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Ford Focus Production Shifting To China

Ford Focus Production Shifting To China

Ford Motor Company confirmed plans to produce its next Ford Focus compact car in China for the North American market. The news marks a shift in strategy as the new compact was originally planned for production in Mexico.

The company states it will produce the Focus at both  facilities that make up its Changan Ford Assembly Plant in China beginning in the second half of 2019. Some Focus models for North America make source from a European plant, both the majority will come from Changan.

Ford currently produces the Focus at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. That plant is slated to retool to produce the upcoming Bronco and Ranger in the coming years. Ford originally planned to produce the next Focus at a new $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, but the company canceled those plans about a year after the announcement. At the time of the cancelation of the new plant, Ford was saying it would move Focus production to its other Mexico plant in Hermosillo.

During the announcement cancelling the plant in San Luis Potosi Ford also announced an investment in its Flat Rock Assembly plant in Michigan. The timing of the announcements led U.S. President Donald Trump to praise the company for “bringing back” jobs to the U.S. by canceling the new Mexico plant.

Clearly Ford purposely waited a few months after the cancelation announcement to announce that it was canceled because Focus production is moving to China, not Mexico. So far the Trump Administration nor UAW have commented on the announcement.

Ford says moving Focus production to China will save the company up to $1 billion. It originally said moving it to Mexico would save $500 million and now says it will save another $500 million moving it to China because it will have to retool one less plant.

“We’ve done a lot of research and consumers care a lot more about the quality and the value than they do about the sourcing location,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said in a conference call as reported by Automotive News. “iPhones are produced in China, for example, and people don’t really talk about it.”

Likely supporting Ford’s decision has been other automaker experience in importing vehicles from China to the U.S. market. General Motors and Volvo both have been importing products from their Chinese assembly plants with little pushback from paying consumers.



About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. Tone
    You mean only?

    Yikes -- that's true!
    Perhaps the smallest sedan becomes the Fusion?

    You mean only?
    I do wonder if most manufacturers GR strategy will be to build smaller, less profitable cars elsewhere and lobby the government to either not slap tarrifs on them (pointing out the jobs created in the US with higher margin products) or make the case that CAFE regs need to be radically softened as manufacturers can't make money on a domestically made small car. In that case, Ford shifts its small car strategy to a small CUV strategy (EcoSport) where higher pricing is more acceptable. Perhaps the smallest sedan becomes the Fusion?
    A few thoughts on this:

    1. Either Ford had this plan from the get-go and basically played POTUS over the San Luis Potosi plant and Flat Rock announcement.


    2. This was a late decision that was pushed over the edge by the current Administration's war on NAFTA.
    It makes sense now that Ford opened another Focus plant last month.

    The Mexican plant can be saved for a combination of the Fiesta and hopefully a crossover.
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