Donald Trump was not reason for Ford scrapping Mexico car plant, says CEO Mark Fields

The company's CEO said market forces were the driving factor

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 04 January 2017 15:45 GMT
Ford is to invest $700m in a Michigan plant to build new electric and autonomous vehicles
Ford is to invest $700m in a Michigan plant to build new electric and autonomous vehicles (AP)

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Donald Trump has been quick to take credit for a decision by Ford to scrap a new plant in Mexico and instead create 700 new jobs in Mexico.

He tweeted a comment from Ford chief executive Mark Fields that the decision was a “vote of confidence” in the pro-growth policies Mr Trump has vowed to pursue.

But Mr Fields, has revealed that market conditions were much more of a factor in the company’s decision.

“The bottom line is we’re not seeing the volume and the demand that we expected for that plant,” he told NBC.

“We’re looking at our capacity and saying, ‘you know what, we can build that in an existing facility and use capacity that we already have’.”

“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen small cars markedly decline. Every year we’re looking at our capacity. We’re looking at our forecast for demand. It became very clear that we didn’t need this plant.”

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On Tuesday, Ford said it would spend $700m (£570m) in its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, and add 700 new jobs. The company said it would continue to build its Ford Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, to improve company profitability.

Mr Trump had previously been critical of the company over its plan to move all small-car production to Mexico, and claimed that he helped steer Ford away from shifting an entire factory from Kentucky to Mexico.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Fields said he had noticed Mr Trump’s promise to make the US more competitive by lowering taxes and easing regulations.

“This is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump in some and of the policies he may be pursuing,” he said. Yet, he told Reuters there had been no “no quid pro quo” because there had been no negotiation with Mr Trump.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Fields said the company had informed Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence about its decision. He said they were “very happy” about the new investments.

“And we mentioned also at the same time this is what we do as a business,” he said.

“Listen, we’re a global multinational. Our home is here in the US. It’s really important for us to be strong and vibrant here in our home, and build on the investment in job creation we’ve been able to produce over the last five years.”

He said that the company could do well with a more positive US manufacturing business environment.

“We see the pro-growth policies that he’s proposing. So, this is a vote of confidence in what we think the President-elect is going to pursue and it’s right for our business,” he said.

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