Speaking to the Detroit Free Press on September 30, Local UAW 900 plant chairman Bill Johnson confirmed reports that Ford will build the Ranger and Bronco lines at plants in Michigan. This comes after Ford Motor Co announced plans to move all production of small automobiles to plants in Mexico. The company has been sharply criticized by Donald Trump, who has promised import penalties for automobiles built by American manufacturers in foreign countries.
UAW chairman Johnson said on September 30, “We hate to see the products go to Mexico, but with the Ranger and the Bronco coming to Michigan Assembly that absolutely secures the future for our people a lot more than the Focus does.” Ford announced in August 2015 that it would move all Focus and C-Max production from its plant in Wayne Mich. to a brand-new plant in Mexico by 2018. Even so, Ford never said it would close plant in Michigan or lay off its 4500 workers.
By November 2015, rumors were circulating that the Bronco and Ranger lines were a go. However, Ford has yet to confirm whether the truck lines are indeed coming to Michigan, despite the announcement from the UAW.
Ford Motor Co has been insistent in countering Trump's claims that the company will jettison works. CEO Mark Fields said recently that “not one job will be lost” when the plant shifts from cars to trucks. Trump stated earlier this year that Ford would “fire all its employees in the United States.” No announcements of lay-offs have emerged from Ford for Michigan.
Last week, Bill Ford Jr. (great-grandson of Henry Ford) said that the eponymous brand is “as American as you can get” and that Trump should celebrate it for its U.S. commitments instead of criticizing it for building small cars in Mexico. Bill Ford said that Trump knows that the automaker is not cutting US jobs.The executive chairman of the family firm said last week at the World Mobility Leadership Forum that he knows Trump but does not understand why the New Yorker singled out Ford Motor Co. “We are everything that he should be celebrating about this country,” Ford told reporters. “We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, we paid back our borrowings, we are healthy again, we’ve been adding jobs in the U.S. and we are the largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in the U.S.” Ford was the only one of the three major automobile manufacturers that did not accept federal bailout money in 2009.
Campaign rhetoric about job creation and job losses strikes home among workers and voters in Michigan, where the automobile industry had its beginning and where many still fear may see its demise. Socialist Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party's primary in Michigan, as did Trump for Republicans, with messages of economic renewal and denunciations of foreign trade pacts and Wall Street dealings.