Ford Motor Co.is canceling controversial plans to build the Focus small vehicle in Mexico, saving $1 billion by ending North American production entirely and importing the model mostly from China after next year.
The Michigan plant will start producing the Ranger pickup truck in late 2018 and Bronco SUV in 2020.
Discussion about the small-car production shift from Mexico to China began "a couple months ago" under Mr Fields, said Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations. Ford will trim about $500 million in costs by shifting production to China, adding to the $500 million already saved from canceling construction of a small-car factory in Mexico earlier this year. Focus sales declined 20 percent in the United States through May due to lower gasoline prices and the popularity of SUVs.
The decision also signals a shift in strategy at Ford, which is responding to dwindling U.S. consumer demand for small cars in favour of more expensive and more profitable trucks and SUVs.
He also stressed that Ford will export more vehicles to China than it imports.
Currently, Ford makes its smaller Focus cars in Michigan, Germany and in China.
DETROIT (AP) - Ford Motor Co. will export vehicles from China to the USA for the first time starting in 2019.
The move, which Ford estimates will save it $500 million in production costs for the vehicle, comes as the company has become a target of President Trump, who is pressuring manufacturers to keep jobs in the United States.
The Dearborn-based automaker also announced on its website to invest 900 million US dollars in a Kentucky truck plant to produce all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
Hinrichs told the Associated Press that none of these decisions were affected by the recent departure of former CEO Mark Fields.
Production begins in the second half of 2019, with models coming from the company's existing Focus plants globally.
The move runs counter to the USA auto industry's recent efforts to highlight American production amid intense criticism from President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Tesla is close to an agreement to produce its electric cars in China for the first time, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Ford says the move will save it $1 billion in investment costs and will make it "a more operationally fit company".
Hinrichs said Ford planned to inform the White House this morning.
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