Remember how President Trump was upset about Ford importing Focuses from Mexico? According to a report from Reuters, the Blue Oval is switching production not to the United States, but China instead. This should make things interesting.
Supposedly, this decision was made by Ford for three reasons. First off, the automaker is predicting low oil prices for the long term. Hopefully that happens, because that’s great for everyone. Secondly, Ford thinks US-China trade relations will remain stable, despite threats from the White House. Finally, switching to Mexico will save $500 million in tooling costs, which is no small chunk of change.
This transition is happening in the middle of 2019. That means the Focus will join a growing number of Chinese-made vehicles for sale in the United States. Probably not a lot of Focuses will be imported, because sales are down 22 percent this year alone.
Before you think the vehicles will only be flowing from China to here, Ford is anticipating shipping about 80,000 cars to China in 2017. One of the US-made vehicles going to Asia is the Lincoln Navigator, which generates huge profit margins, versus the razor-thin margins for the Focus.
If you think this decision seems odd, blame it on Ford’s new CEO, Jim Hackett. He was the one who made it, but Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations, claims it’s based on discussions the company started with China months ago.