Ford has officially announced a new small-car manufacturing plant in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, with construction slated to begin this summer at a total cost of $1.6 billion.
Models to be manufactured at Ford’s newest manufacturing plant aren’t being announced yet, but previous intelligence tells us that the list may include a new battery electric car to be called the “Model E.” It may also take over North American production of the Ford Focus and C-MAX, which are being shifted away from the Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018.
Production at the new San Luis Potosi plant isn’t scheduled to start for another two years. When operational, the new Ford facility will directly create an additional 2,800 jobs by 2020. Automotive News reports that the announcement has already drawn criticism from UAW President Dennis Williams.
“For every investment in Mexico, it means jobs that could have and should have been available right here in the USA,” said Mr. Williams in a statement. “Companies continue to run to low-wage countries and import back into the United States. This is a broken system that needs to be fixed.”
However, as AN notes, small cars face decreasing demand in the United States as the market shifts more toward SUVs and crossovers. The small car segment is also among the least profitable, and moving their production to a relatively low-cost country like Mexico has proven a common move among automakers.
This year marks Ford’s 91st in Mexico, and the San Luis Potosi plant will be the automaker’s first all-new North American production facility since Ford’s Hermosillo Stamping & Assembly opened in Hermosillo, Mexico in 1986.