Ford scraps plan for $1.6 billion plant in Mexico after Trump criticism
By Bernie Woodall and David Shepardson
FLAT ROCK, Mich./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) said Tuesday it will cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and invest $700 million at a Michigan factory, after President-elect Donald Trump had harshly criticized the Mexico investment plan.
The second largest U.S. automaker said it would build new electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles at the Flat Rock, Michigan plant and add 700 jobs.
Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said the decision to cancel the new Mexico factory was the result of sagging demand for small cars in North America and not because Trump was elected president. He told Fox Business that the automaker would have made the same decision even if Trump had not been elected.
"There was no quid pro quo because there was no negotiation" with Trump over the decision to cancel the plant, Fields said.
Fields told reporters the decision related to the need to "fully utilize capacity at existing facilities" amid declining sales of small and medium sized cars such as the Focus and Fusion.
Fields also endorsed "pro growth" tax and regulatory policies advocated by Trump and the Republican-led Congress. "This is a vote of confidence for President-Elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing," Fields said.
Trump repeatedly said during the election campaign that if elected he would not allow Ford to open the new plant in Mexico, which he called an "absolute disgrace" and would slap hefty tariffs taxes on imported Ford vehicles.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. told reporters he spoke with Trump to notify him of the decision. The company said the decision was influenced by Trump's policy goals such as lowering taxes and regulations but that there were no negotiations over the decision announced on Tuesday. Continued...