Ford To Build Next North American Focus In China Instead Of Mexico

Ford announced its future manufacturing plans for both the next generation Focus as well as the new Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models.

The company announced that production of the next Focus will begin in the second half of 2019, with most North American models initially sourced from China and additional variants coming from Europe on a later date.

At the same time, Ford says that no U.S. hourly employee will go out of job because of their new manufacturing plan for the Focus, as production of the current model at Michigan will continue through mid-2018 which is when the factory will be converted to produce not only the Ranger pickup truck from late 2018 but the upcoming Bronco SUV as well in 2020.

Ford claims that thanks to their revised North American Focus plans, they were able to save $1 billion in investment costs compared to their original plan, with half of the savings coming from the cancellation of an all-new factory in Mexico.

“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company – especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Operations.

In addition, the company announced the investment of $900 million in their Kentucky truck plant in order to upgrade the facility for the production of the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Both of them are set to hit the market this fall.

Ford plans to export both the Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator to more than 55 markets globally, including the latter to China. “Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world – and we’re finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator,” Hinrichs said.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops

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  • Blade t

    Sad these car companies can’t build in the USA ….

    • Status

      Because the standards of living in the USA are too high to make small cars profitably there. The only options are for the workers to take a reduction in pay, or to build a small car that can command premium prices. Otherwise, building a reliable small car for the masses in the home of the brave is an impossibility.

      • Blade t

        Yes ,we all know the reasons why. It’s just too bad we lose out on those jobs here….

        • Galaxium

          Not really losing out. A lot of the SUVs are produced in the US and it works out great since most Americans prefer SUVs. Apparently people in China prefer compact sedans.

      • brn

        Status, safety concerns in the US are a big part of it as well. If China had the same safety requirements, they wouldn’t be as financially attractive.

        • MarketAndChurch

          We have no reason to believe that these cars will be engineered in China, and they’ll probably be sold in many markets around the world, including Europe.

        • Status

          If they’re designed and engineered in Dearborn Michigan, why should the assembly instructions be different if the car is assembled in Mexico, China, Russia, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, or anywhere else on Earth? If Ford ran it’s own crash tests before moving to production, why would the car suddenly become less safe if it were assembled in China with made-to-spec parts that were also made in China? If there is no fundamental physical differences between a Focus made in the US and a Focus made in China, why should safety become a sticking point all of a sudden?

          If China did have the same safety standards as the US, of which I’m sure the Focus will easily pass, it won’t make China any less attractive to build a factory. An American auto factory worker, UAW or not, cannot work for less than minimum wage. A Chinese auto factory worker can, and will do so, irrespective of the national automotive safety standards.

          China can set more stringent crash tests and they likely will in the future, but all that does is set standards that automakers are obliged to meet. It says nothing of the minimum worker wages in China, and will not impact them, even if every major automaker can meet them.

          • Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste

            The Focus is not designed and engineered in Dearborn, Michigan. It is designed and engineered by Ford of Europe, which has mastered the design and manufacture of smaller vehicles, unlike Ford’s North American division. The money goes to Dearborn, but by way of many places. The Focus is a truly global vehicle, perhaps more so than many other vehicles by US manufacturers, which also happen to integrate global content.

      • EyalN

        Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are small cars?
        shareholders want to more money. they can make the fiesta in the US if they want but then the shareholders will get few millions less. in Europe they make the KA and don’t import it from china because the governments force them to make them locally, i’m sure british employees are not cheap. this is what trump needs to do if he doesn’t want a country that everyone is unemployed. how many ford and GM employees got fired in Obama’s time?

        • Status

          Nobody ever mentioned the Navigator or the Expedition until you did. They weren’t the focus of this article, so why do you bring it up?

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    “Ford says that no U.S. hourly employee will go out of job because of their new manufacturing plan”

    That’s great! but why not build a new plant here for the new models or the Focus and put even MORE Americans to work?!

    • guest

      Greed?

    • jspecrsx

      “Ford claims that thanks to their revised North American Focus plans, they were able to save $1 billion in investment costs compared to their original plan, with half of the savings coming from the cancellation of an all-new factory in Mexico. ”
      It’s all about profits

      • MarketAndChurch

        I think you mean “staying in business,” instead of profits.

