Ford to switch Focus production to China, keep larger models in U.S.
Company will focus North American production on larger models like SUVs
Ford Motor Company will move production of its small Focus sedan to China starting in 2019, and then ship the vehicles back for North American customers for the first time ever.
Ford already makes some Focus cars in China, but starting in 2019, Ford Focus cars sold in North America will be made there, too. It will mark the first time the automaker will make cars in China and export them back to the United States.
After the switch is completed, China will produce most of the company's Focuses, with some coming from Europe as well.
The move will save the car company $1 billion US, including $500 million from cancelling a new plant in Mexico that was intended to build the Focus.
- Ford cancels Mexican plant, and Trump takes credit
- Scuppered plant has Mexico fearing more may come under Trump
Currently, Ford makes Focus cars sold in North America in Michigan, and the company says no U.S. workers will be out of a job as a result of the change. The company says it will still export more cars from the U.S. to China than the inverse, after the move.
"Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company — especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations.
As such, the company says it will spend $900 million to expand one of its plants in Kentucky to build two large SUV models, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
That plant currently employs about 7,600 workers and is a main hub for the company's large-vehicle production. The new money is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs.