By Greg Gardner and Brent Snavely / Detroit Free Press
Ford plans to eventually shift all North American small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico, CEO Mark Fields told investors Tuesday, even though the company’s production investments in Mexico have become a lightning rod for controversy in the presidential election.
“Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Fields said at a daylong investor conference in Dearborn.
The news sparked a fresh round of criticism of Ford from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was campaigning in Flint on Wednesday.
“We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people, not from this country, and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said during his visit. “When we send our jobs out of Michigan, we’re also sending our tax base.”
The impact on Ford’s U.S. employment will be minimal in the near-term. Ford already builds the Fiesta subcompact and the Fusion mid-size sedan in Mexico. There is an expectation that Ford will build a new Ranger mid-size pickup truck in Wayne and possibly a new Bronco compact sport-utility.
Ford isn’t the first automaker to move small car production out of the U.S. Mexico has become an auto production Mecca for new industry investment, surpassing Canada in annual automotive production.