  • Mark S

    Decisions like this and their styling direction will put them in dire straights.

  • Christian
  • MarketAndChurch

    It’s just too darn unpredictable to build small cars in today’s business climate, where every four-to-eight years, manufacturers will have to readjust to either Republicans who will lower business regulations, or Democrats who will raise them. Especially when your product life-cycles extend two, possibly even three president terms.

  • SORRY AN AMERICAN CAR COMPANY BUILDING CARS IN A COMMUNIST COUNTRY TO RESELL HERE IS INEXCUSABLE.

    • Hello Moto ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      America first, and only America first! Get those commies in Ford’s board room outta here!

    • Galaxium

      I think so as well. With regards to principles, I think it was a big mistake to let communism thrive in China. It killed tens of millions of Chinese.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Good thing it’s not Mexico filled with American content, eh, Donald?

  • TheBelltower

    No domestic automaker will add union labor to their workforce if there is absolutely any other alternative. Thanks to terrible union contracts penned in the 60s and 70s, when there was nearly zero competition, most average-priced american made cars today have razor thin profit margins. Trump whines that the Mexicans “stole” US manufacturing jobs. The reality is, if it weren’t for both NAFTA and the automotive restructuring a few years back, Ford, GM and Chrysler would likely be gone or absorbed by other companies. Trump will probably be gone soon anyway. Ford should have just kept manufacturing in Mexico.

  • Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste

    Ford will save a great amount of capital, but, what about all of the pollution produced as result of the shipment of thousands of vehicles from China? By the time of each of these vehicles hits the streets of the US, it will have originated tons of pollution. Shipment from Mexico would have addressed this aspect in a better manner. It’s high time for automakers to add climate change into the cost of production of new models, which happens to be a key argument for the achievement of goals in reduction of emissions during the manufacturing and distribution process. It is also a key argument behind the opening of new and more efficient assembly plants throughout North America. Eventually, customers will begin to factor in aspects of this nature to any purchases they make. The rising cost of living in China will also eventually render pointless any gains from initial savings in the cost of production. What the decision will definitely accelerate is the rise of China as a formidable opponent in the automotive world, with a strong penchant for exports, just like Japan and Korea. While this is only a matter of time, Western automakers need to implement better strategies to compete with a behemoth of the size of the Chinese automotive sector. Regardless of globalization, Ford may come to regret its shortsightedness. Today, it’s the Focus. Some day in the future, it may be bigger vehicles. Only the consideration of other economic priorities will reconfigure this economic equation. Let the Chinese build plants in North America—they are already doing so in Mexico—if they wish to conquer the US market.

  • Infinite1

    Wouldn’t building the Focus in China and bringing it here to the U.S. make the Focus an import? In all seriousness, Ford is going to do what most corporate companies that manufacture goods do, and that’s make them in a country that can manufacture it for a fraction of the price if it was made here.

  • Benjamin B.

    So sad how Ford is trolling with Mexico. All because of Trump. Ford execs need to man up and stand up to Trump. Ford execs owe Mexico and Mexicans an apology.

  • Benjamin B.

    Ford says some models will come from Europe. I know the RS is built in Germany. Maybe the next ST will come from Europe also. Or Ford may do what Honda does. Ford could build the sedan/Escort in China while the 5-door hatchback and wagon/estate are built in Europe.

    What’s sad is how Ford is trolling with Mexico. I would prefer the Focus and Fiesta built in Mexico to be honest. But Ford is abandoning Mexico because of Trump. I’m so pissed off now. I tried to give him a chance.
    🙁

    I wonder if Ford will even offer the new Fiesta in North America.

  • Benjamin B.

    Ford builds the Super Duty lineup at the Kentucky Plant. That includes the F-250 through the F-550. Pickup trucks (with beds) to chassis cabs. Ford also has built the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator there in addition to in Michigan and Mexico (and/or elsewhere) I believe. So Ford hopes to expand production in Kentucky. Good for Kentucky

  • Dan

    well at least they already have a Wall….