Business

Trump claim for already saving Ford jobs in U.S. questionable

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Thursday Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told him the automaker would not move production at a Kentucky plant to Mexico.

Kentucky plant produces trucks and SUVs unrelated to company's Mexico small car initiative

Workers assemble a Ford truck at the new Louisville Ford truck plant in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston - RTSQ8UM (REUTERS)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Thursday Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told him the automaker would not move production at a Kentucky plant to Mexico.

"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!" Trump posted on Twitter. "He will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico."

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told him the automaker would not move a Kentucky plant to Mexico, but the firm said it informed him the decision was to keep one vehicle in U.S. production.

On Thursday, Trump posted on Twitter: "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 will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico," the president-elect tweeted.

But Ford has repeatedly said it has no plans to close any U.S. plants and likely could not do so under the terms of the current United Auto Workers contract that expires in 2019.

This is not the first time Trump's comments about Ford production have been called into question. Last year, he took credit for Ford moving work from Mexico to Ohio, while the automaker had already made the decision in 2011 – long before Trump announced a run for president.

Ford sent out an official statement late Thursday night clarifying Trump's statement, saying that the tweets were in reference to continuing production of a specific Lincoln vehicle in Kentucky, not an entire assembly plant.

"We continue to engage with President-elect Trump's team – and the new Congress – as they shape the policy agenda for 2017. We have shared our commitment to continue investing in the U.S. and creating American jobs – building on the $12 billion we have invested in our U.S. plants and the nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs Ford has created in the past five years," the statement said.

Spokeswoman Christin Baker said Ford "confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly plant will stay in Kentucky."

"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," a Ford statement said.

Small-car investment in Mexico

The company builds both the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC SUV at its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, which Trump refers to as the "Lincoln plant" and where Ford employs about 4,700 people. It also has a separate truck plant in Louisville, where it builds pickups and larger SUVs.

It is not clear how many jobs would have been impacted if the low-selling MKC had moved to Mexico.

Ford has sold about 20,000 MKC SUVs this year in the United States, compared with 258,000 Escape SUVs.

Ford said last month it would suspend production of the Escape and MKC at its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky for two weeks because of low demand.

In 2015, it told workers at the plant that it planned to phase out MKC production by 2019 and move it elsewhere.

The U.S. No. 2 automaker is planning to move some small-car production south of the border.

With files from The Associated Press

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