Ford Motor Co. is going ahead with plans to move small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico despite President-elect Donald Trump's recent threats to impose tariffs on companies that move work abroad.
CEOMark Fields said Ford's plan to move production of the Ford Focus from Michigan to Mexico will proceed, in part because U.S. consumers demand low prices for small cars. The Focus starts at $16,775, which is less than half the average price that U.S. consumers pay for new vehicles.
"It always has to start with the customer. The customer demands a certain level of price and value in that segment, and it's important for us as a company to have financial success with that product," Fields told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
But Fields stressed that no U.S. jobs will be lost, since the Michigan plant that makes the Focus will be getting two new products.
"If you're a worker in that plant, you now have even more job security because we have two products coming in instead of one," he said.
In a series of tweets last weekend, Trump reiterated a threaten to impose a 35-percent tariff on companies that build new plants abroad and sell products back to the U.S.
"The U.S. is going to substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, but any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!" Trump tweeted. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 percent for these companies."
Although Ford wasn't mentioned specifically, Trump did target the company a number of times during the campaign on the issue of trade and U.S. jobs. Trump also praised Ford last month when the company said it won't go ahead with a plan to move production of its Lincoln MKC SUV from Kentucky to Mexico.