Ford Motor Company wants everyone to know that, even though production of the Ford Focus will shift entirely overseas for the 2019 model year, no American jobs will be lost as a result. In fact, the company has announced a $900 million investment in its Kentucky Truck Plant to build the new Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size sport-utility vehicles in addition to Super Duty trucks already built at the location. While not creating new jobs, Ford says the plant upgrades will secure 1,000 hourly positions.
Meanwhile, Ford will shift Focus production to plant locations outside the United States with most cars coming from China, as opposed to the original plan for Mexico. The manufacturer is quick to mention, however, that workers currently building the Focus at its Michigan Assembly Plant will transition to the new mid-size Ranger pickup truck when Focus production ends next year. Ford says the new production plan will save $1 billion in investment costs.
Ford made a very public reversal back in January about plans to send Focus production to Mexico, coincidentally timed after some strong words from President Trump that were aimed directly at the manufacturer’s proposed move south of the border. Whether or not a plan was always in place to move production to China is unclear, but Ford is clearly hoping to preempt any negative fallout from this latest announcement. The company makes numerous mentions throughout the press release to current and previous investments in made in U.S. facilities, and specifically points out that new Expedition and Navigators built in Kentucky will be exported around the world – including China.
“Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world – and we’re finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Operations, in a press release. “At the same time, we also have looked at how we can be more successful in the small car segment and deliver even more choices for customers in a way that makes business sense.”
The announcement comes at a time of some turmoil for the manufacturer from Dearborn. Ford sales have fallen steadily through the first half of 2017, leading to numerous layoffs at multiple locations. Last month the company axed former CEO Mark Fields after years of declining stock prices despite record sales.
Gallery: 2019 Ford Focus new spy photos
FORD INVESTS IN KY. PLANT TO BUILD NEW EXPEDITION, NAVIGATOR; SMART, SPACIOUS NEW FOCUS FOR N.A. TO BE GLOBALLY SOURCED
- Ford is investing $900 million in Kentucky Truck Plant, securing 1,000 U.S. hourly jobs to build all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator
- All-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator to be exported to more than 55 markets globally – including Navigator to China; the company is a top auto exporter in the U.S.
- Exciting new Ford Focus on the way for North American customers beginning in 2019 with more technology, more space and a number of new Focus models. Next-generation Focus for North America will be globally sourced primarily from China – rather than Hermosillo, Mexico – with production starting in the second half of 2019. Current model production ends in mid-2018
- This manufacturing plan allows the company to further grow its leadership as an exporter and deliver world-class Focus to North American customers in a way that makes business sense – with no U.S. employees out of a job
- Ford is saving $1 billion in investment costs versus its original Focus production plan, improving the financial health of its Focus business and further improving manufacturing scale in China – all helping create a more operationally fit company
DEARBORN, Mich., June 20, 2017 – Ford today announced manufacturing actions centered on improving the company’s operational fitness and building vehicles that excite customers around the world.
Ford is investing $900 million in Kentucky Truck Plant for plant upgrades to build the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, which begin arriving in dealerships this fall. Both full-size SUVs will be exported to more than 55 markets globally – including Navigator to China. Ford is a top auto exporter in the U.S.
The $900 million investment secures 1,000 jobs for hourly workers at the Louisville plant. This is in addition to the $1.3 billion investment and 2,000 jobs created at that plant in late 2015 to build the all-new Ford Super Duty. Kentucky Truck employs nearly 7,600 full-time hourly workers – and Ford has more U.S. hourly workers and builds more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker.
“Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world – and we’re finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Operations. “At the same time, we also have looked at how we can be more successful in the small car segment and deliver even more choices for customers in a way that makes business sense.”
Ford’s next-generation Ford Focus will be more spacious and packed with technology that customers want.
Production begins in the second half of 2019, with models coming from the company’s existing Focus plants globally. Most new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with additional variants coming from Europe later.
No U.S. hourly employees will be out of a job tied to the new manufacturing plan for Focus. Production of the current North American Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant continues through mid-2018. Following that, the plant will be converted to produce the Ranger midsize pickup truck in late 2018 and the Bronco midsize SUV in 2020.
The new North America Focus production plan saves $1 billion in investment costs versus the original plan – $500 million on top of the $500 million savings announced earlier this year by cancelling plans for an all-new manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moving Focus production to Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant.
“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,” Hinrichs said.