
The Trump administration’s reaction to Ford’s latest move seemed reserved, as on Tuesday Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “The Ford decision shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography.”
White House conspicuously muted on Ford moving Ford Focus production to China. This statement from Wilbur Ross is the only reaction pic.twitter.com/998fOsetnm
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) June 20, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not go much further than to say that Trump “wants to create a tax system that companies want to come back and bring back jobs in manufacturing here in the United States.”
Perhaps in an attempt to sweeten the pill, Ford announced they are investing $900 million to upgrade the Kentucky Truck Plant, where all new Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators will be built.