Ford Motor Company has had “constant communication” with president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team since the election, according to The Detroit News. Ford CEO Mark Fields sent Mr. Trump a letter congratulating him on his election last week, and the automaker has continued to contact his team since.
Relations between Ford and the new US president-elect have been edgy since Mr. Trump decided to make an example of the automaker’s investments in Mexican manufacturing. Ford is, of course, far from the only American automaker to invest in Mexico – the Center for Automotive Research says that automakers have announced $24 billion in Mexican investments since 2010 – but Trump was particularly harsh in his words toward Ford. From the campaign trail, he stated numerous times that if elected, he would impose a tariff somewhere between 10 and 35 percent on vehicles and parts imported to the US from Mexico, and later promised to renegotiate or exit the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But Ford has not altered its plans to build a new, $1.6-billion manufacturing plant in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, reports The Detroit News. The plant will take over production of Ford’s Focus and C-MAX from the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne in 2018, while “two very exciting [new] products” are brought in to take their place. Those products are the Ranger mid-sized pickup and the Bronco SUV.
Tuesday, Ford’s CEO said that Trump’s plans to slap punitive tariffs on Mexican-made products “could have a huge impact on the US economy.” However, he is “convinced that the right policies will prevail, because I think we all share the same objective, which is a healthy and vibrant US economy.”
Fields also remarked that Ford has “a proven track record of working with policymakers going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt, when we were first formed. So we expect to work very efficiently and positively with the president-elect administration as well as the new Congress.”