Ford officials have announced their plan to ship the company’s Focus compact model from China beginning in 2019, despite pressure from President Donald Trump to keep American manufacturers domestic. After the change is implemented, the Focus will be the biggest automotive export ever from China to the United States.
in 2018 at the Michigan plant currently building the Focus, as the company prepares for the new Chinese plant. While Ford’s stock dropped after news spread, company officials assured observers that no American jobs will be lost—by 2020, the Michigan plant will manufacture the Ranger and Bronco models.
Ford officials first considered building a plant in Mexico; however, they abandoned the idea in January under pressure from the White House. President Trump called the original plan an “absolute disgrace” last spring. There has yet been no response from Trump regarding the new Chinese operation.
Ford’s savings would make the move viable even if Congress added tariffs onto foreign-made imports, Ford Executive Vice President and President of Global Operations, Joe Hinrichs, said.
While the President would like U.S. citizens to buy American-made vehicles, others have a different opinion.
“Times have changed,” said auto analyst David Whiston. “No American would consider buying a Chinese-built car 20 years ago. Now people just want their car to work.”
In conjunction with the move to China, Ford officials plan to upgrade the current Focus model with a more spacious interior, to include new vehicle technology.
“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.