Ford Motor Co. is changing gears again in Mexico, shifting planned production of a small electric-powered sport utility vehicle to a plant south of the border instead of a Michigan factory.
It also risks raising the ire of President Donald Trump, who had been sharply critical of an earlier plan by Ford to build a small car factory in Mexico that the company ultimately canceled.
Ford’s chief executive officer, Jim Hackett, has been accelerating the automaker’s moves in electric and autonomous cars, while announcing $14 billion in cost cuts to improve the what he calls the company’s “fitness.” After replacing Mark Fields as CEO in May, one of Hackett’s first moves was to shift a plan to make the Focus small car in Mexico to one of the automaker’s plants in China.
Trump did not tweet his displeasure this summer with Hackett’s plan to build small cars in China to be exported to the U.S., nor has he blasted the automaker after news broke Wednesday of the electric SUV’s shift to Mexico.
“Next year will be an important time for us as we begin to test both our self-driving technology and business model in a variety of pilot programs in the first city in which we plan to operate an autonomous vehicle business,” Farley wrote.