by: Mark Fritz, Benzinga Staff Writer
The automotive press had a field day after Ford Motor Company F announced it was moving production of its next-generation Focus to China, a sharp rebuke of President Donald Trump’s boast that he had kept the plant from moving to Mexico.
Ford canceled plans to build the Focus in Mexico in January after Trump repeatedly criticized the move and threatened to impose tariffs on U.S. carmakers for taking production south of the border. The president later said that he’d saved American jobs.
“Ford to scrap Mexico plant, invest in Michigan due to Trump policies," Trump posted on Twitter.
How Trump would react was greeted with almost as much wonder as the move itself.
“Ford may have just placed itself in a perilous situation with Trump,” warned Business Insider.
“Ford’s Big Bet: Americans, and Trump, Are Ready For Chinese Cars,” was the headline for Bloomberg.
Even Russia-controlled media outlet RT said: “Ford shifts production of Focus to China after Trump said he prevented Mexico move.”
Ford Says Move Is Strictly Business
The car company said the move to China instead of Mexico saves the company roughly $1 billion.
“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company – especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of global operations, said in a statement.
Ford will shift production to China by 2019 and said the move won’t cost any jobs at the Focus factory in Michigan, which will eventually be converted to a plant that revives a popular and much-lamented marquee, the Ranger midsize pickup truck.
The move was the first significant one by Ford’s new CEO, Jim Hackett, the former Steelcase Inc. SCS CEO, who replaced Mark Fields in May.
© 2017 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.