For the US market, the fourth-generation Ford Focus compact car will be sourced primarily from China – not Mexico – when it launches in 2019.
As we’ve known for some time, the current-generation North American Ford Focus will cease production at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in the middle of 2018 to make room for the Ford Ranger pickup and a brand-new Bronco SUV. Originally, Ford had planned on producing its next-generation replacement at a new factory in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, but construction on the facility was canceled in January. After that announcement, it was believed that the US-market Ford Focus would be built at an existing factory in Hermosillo, Mexico.
But Ford today announced that the majority of Ford Focus units bound for the US market would come from China initially, with “additional variants” shipping from Europe after its launch. We take “additional variants” to mean performance models like the ST and RS. Of course, Ford has not ruled out the possibility that some mix could come from its Hermosillo factory, but it’s a significant change of plans, regardless.
The reasons for the shift are that 1) Ford will save more capital with this new investment strategy, and 2) it will help the automaker increase its manufacturing scale in China, which is crucial to thriving in that important market. Regarding that first point, Ford says it will save a total of $1 billion as a result of the new Ford Focus production strategy: $500 million from sourcing a majority of US cars from China, and $500 million from scrapping the San Luis Potosi plant and locating some production in Hermosillo.
“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan,” says Ford President of Global Operations Joe Hinrichs, “allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company – especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles.”