President-elect Donald Trump claimed credit on Thursday for keeping a Ford plant in Kentucky from moving to Mexico. But the company never planned to move the entire plant, only one of its production lines.
Ford has never announced plans to move to Mexico either its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which produces the Lincoln Navigator, or the Louisville Assembly Plant, which produces the Lincoln MKC and the Ford Escape.
In a statement on Thursday night, following Trump's tweet, the company said it had told Trump it would cancel a plan to shift production of a single model -- the MKC -- from Kentucky to Mexico. The company last year indicated it would be moving MKC production out of Louisville, though it did not announce where it was going. At the time, union leaders said the shift would not cost any jobs in Kentucky, because Escape production would replace lost MKC production.
"Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky," the company said in a statement. "We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States."
In a follow-up email exchange, a Ford spokeswoman confirmed that the MKC production had been slated to move to Mexico.
This week, Ford chief executive Mark Fields reiterated that it was moving forward with plans to shift production of the Ford Focus to Mexico from Michigan.
Trump has criticized those plans, which the company says will not cost any American jobs, because other models will be produced in the Michigan plant instead.
In an interview with Reuters, Fields highlighted the investments the company was making in domestic plants -- most notably, in Kentucky.
Ford announced a $1.3 billion investment in the Kentucky Truck Plant late last year. It said the move would create 2,000 new jobs.
Bill Ford Jr., the company's executive chairman, said in October that he had met with Trump over the then-candidate's frequent campaign attacks on Ford's decision to move small-car production to Mexico.
"I've had a very good meeting with him," Ford told the Economic Club of Washington. "He's a very good listener and he knows the facts."
This isn't the first time Trump has misstated facts about a Ford move. In October 2015, he tweeted that the company had halted plans to build a factory in Mexico and would locate in Ohio instead, and he claimed credit for the decision. The company said he was wrong, and that it was continuing to build its plant in Mexico.
Trump appeared to be relying on information gleaned from an article posted on a website of a shop that sells business cards and door hangers.
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