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Ford shifting all U.S. small-car production to Mexico

Ford plans to eventually shift all North American small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico, CEO Mark Fields told investors Tuesday, even though the company’s production investments in Mexico have become a lightning rod for controversy in the presidential election.

“Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Fields said at a daylong investor conference in Dearborn.

The news sparked a fresh round of criticism of Ford from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was campaigning in Flint on Wednesday.

“We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people, not from this country, and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said during his visit. “When we send our jobs out of Michigan, we’re also sending our tax base.”

The impact on Ford’s U.S. employment will be minimal in the near-term. Ford already builds the Fiesta subcompact and the Fusion mid-size sedan in Mexico. There is an expectation that Ford will build a new Ranger mid-size pickup truck in Wayne and possibly a new Bronco compact sport-utility.

The automaker also still will make the Ford Mustang at its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan and will begin making the full-size Lincoln Continental there later this year. It also makes the full-size Ford Taurus in Chicago.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to move small car production out of the U.S. Mexico has become an auto production Mecca for new industry investment, surpassing Canada in annual automotive production.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said earlier this year it will end production of all cars in the U.S. by the end of this year as it discontinues production of the Dodge Dart in Belvidere, Ill., and the Chrysler 200 in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Read more at Detroit Free Press

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