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Ford Slashes Production Levels Again

Maker looking to reconcile supply and demand.

by on Oct.18, 2016

Ford plans to shut down the F-150 line at the Kansas City assembly plant as part of a plan to shrink inventory levels.

Ford Motor Co. is moving to trim production of its pickups and sport-utility vehicles as flagging sales in recent months have the maker scrambling to match demand and supply. The company’s sales were off 7.7% in September.

The automaker said it will temporarily close four assembly plants, including two in the U.S. and two in Mexico, as part of what it describes as an effort to meet year-end inventory targets.

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The four plants slated to shut down include the Kansas City assembly plant that builds the F-150 and an assembly line in Louisville, Kentucky, where Ford builds the Escape. (more…)

Ford Trounces Trump for Putting Politics Ahead of the Facts

Small car move to Mexico won’t eliminate U.S. jobs, counters Ford CEO.

by on Sep.16, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his recent comments about the automaker.

The war of words between Ford Motor Co. and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is heating up, the New York businessman calling it a “disgrace” for Ford to move production of its small cars to Mexico, while the automaker’s CEO is countering that “it’s really unfortunate” that Trump put politics ahead of the facts.

The Republican nominee has been taking shots at Ford for months, ever since it was first revealed that at least some of Ford’s small car production would be moved from a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, to a new operation south of the border. Ford has repeatedly noted that the move was simply going to make room for expanded truck production at a time when SUV, crossover and pickup sales have surged to 60% of the American market at the expense of conventional passenger cars, especially smaller ones.

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Trump’s critics have also questioned his decision to focus on Ford while virtually all major automakers, from Japan’s Nissan to Detroit’s General Motors, as well as European marques Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, are also expanding their operations in Mexico. They also note that while Trump has promised to penalize Ford if elected president in November, he has made no comments about returning to the U.S. production of his clothing lines now imported from places like Mexico and various parts of Asia. (more…)

Trump, Ford Motor Co. Tussle Over Move to Mexico

Ford denies claims, saying company is "never going to leave."

by on Sep.15, 2016

Republican nominee Donald Trump suggested Ford Motor Co. would eliminate all of its U.S. manufacturing jobs today.

Ford Motor Co.’s ongoing war of words with Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump continued today after the businessman-turned-politician suggested the automaker was looking to get rid of all of its U.S. manufacturing employees.

Trump who has repeatedly threated to slap a 35% tariff on any Ford products built and shipped from Mexico to the United States for sale, told a Detroit-area television station that the automaker was looking to get out of the U.S.

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“Basically when they make their car, and they think they’re going to get away with this, and they fire all of their employees in the United States; they move to Mexico,” Trump told Fox News Detroit. (more…)

Ford Moving All Small Car Production to Mexico

Move could expand trade debate during presidential race.

by on Sep.14, 2016

Ford's compact Focus is one of the small passenger car models moving to Mexico.

Ford Motor Co. will transfer all of its small car production from the U.S. to Mexico, a move that follows on earlier plans to shift production of several passenger car models currently produced at a suburban Detroit plant.

The move is likely to raise the ire of union workers, though investors appear to back the decision to trim production costs. The announcement also is likely to play into the ongoing presidential election, Ford already taking heat from GOP nominee Donald Trump for its earlier production decision.

Over the next three years, “We will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told automotive analysts during a conference hosted by the carmaker at its headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.


Ford Set to Double Mexican Production

New plant could handle planned “Prius-fighter.”

by on Feb.08, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields is trying to find ways to reduce production costs of small cars and upcoming battery-electric models.

Ford Motor Co. will more than double production in Mexico, according to several reports, by both adding a new plant and increasing production in the Latin American nation.

The maker reportedly expects to put the focus on hybrids and smaller cars that are hard to economically justify building in the U.S. market. That includes the Ford Focus and C-Max models currently being produced at a suburban Detroit plant. But could also include a planned “Prius-fighter” meant to take on the popular Toyota hybrid.

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Ford had earlier indicated plans to shift production of the Focus and C-Max but declined to comment on the latest reports about Mexico.


US Auto Imports Running at Record Level

New plants in Mexico expected to widen the gap.

by on Aug.05, 2015

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, (center right) during groundbreaking ceremonies for the maker's plant in Mexico. Honda recently began building the Fit there.

