Ford to scrap Mexico plant, invest in Michigan; CEO cites Trump policies

Ford Motor Company on Tuesday announced plans to cancel the building of a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest $700 million in a Michigan assembly plant, directly tying the decision to “pro-growth policies” championed by President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump had previously been critical of Ford’s plans to build in Mexico.

CEO Mark Fields, speaking at an event at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, said the policies that Trump “and the new Congress have indicated they will pursue” were vital to the company’s decision.

“We believe these tax and regulatory reforms are necessary to boost U.S. competitiveness,” Fields said.

Tuesday’s announcement was the latest in a string of pre-inauguration successes for Trump in the manufacturing sector.

In early December, air conditioner and furnace maker Carrier agreed to stay in Indiana after weeks of negotiations headed by Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The decision reportedly saved about 700 jobs that would have been shifted to Mexico.

Later in the month, wireless provider Sprint and Internet company OneWeb announced they would be adding thousands of jobs in the U.S. Both companies are controlled by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who had previously met with Trump.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Trump took aim at another auto giant: General Motors.

“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!” Trump tweeted.

GM, however, quickly pushed back on Trump’s assertions.

“GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S.” a statement said.

The investment in the Flat Rock plant is set to create 700 jobs, according to Fields. The money, which was taken from the $1.6 billion earmarked for the Mexico plant, will be used to open a new factory used to build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles as well as the Mustang and Lincoln Continental, the company said in a press release.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in the release. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”

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