President-elect Donald Trump heralded the decision of Ford Motor Co. to locate a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in Michigan rather than Mexico. It will instead invest $700 million at its Flatrock plant in Michigan. During the presidential campaign, Ford was criticized by Trump for planning the major investment in Mexico, instead of the United States.

Ford announced today that it will assembled new electric, hybrid, and self-driving vehicles at the plant in Michigan. Trump threatened today to impose a "big border tax" on General Motors for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze cars in Mexico. Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said that the company’s decision to back away from a new plant in Mexico was related to a desire to "fully utilize capacity at existing facilities."

The decision also comes during the midst of disappointing sales of small and medium sized vehicles, e.g. Focus and Fusion. Fields lauded what he called the "pro growth" tax and regulatory policies advocated by the incoming president and the Republican-dominated Congress. Fields said the company will assemble battery electric SUV with a 300-mile driving range at the plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, by 2020.

In 2021, Ford plans to begin making a fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel or a brake pedal for use in ride services fleets. Neither one of the products publicly bears a name as yet. To the cheers of assembled labor union members and representatives, Ford will add 700 jobs at the Flat Rock plant. During the presidential campaign, Trump said several times that as president he would not allow Ford to open the new plant in Mexico. He threatened to impose hefty tariffs taxes on imported Ford vehicles. In April, Ford announced it would invest $1.6 billion to build a new small-vehicle plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The production of Ford Focus cars, which are currently assembled at the Flatrock plant, will be moved to an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. According to Yahoo News, a Ford spokesperson claimed that Trump team was told today before Ford’s announcement that the company was influenced by Trump's vows to lower taxes and simplify regulations. However, the spokesperson said that no negotiation had taken place between Trump and the company over the decision to cancel the plans for the plant in Mexico.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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