Quartz -Automaker Ford said June 20 it won’t move production of its Focus model from the US to Mexico after all. The company now plans to make the cars in China, and ship them to the US. It’s an eyebrow-raising decision for several reasons. Making the sedan in neighboring Mexico would be more convenient for Ford, enabling the company to avoid the high costs of shipping the cars from Asia.
Bloomberg – Ford Motor Co. is canceling controversial plans to build the Focus small car in Mexico, saving $1 billion by ending North American production entirely and importing the model mostly from China after next year. The U.S. automaker will start making the next-generation Focus in China from the second half of 2019, a year after output ends at one of its plants in Michigan. Ford will trim about $500 million in costs by shifting production to China, adding to the $500 million already saved from canceling construction of a small-car factory in Mexico earlier this year.
CNN – General Motors plans to bring about 600 jobs back from Mexico to a new industrial park it is building in Texas. The facility in Arlington should be ready by 2018. It will employ 1,250 people working for companies that supply parts for GM — some of whom already work in the area. About half of the workers will do work that is now done in Mexico, the company said.
Fox News – Giant Motors, an automaker partially owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is working on a prototype electric taxi to replace the gas-guzzling cabs polluting Mexico City’s air. Giant has partnered with electric vehicle maker Moldex, a unit of Mexican breadmaker Grupo Bimbo, and four Mexican universities to produce the environmentally friendly car that will eventually replace part of Mexico City’s more than 130,000 registered cabs, said Elias Massri, chief executive of Giant Motors Latinoamerica.
Automotive News – Ford Motor Co.’s loss on its aborted Mexico plant in San Luis Potosi totaled $153 million, 23 percent less than it had originally booked. The automaker had expected a $199 million loss.
R&T – Chrysler experimented with turbine powered cars from 1953 to 1988, and the highlight of the program was a fleet of more than 50 bronze colored cars they built in 1963. One went on a whirlwind tour of the globe. That car, as one might imagine, is the one that had the craziest tales to tell. Like the afternoon it spent giving the president of Mexico a ride, powered entirely by tequila.
Fox News – Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is considering building an auto plant in two Mexican states hit by U.S. President Donald Trump’s drive to make American companies invest at home. Great Wall Motor, which describes itself as China’s largest SUV and pickup manufacturer, is interested in building a plant in Nuevo Leon in northern Mexico or the central state of San Luis Potosi, three people familiar with the matter said.
Financial Times – Carlos Slim’s Giant Motors will begin manufacturing cars in Mexico in a joint venture with China’s JAC Motors as they focus on the Latin market. Two Chinese-designed and largely Chinese-manufactured sport utility vehicles will be launched as the new venture aims to cash in on Mexico’s booming domestic car market.
WSJ – Mexico’s share of North American light-vehicle production topped 20% in the first two months of 2017, gaining regional share from the U.S. and Canada as the amount of popular pickups and SUVs made south of the border sharply increased. The development heightens the stakes as auto makers await potential changes in trade rules by the Trump administration.
CNBC – Renault-Nissan has no plans to move production out of Mexico despite speculation that the anticipated revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could slap tariffs on trade between the U.S. and Mexico.
By Jude Webber / Financial Times
Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister, will meet executives from Ford and General Motors in Detroit on Friday, today, as well as officials from two auto-parts companies with plants in Detroit and Mexico, as part of a visit designed to talk up the benefits of Nafta.
Guajardo, who was part of the team that negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement that took effect in 1994, will also address the Detroit Economic Club on the subject of US-Mexican bilateral relations, relations between the state of Michigan and Mexico and the current situation and future of the free-trade pact.
A statement did not say whom the minister would meet or name the car-parts companies.
President Donald Trump has vowed to revamp Nafta, saying the current deal is not in the US’ interests.
U.S. Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has suggested talks could focus on rules of origin and dispute resolution mechanisms. Trump has vowed to pull the US out of Nafta unless he can get a better deal.
Ford Mexico CEO Gabriel Lopez said at a company event in Mexico City Thursday that it’s going ahead with plans to expand two of its plants — an engine plant in Chihuahua and a transmission plant in Irapuato.
Mexico News Daily – A made-in-Mexico electric vehicle designed by Giant Motors — part of Carlos Slim’s financial conglomerate Inbursa — could hit the roads in a year’s time. The electric vehicle will be manufactured through a collaboration with Moldex, a subsidiary of the world’s largest bakery, Bimbo, and the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM).
Automotive News – Daimler and Nissan Motor are re-examining the scope of collaboration at their planned Mexican factory that’s set to make Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti cars. Daimer and Nissan are building a $1 billion plant together in Aguascalientes that’s scheduled to start rolling out Nissan Infiniti luxury models this year, and Mercedes compact vehicles starting in 2018.
LAT – It was supposed to be a victory party. Carmakers from across the globe had planned to celebrate their head-spinning boom in Mexico at the Automotive Logistics conference held in Mexico City this week. Then Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. In the span of weeks, Trump has issued threats and hints at trade policies that could jeopardize two decades of growth for Mexico’s auto manufacturing sector.
India Times – Mexico announced a 4.4 billion peso ($212 million) deal to assemble Chinese cars in Hidalgo on Wednesday. The deal between Mexico’s Giant Motors Latinoamerica and Chinese state-owned automaker JAC Motors envisions a plant in Ciudad Sahagun that will be producing two SUV models in the second half of this year.
NBC -The increasingly contentious battle between the Trump administration and Mexico could lead to some significant collateral damage, most notably to car makers and car buyers.
Reuters – Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter loss, reflecting pension accounting and writedowns for abandoning a planned factory in Mexico, and reaffirmed its forecast that profits for 2017 would be lower.
Detroit Free Press – Automakers used to complain their economic and technological importance were under appreciated, but after having been singled out by President Trump over their foreign operations, car companies already praying for a return to anonymity. Given the attention President Trump’s stream of consciousness auto analysis receives, a reality check is in order.
Automotive News – Forecasting firm LMC Automotive expects automakers will continue to invest in Mexico over the next four years despite tariff threats and social media shaming from President-elect Donald Trump. The study said production south of the border for Detroit’s three automakers will increase through 2020, while production in both Canada and the U.S. is expected to fall.