Published: Sat, November 19, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump on Twitter: Ford won't move Lincoln assembly to Mexico

Trump went on to say he "worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky". As it turns out, Ford was going to expand the production of another vehicle, Ford Escape, to that plant - which means there were going to be no closures and no job losses.

Ford had planned to move production of the Lincoln MKC, a small SUV, to Mexico but had always meant to keep the plant in Louisville open to continue making another model, the Escape. The company had announced it would move production of a single line - the Lincoln MKC - out of Kentucky, and tonight the company confirmed it was headed to Mexico. "We had planned to move the MKC out of the Louisville Assembly Plant, per the contract we negotiated with the UAW in 2015", Baker said, adding that Cuautitlán, near Mexico City, "was likely the plant for MKC".

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

Ford plans to build two plants in Mexico by 2019, but has said no would be lost.

"Whatever happens in Louisville, it will not lose employment", Jimmy Settles, a union official, told The Detroit Free Press last November.

In October, Bill Ford said he had met with Trump to talk about his extensive attacks on Ford's investments in Mexico.

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

Trump had been highly critical of Ford on the campaign trail, calling the shift to Mexico "a disgrace." and threatening heavy tariffs on Fords made in Mexico.

Donald Trump has claimed he persuaded Ford to keep a Kentucky assembly plant open, despite the carmaker never having meant to close it. "I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!"

Trump is claiming credit for Ford's decision, but company spokeswoman Christin Baker says she doesn't know when the decision was made to keep the MKC in Louisville or if Trump had any impact on it.

Ford has been locked in a year-long feud with Trump over plans to move production south of the border.

Trump also has promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, has said he wants the withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and has talked about imposing a 35% tariff on cars made in Mexico as well as other products. He also said he would terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lets goods flow between Mexico, the US and Canada without tariffs.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Ford over the past 18 months for its plans to move the production of its Ford Focus and Ford C-Max hybrids to Mexico even though almost all other automakers also have built new plants in recent years or are expanding their presence. It also has a separate truck plant in Louisville, where it builds pickups and larger SUVs.

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