In a press release on the subject, the manufacturer is adamant that the move will not cost American jobs.
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.