Trump is Wrong About Ford

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trump ford mexico
Trump is off-base on his critique of the American automaker.
Photo Credit: 
CNN

Since the early days of his campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump has been railing against Ford for their plan to move small car production to Mexico. Bringing more manufacturing and more jobs back to the US is a cornerstone of the Trump campaign and The Donald sees this move as a big target for his rhetoric on job creation. He criticizes one of the world's oldest automakers for taking jobs out of Michigan and sending them to Mexico. There's just one problem. Nobody in Michigan is losing their job because of this production shift.

Ford currently builds the Focus and C-Max compact cars in the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. There have been rumors about moving the production of these models to Mexico for some time, but Ford has been clumsy and delayed in confirming those rumors. Trump threatens to put a big tax on products coming from Mexico into the US made by US-based companies. He campaigns on this often, particularly when he's in the battleground state of Michigan. Trump slams Ford for investing in jobs for Mexicans rather than Americans. He points to this as an example of the exodus of manufacturing leaving the US.

Trump specifically mentioned this in his first debate with Secretary Clinton and Ford had a strong response on Twitter. They rather bluntly stated that they have more hourly employees and build more cars in the US than any other American automaker. That means more than GM - which is a larger company - and more than Fiat/Chrysler. To further inspire confidence in Ford and in American manufacturing, the United Automobile Workers recently confirmed that the Ford Ranger pickup truck and the Ford Bronco SUV would be produced at the Michigan Assembly Plant in place of the Focus and C-Max that are moving south of the border. This is another old rumor that off-roading enthusiasts are very excited to have confirmed. It's also worth noting that the second-generation Ford Fusion mid-size sedan that came out in 2013 was so popular that Ford moved some of the production to the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, MI where they make Mustangs. Fusions had previously been built exclusively in Mexico.

It makes perfect sense to replace small cars with trucks and SUV's in an American plant. While compact cars are big volume sellers, they have low profit margins. The lion's share of profits in the auto industry come from trucks and SUV's. Ford is simply lowering their manufacturing costs for low-profit products and building high-profit products in a facility that's more expensive to keep running.

Let's just hope that the new Ford Bronco can make two-door off-road SUV's great again.

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