Ford moves Ford Focus production to China

Unfinished Ford plant in MexicoImage copyright
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Ford abandoned plans for a new factory in Mexico

US carmaker Ford, which abandoned a plan to produce the new make of Ford Focus cars at a new factory in Mexico under pressure from Donald Trump, will make them in China instead.

The move will save Ford $500m more than anticipated when it scrapped plans for the new Mexico plant.

Ford said the move would not lead to job losses in the US.

The Michigan plant currently producing Ford Focus cars will switch to making trucks in 2018, it said.

Currently, Ford makes its smaller Focus cars in Michigan, Germany and in China.

The company had planned to move US production to Mexico and was building a new, $1.6bn factory near San Luis Potosi.

Trump criticism

But the company scrapped plans for that plant earlier this year, saying it would build the new Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico instead.

The decision came after US President Donald Trump criticised Ford and rival General Motors for making cars in Mexico.

The company updated the White House about its new plans today, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker. She said the firm had been considering the move for some time, with a final decision coming under Mr Hackett.

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Savings from the move will allow Ford to invest in other parts of the business such as SUVs and electric cars.

Production of new Ford Focus cars in China is expected to start in 2019 at one of the firm’s existing factories, the company said on Tuesday. Further information, such as how many added cars might be produced, was not available.

Ms Felker said the firm does not anticipate layoffs in Hermosillo.

Ford on Tuesday also said it would invest $900m to retool an SUV plant in Kentucky.

The investments are some of the first announced under new leadership at Ford.

The company named Jim Hackett as the new chief executive in May after pressure from shareholders.

Demand for smaller cars, such as the Ford Focus, is stronger outside of the US.

Joe Hinrichs, an executive vice president at Ford, said the savings from the move to China would allow the firm to invest in parts of the business that are growing, such as SUVs, electric cars and others.

“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company,” he said.

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