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Trump calls Ford Mexico plant 'absolute disgrace'

In a move that Donald Trump called an "absolute disgrace," Ford on Tuesday announced that it will be adding a new assembly plant in Mexico.

The Detroit automaker said it will invest $1.6 billion into the facility and create 2,800 jobs by 2020, with construction expected to begin this summer.

Ford's expansion in Mexico has been expected for months, causing Republican presidential nominee Trump to repeatedly hammer the automaker.

"This transaction is an absolute disgrace. Our dishonest politicians and the special interests that control them are laughing in the face of all American citizens," Trump said in a statement.

A file photo showing the assembly line at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico.
Susana Gonzalez | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A file photo showing the assembly line at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico.

"When I am president, we will strongly enforce trade rules against unfair foreign subsidies, and impose countervailing duties to prevent egregious instances of outsourcing."

Trump went on to call for renegotiating NAFTA "to create a fair deal for American workers."

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford of the Americas, told CNBC that the new plant does not mean Ford is moving jobs out of the U.S.

"We're proud to be an American company," he told CNBC. "We've invested $10.2 billion here in the U.S. over the last five years and that commitment won't change even as we expand around the world."

The Mexican plant, in San Luis Potosí state, will build small cars that will be exported for sale in the U.S. and other countries, though the automaker has not decided which vehicles will be built there.

The company already has two final assembly plants and one engine plant in Mexico. It has a total of 8,800 employees there, compared with 85,000 in the U.S.

In response to Tuesday's announcement, Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers, said, "Today's announcement that Ford is investing in Mexico is a disappointment and very troubling. For every investment in Mexico it means jobs that could have and should have been available right here in the USA."

The Ford announcement comes the same day as the primary in Wisconsin, a blue-collar state that has lost manufacturing jobs — including many in the auto industry.

Overall, 36 percent of Ford's production is in the United States and just 6 percent is in Mexico, according to IHS Automotive.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.

— CNBC's Krysia Lenzo contributed to this report.