With Donald Trump flooding the national dialogue as much as he has been, you would be forgiven for having missed how the business-tycoon-turned-Presidental-candidate directly and explicitly called out Ford Motor Company for its announced $2.5 billion investment into production in Mexico.
A public feud between The Donald and Ford CEO Mark Fields ensued.
Mr. Trump has stated numerous times now that if elected President, he would slap Ford Motor Company with a 35% tax on all cars and parts manufactured in Mexico and shipped into the United States – despite that being a pretty clear violation of NAFTA. More recently, reports Fortune Magazine, Trump said this:
“I mean, the way our country is run, if it doesn’t happen to be me that wins, you know what’s going to happen? They’re going to build a plant and illegals are going to drive those cars right over the border… And they’ll probably end up stealing the cars.”
This statement prompted yet another response from CEO Mark Fields, who told Fortune: “It’s really unfortunate when facts get muddled in the fog of politics. I actually sent him a note after he mentioned that… I laid out the facts: ‘We, as a company, have invested more than $10 billion in our facilities since 2011. We have created more than 25,000 jobs since 2011. We have committed to investing another $6 billion, at least, in the next four years into our facilities and committed to actually adding over another 8,000 jobs. We are very proud of what we do at Ford Motor Co. to support economic development in the United States of America, just like in all the markets that we do business in.’
“The implicit message is: Let’s look at the facts. He sent me a nice note back saying, ‘Thanks Mark. I’m a big customer.’”
Regardless of the amount (or lack) of tact displayed in Mr. Trump’s public statements on the matter, opposition to Ford’s expansion in Mexico has proven to be a popular stance. When news broke last year of the $2.5 billion investment beyond US borders, scores of Detroit Free Press readers wrote the paper to express their discontent with the news.