Dennis Williams, President of the United Auto Workers union, blasted Ford Motor Company’s latest electric vehicle plans, which will see a small, battery-electric vehicle (BEV) produced at the automaker’s Cuautitlán Assembly plant in Mexico rather than Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly plant as previously planned. Ford’s Cuautitlán plant currently produces the slow-selling Fiesta subcompact, which we don’t expect to survive in the North American market after this generation. It isn’t expected to gain any jobs when it starts to produce BEVs in 2020.
“I’m angry at Ford,” Williams told the Detroit Free Press during a recent interview. “It has an opportunity to do something for the state of Michigan and the United States of America. People in Mexico are not going to buy electric vehicles. And we desperately need high-paying jobs and technology here. I mean, 7% of vehicle cost is labor. How much do they need to make in profits?”
Under the new plan, Ford will still go ahead and build its first self-driving cars at Flat Rock – a move that will mean $900 million in investments and the creation of 850 jobs at the plant. But Williams said he doesn’t understand why the US can’t produce both autonomous and battery-electric vehicles for Ford.
Ford’s first foray into production autonomous vehicles will be a gasoline-electric hybrid capable of operating for 20 hours a day. It will only be available for purchase by rideshare and ride-hailing fleet operators.