Trump Effect: Ford Scraps Plans for Mexico Plant

Auto manufacturer to invest $700 million in Michigan instead, anticipating better business climate with new president

In a surprising move, the Ford Motor Co. has decided to completely scrap plans for a $1.6 billion automobile plant in Mexico.

The Trump effect strikes again.

“We believe these tax and regulatory reforms are necessary to boost U.S. competitiveness.”

The company will instead invest $700 million in a Michigan assembly plant. Ford officials directly cited Donald Trump’s policies as the reason. Ford CEO Mark Fields said he believes Trump’s new pro-business policies, soon to be passed by the GOP Congress, will make building a Michigan plant more attractive.

Trump, who will be sworn in on Jan. 20, has used his campaign as a “bully pulpit” to pound U.S. companies that move their jobs across the border, or overseas, to build items they later import into the United States for sale.

Shortly after Trump was elected president on Nov. 8, Ford announced it would keep making Lincoln utility vehicles at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky.

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And after being elected, Trump did not tone down his condemnations of U.S. companies that fail to make their products in the United States. On Tuesday, he repeated an oft-made claim that he will impose tariffs on U.S. companies.

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But this time, he targeted GM.

“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers — tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Shortly after the tweet, as if on cue, Ford said it would cancel the Mexico plant, the one plant that had caught Trump’s earlier ire. Fields praised GOP policies coming soon.

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“We believe these tax and regulatory reforms are necessary to boost U.S. competitiveness,” said Fields.

Trump is relishing his role as the nation’s chief economic development officer — and behaving very much like a governor who lists each job creation in his or her state.

He was able to score a major victory in early December when Carrier Corp. agreed to stay in Indiana and keep 700 jobs in the Indianapolis region. The company, which makes air conditioners and furnaces, had planned to move to Mexico.

Its move to Mexico was announced in early 2016, and went viral as an issue because video leaked of Hoosier employees wailing at the news. Then, just before New Year’s Eve, Sprint announced it would be bringing back to the United States about 5,000 jobs. Trump made the announcement from his Florida home at Mar-A-Lago.

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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