Ford announced Tuesday that it is investing $1.6 billion to build a new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The plant will begin manufacturing small cars by 2018. Ford is the latest automaker to expand its presence in the country, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The company said the construction of the new plant will begin this summer and is expected to create more than 2,800 jobs by 2020 in Mexico. The construction of the plant delivers a blow to the United Auto Workers Union, which advocated for higher wages in its contract discussions with Ford last year.
“Today’s announcement…is a disappointment and very troubling,” UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement. “For every investment in Mexico it means jobs that could have and should have been available right here in the USA.”
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The announcement comes during a presidential election, in which GOP front runner Donald Trump has publicly pressured Ford to abandon its plans to expand in Mexico, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Despite its expansion in Mexico, Ford said it is dedicated to investing in the U.S. and adding jobs in America.
“We have to make decisions on a global scale because we compete globally,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s vice president and president of the America’s, told the Free Press. “But lets be clear: We are a proud American company and the majority of our investment happens here in the U.S.”
The CEO of Ford, which produces more cars in America than any other automaker, echoed Hinrichs’ statement and has repeatedly said the company remains committed to investing in the U.S. but will not alter its plans to also expand in Mexico.
Hinrichs added that in the last five years, Ford has hired 25,000 workers in the U.S. and that this investment will not result in a loss of jobs in America, the Detroit Free Press reported.