Ford move draws fire from Trump

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Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday announced it is shifting all of its North American small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico, drawing fresh criticism in the process from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We shouldn’t allow it to happen,” Trump said during a visit to Flint, Mich., according to a report in USA Today.

“They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people, not from this country and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said. “When we send our jobs out of Michigan, we’re also sending our tax base.”

At a rally in Ohio Wednesday evening, Trump continued to rail against the move. 

“It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint,” he said.

Ford CEO Mark Fields told investors at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., of the plans as he sought to reassure them about the company’s future. 

“Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Fields said, according to The Detroit Free Press.

{mosads}Ford’s plans aren’t new. It pledged earlier this year it would invest $1.6 billion in small-car production in Mexico.

Christin Baker, a spokeswoman for the company, noted that the plan was a part of contract negotiations with the United Autoworkers. Ford as part of those negotiations is also to invest $9 billion in U.S. plants, including in 11 facilities in Michigan.

Baker said the plan to shift small car production to Mexico would not reduce the company’s jobs in the United States, and that the Focus would be replaced by two product lines in Michigan that have yet to be announced. Ford also continues to produce cars, trucks, SUVs and vans in the United States.

Trump has repeatedly denounced Ford’s investments in Mexico, arguing that the car company is missing opportunities to employ American workers.

“Ford is building a $2.5 billion plant in Mexico,” he said in Birch Run, Mich., last August. “I’ll actually give them a good idea. Why don’t we just let the illegals drive the cars and trucks right into our country?”

Polls show Trump behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan, but the Republican is hoping to become the first GOP presidential candidate to win the state in decades. 

Fields directly addressed Trump last March, arguing Ford is not neglecting America for foreign markets such as Mexico.

“Well, the last I looked, Ford Motor Co. is here to stay in the United States,” he said during a March 23 interview in New York City with CNBC.

“It’s really important for us to be successful in our home market. We love what we do for the economy. [But] we’re always going to invest where it makes sense for business.”

Fox Business Network said the automaker has made record pretax profit over the past 18 months, with the company on pace to bring in $10.2 billion in 2016.

Ford expects profits to decline next year as it invests in vehicle development, it said, but hopes to improve its financial results by 2018.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) has previously predicted the number of American auto assembly jobs will not decline due to demand for SUVs and pickups, Fox Business Network said.

UAW President Dennis Williams, however, has cautioned there is a risk if gasoline rises above $4 per gallon like it was in mid-2008, consumers may gravitate towards small cars again.

This story was updated at 8:41 p.m.

Tags Business Cars Donald Trump Ford Motor Co. Hillary Clinton Mexico Politics Transportation

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