Despite the rapid expansion of “transplant” assembly lines operated by a wide range of foreign-owned manufacturers, U.S. auto imports hit an all-time record during the first half of 2015, with no sign of slowing down.

If anything, the rapid expansion of Mexico’s production base could spell even bigger automotive trade deficits in the years ahead, experts warn. Autos and automotive parts accounted for about a third of the overall U.S. trade deficit in June, meanwhile.

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Automotive imports rose by $10.8 billion, to $171.5 billion during the first half of 2015, according to a newly issued report from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same period, auto exports dipped by $3 billion, to just $74.8 billon. (more…)

Ford Moving Two Key Models from Michigan to Mexico?

Maker confirms move but insists it has not decided on final location.

by on Jul.09, 2015

The 2016 Ford Focus.

(This story has been updated reflecting comments by Ford.)

In a surprise announcement, Ford said it will move two key models from a suburban Detroit assembly plant to another factory when they’re redesigned in 2018. There has been widespread news reportage indicating the Ford Focus and C-Max models will be shifted to Mexico, but the maker has said a final production site has not yet been determined.

The news come shortly after Ford announced it would drop a third shift at the Michigan Assembly Plant due to weak sales of the products built there, including the Ford Focus and the C-Max.

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The announcement also precedes by barely two weeks the start-up of quadrennial contract talks between the second-largest Detroit automaker and the United Auto Workers Union. That has at least one well-placed labor source wondering whether the decision, more than three years ahead of the actual move, might be a bargaining ploy.


Ford Cuts Shift, 700 Jobs, at Key Michigan Plant

Cutbacks spread as American motorists shift from small cars to SUVs.

by on Apr.24, 2015

The Ford Focus has been losing momentum despite receiving some updates for 2015.

Weak passenger car sales have prompted Ford Motor Co. to eliminate a shift at a Michigan assembly line that builds compact and battery vehicles, including the Focus and Focus EV.

With gasoline prices dropping to their lowest level in years, demand for SUVs has been rising while prompting a sharp slide in sales of smaller and alternative-fuel vehicles, like this built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. The announcement, which will impact 700 Ford workers, comes on top of General Motors’ decision to temporarily idle production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid at a plant nearby.

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“Ford will be working to redeploy affected hourly employees (affected by the cuts) and they will be considered first for southeast Michigan opportunities as they become available,” the automaker said in a statement.


Ford, Toyota to Invest Combined $3.5 Bil in Mexico

Makers join growing list of makers expanding ops South of the Border.

by on Apr.15, 2015

Toyota confirms it will build the next-generation Corolla model at a new plant in Mexico.

Following announcements of major investments in both Mexico and India, Ford Motor Co. is set to make a $2.5 billion bet closer to home. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Co. has confirmed recent reports that it will invest $1 billion in a new Central Mexican plant to produce its compact Corolla model.

Toyota and Ford will join a growing list of manufacturers either entering or expanding operations in Mexico which is now one of the world’s largest producers of automobiles. That includes carmakers from Europe, Asia and Detroit, as well.

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While Ford is not officially confirming the announcement — stating it “cannot comment on future product or manufacturing plans” – Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz said the new Corolla plant is part of a “strategic re-thinking of how and where we build our products will create new opportunities for our company, our business partners and our team members across the region.”


Ford Planning Big Bump in US Production Under New Contract

Maker will shift work back to U.S. from Mexico, Europe.

by on Oct.04, 2011

Ford will build both plug-in and conventional hybrid versions of the new C-Max in the U.S. under the new UAW contract.

Ford Motor Co.’s new contract with the United Auto Workers Union also contained a revealing amount of information about the company’s future production plans — which now appear to include a large bump in U.S. operations.

Along with $6,000 signing bonuses, enhanced profit sharing and $7,000 in inflation protection, the tentative 4-year agreement will add at least 5,750 new UAW jobs, Ford officials announced, with the company acknowledging $6.2 billion in additional investments in products and plants – bringing to $16 billion the commitment it has now made.

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Among the most critical developments, the union appears to have saved the AutoAlliance plant in the Detroit suburb of Flat Rock, which had been operated as a Ford/Mazda joint venture.  The Japanese maker plans to pull out production of its Mazda6 and though it has suggested it might switch to a replacement, that isn’t considered likely.  So, with only the Mustang to build the plant had seemed doomed to closure.