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.

During a day-long session with industry analysts, Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed on Wednesday that the maker would shift all of its small car production from the U.S. to other countries by 2018. Ford has, however, been investing heavily to increase American output of its strong-selling light truck models.

Total spending on U.S. plants alone has come to $12 billion since 2011, a period in which 28,000 American jobs have been created. Meanwhile, under the four-year contract Ford negotiated with the United Auto Workers Union last year, it agreed to add or retain 8,500 jobs.

(Trump, Ford tussle over move to Mexico. Click Here for the story.)

Donald Trump alleged Ford plans to "fire" all of its U.S. manufacturing employees.

That didn’t stop Trump from calling the announcement a “disgrace,” while suggesting that Ford is planning to “fire all of their employees in the United States.”

The comments appear to be targeting potential blue collar voters in swing states like Michigan and Ohio, places that political analysts believe will be critical to Trump’s chances of winning the November vote.

But Ford has joined a chorus of those accusing Trump of bending the facts for his own purposes. “It’s really unfortunate when politics get in the way of the facts. Ford’s investment in the U.S. and commitment to American jobs has never been stronger,” CEO Fields said during an interview with CNN.

While the Republican nominee has been making major changes to his proposed economic strategy, he has repeatedly said he would take steps to penalize Ford for its production plans.

(Ford moving all small car production to Mexico. For more, Click Here.)

“When that car comes back across the border into our country that now comes in free, we’re going to charge them a 35 percent tax,” he said during an appearance on Fox News this week. “And you know what’s going to happen? They’re never going to leave.”

One of the questions is how the next president, whomever is elected, would be able to levy such a penalty. It would, at the least, require action by Congress and could raise legal issues in light of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Also uncertain is whether Trump would try to single out Ford or any of the other automakers now or soon planning to import cars from Mexico. That country is now one of the world’s largest carmaking nations.

Whether such a move would focus solely on the auto industry or take in other Mexican-made products – such as Trump’s own clothing lines – is also uncertain.

For his part, Ford CEO Fields said there are no plans to rethink the company’s Mexican – or U.S. – production strategy based on the GOP candidate’s speeches.

(Click Here for more about the impact of a Trump or Clinton presidency.)

“There’s lots of hypotheticals,” Fields said. “We have to run our business on what we know today.”

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5 Responses to “Ford Trounces Trump for Putting Politics Ahead of the Facts”

  1. Bryan Morris says:

    And what happens when gas prices cyclically go up again and demand for trucks and SUVs goes down while demand for small cars goes up? Will Ford then shift car production back to the U.S. from Mexico? Yeah, right, like that’s going to happen. Old Henry Ford was a dick in ways too numerous to count, but he was visionary about increasing his employees’ pay so they could afford to buy his products. The board of directors would probably fire him on the spot if he did that today.

  2. preferred user says:

    Ford Motor has been making or assembling compacts in Mexico and SA for many decades and GM builds a fair amount of trucks and SUV (or more ) there and in SA ,Trump is maybe all wrong in this case and Hillary is even worse as a choice ………no honest winners here ☺

    FWIW Ford motor made risky ,prudent business decisions in the late 2000′s and did not require a large federal bailout and if we had sensible regulation and Tax policies maybe Ford Motor wouldn’t be forced offshore as a business
    case for compact low profit product production .

    Politicians are ignorant and or just vote pandering and definitely corrupt .

  3. preferred user says:

    ^^^ I had a decent 88 Mazda platform /engine Mercury Tracer Wagon -commuter like all that assembled in Mexico and GM builds a fair amount of trucks and SUV (or more ) there and in SA

  4. Marty says:

    Consistency would dictate that he call for all foreign automakers with U.S. plants pick up and go home.

  5. augiemark says:

    Look at GM & FCA (they have stopped reporting production stats after we (US tax payers) bailed them out through their bankruptcies. They both “import” vehicles from overseas regions such as China / Europe like the Buick Encore, Buick Cascada, Buick Envision, Jeep Renegade, and this list will grow going forward. At least Ford is still up-front with their monthly production statistics.

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