Ford Motor Company World Headquarters
Research firm AutoForecast Solutions reported that Ford plans to build its new Model E Plug-In Hybrid and BEV by 2019, at a new factory in Mexico. The rumor is that it's slated to be the Toyota "Prius Fighter". Sam Forani, VP of the forecasting company, mentioned that the vehicle will be available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and all-electric. Forani said:
“Ford is anticipating some high volumes on it.”
Ford Assembly Plant Wixom, MI - Closed 2007
Ford plans to invest $1.6 billion on the new plant in Mexico, which will be focused on small cars. The building will start this summer and production should begin in two years.
Forani said the plant will build 300,000 to 350,000 or more units a year. About 50,000 of these will likely be the Model E. In 2015, Ford built over 250,000 vehicles in Michigan. The move out of the U.S. is surely upsetting to many. UAW President Dennis Williams said of the news:
"Very troubling . . . For every investment in Mexico, it means jobs that could have and should have been available right here in the USA. Companies continue to run to low-wage countries and import back into the United States. This is a broken system that needs to be fixed.”
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has threatened Ford with tariffs due to its investment in production in Mexico. He called Ford's plans:
"An absolute disgrace . . .These ridiculous, job-crushing transactions will not happen when I am president."
Ford countered that it will not affect U.S. jobs. Ford's president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs assured:
“We’re a proud American company. We set up our global manufacturing footprint and our facilities where we think it makes the most sense for our business.”
Hinrichs went on to explain that Ford has invested $16 billion in U.S. plants in five years. The company's most recent contract with the UAW calls for $9 billion by 2019. Ford employs more factory workers than any other automaker in the U.S. However, the company plans to stop C-max production in Michigan and replace it with Model E production in Mexico.
All of this comes along in a push by Ford and similar pushes from other established automakers to focus on smaller vehicles and new technologies. Unfortunately, smaller vehicles means less profits and new technologies are not widely accepted. With low gas prices and the typical "American ideal" people are still buying SUVs and pickup trucks in mass numbers and new technologies will take a long time to catch on, even with great marketing strategies and education.
Hopefully, regardless of where the vehicles are built, in this new world marketplace, car makers can establish and bestow the importance of EVs on the masses through whatever avenues are needed.