a Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, Ford CEO Mark Fields
talks during an interview next to the new Kuga SUV car,
during the Mobile World Congress Wireless show,in Barcelona,
Spain. Ford Motor Co. is going ahead with plans to move
small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico despite
President-elect Donald Trump's recent threats to impose
tariffs on companies that move work abroad. Fields said
Ford's plan to move production of the Ford Focus from
Michigan to Mexico will proceed, in part because U.S.
consumers demand low prices for small cars.
DETROIT — Ford
Motor Co. is going ahead with plans to move small-car production
from the U.S. to Mexico despite President-elect Donald Trump's
recent threats to impose tariffs on companies that move work
CEO Mark Fields
said Ford's plan to move production of the Ford Focus from
Michigan to Mexico will proceed, in part because U.S. consumers
demand low prices for small cars. The Focus starts at $16,775,
which is less than half the average price that U.S. consumers pay
for new vehicles.
has to start with the customer. The customer demands a certain
level of price and value in that segment, and it's important for
us as a company to have financial success with that product,"
Fields told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
stressed that no U.S. jobs will be lost, since the Michigan plant
that makes the Focus will be getting two new products.
"If you're a
worker in that plant, you now have even more job security because
we have two products coming in instead of one," he said.
In a series of
tweets last weekend, Trump reiterated a threaten to impose a
35-percent tariff on companies that build new plants abroad and
sell products back to the U.S.
"The U.S. is
going to substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses,
but any business that leaves our country for another country,
fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other
country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the
U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!" Trump
tweeted. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border
of 35 percent for these companies."
wasn't mentioned specifically, Trump did target the company a
number of times during the campaign on the issue of trade and U.S.
jobs. Trump also praised Ford last month when the company said it
won't go ahead with a plan to move production of its Lincoln MKC
SUV from Kentucky to Mexico.
tariffs can't be imposed on individual companies, only entire
sectors, so they would wind up hurting the whole auto industry.
Nissan Motor Co., General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler and Toyota
Motor Co. are among the other companies that export Mexican-made
vehicles to the U.S.
Asked if he was
worried about Trump's threats, Fields said, "Of course. We're
always looking at what are the risks and opportunities are out
But Fields also
said he's optimistic that Trump supports pro-growth policies like
tax reform and regulatory reform that could help the auto
believe that the right policies are going to prevail, because I
think we all share the same objective: We want a healthy and
vibrant U.S. economy and we're going to continue to do our part to
contribute to that," he said.
One area Ford and
Trump could see eye to eye on is fuel economy standards. The
company criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last
week for its recommendation to keep regulations in place that
would more than double automakers' fleet-wide fuel efficiency
standards by 2025. The EPA was scheduled to make a final decision
in 2018, but rushed its plans into place before Trump takes office
Fields said Ford
will make its vehicles as fuel-efficient as possible, and he noted
that the company needs to meet even stricter emissions targets in
China. But he said automakers want to make sure the standards
reflect market realities, like lower-than-expected U.S. gas prices
and rising SUV sales. Fields said Ford plans to take up the issue
with the Trump administration.
absolutely dedicated to improving the fuel economy of our
customers, but doing it in a way that preserves customer choice,
that preserves vehicle affordability and preserves American
jobs," Fields said.