Ford Chairman Bill Ford called President-elect Donald Trump to inform him that the automaker would be keeping production of a slow-selling Lincoln crossover at its Louisville, Kentucky plant, and Trump took to twitter to spread the good news.
“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico,” he tweeted.
After months of erroneously bashing the automaker in speeches and in social media about its production plans, the tweet seemed like a nice start to a beautiful new friendship – or at least a nice change of pace from a long string of inaccuracies. He even followed it up with another one.
“I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great state of Kentucky for their confidence in me!” he tweeted.
Politicians take credit for things they don’t have any real control over or input into all the time; however, a closer look at the missive and its follow up tweet reveal something a little different.
Oops. Trump got it wrong on a much-larger scale.
The automaker’s plans called for Ford to shift production of the Lincoln MKC to the company’s plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, at some point in 2019 in order to increase production of the strong-selling Ford Escape. However, the company has never suggested it would close the plant, which employs about 4,700 people — none of whom were slated to lose their jobs as a result of the transfer.
(Ford CEO warns of “huge impact” to economy from Trump trade plans. Click Here for details.)
In fact, Ford officials made a commitment in its 2015 contract with the United Auto Workers union to invest $700 million in the Louisville plant during the next four years. Ford spokeswoman Christin Baker did not say why the automaker changed its plans for the MKC, although she confirmed that Bill Ford spoke with President-elect Trump on Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Bill shared Ford’s continued commitment to invest in the U.S.,” Ford 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.”
Trump has repeatedly gotten Ford’s production plans wrong during his campaign, flogging the automaker and errantly claiming it was moving all of its auto production to Mexico.
(Trump, Ford Motor Co. tussle over Mexico. For more, Click Here.)
He repeatedly threated to slap a 35% tariff on any Ford products built and shipped from Mexico to the United States for sale. Ford responded to that and the other inaccuracies and Bill Ford even met with him to try and explain it to him.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker repeatedly said that the move of the Focus and C-Max small cars to Mexico would be offset by the introduction of new vehicles into that Michigan plant, including a new Ford Ranger midsize pickup as well as potentially the Bronco sport-ute, which hasn’t been confirmed.
Since 2011, Ford has invested $12 billion in U.S. plants and created 28,000 U.S. jobs. Trade and legal analysts said there is no clear mechanism that would allow a president to take such steps. And Trump’s critics questioned why the candidate focused on Ford and not the numerous other automakers moving to Mexico.
(Bill Ford congratulates Trump on election victory while in India. Click Here for the story.)
Ford previously said it would invest $1.6 billion in its Mexican operations. It is not clear if — barring some new roadblocks – that figure will now grow.