Ford Signals It Will Work With President-Elect Trump

Mark Fields LA Keynote

Ford is shaking hands with President-elect Donald Trump. Sort of. The automaker says it’s willing to work with Trump on keeping some jobs in the U.S. instead of moving them to other countries.

After getting a tongue-lashing from Trump during the election over moving some manufacturing to Mexico, Ford now says it will work the Trump if he puts the right policies in place. This, coming from CEO Mark Fields.

“We will be very clear in the things we’d like to see,” Fields said in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg. “We’ll continue to advocate for currency-manipulation rules to promote free and fair trade. One of our priorities is making sure fuel-economy standards reflect market realities, tax reform in general we would be very supportive of, and the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.”

Trump was elected the 45th President on November 8th. After the election was over, Trump phoned Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. Namely he wanted to discuss the carmaker’s plan to move Lincoln MKC production out of Kentucky and to Mexico. Well, whatever transpired in that phone call persuaded Ford to keep building the Lincoln in America.

Trump did influence the decision “because of what he’s talking about in terms of his economic policies, whether it’s tax reform or otherwise,” Fields said.

Meanwhile, Ford still plans to move its small car production to Mexico from Michigan. We’re talking about the Focus compact and C-Max hybrid. Candidate Trump went after Ford in a big way when he heard about this, too. He threatened to slap a 35 percent tariff on cars Ford builds in Mexico and ships back to the states.  In this case though, the small car production is being replaced by other models in Michigan.

Fields says he didn’t know whether Trump would carry through with his pledge to impose the 35 percent tariff on Ford’s Mexican-built cars.

“If a tariff was imposed, it would be imposed on the entire industry, not just singling out a single company,” Fields said. “When you look at the production and supply chains and how they’re integrated between the three countries” — Mexico, Canada and the U.S. — “putting a tariff on that would have a negative impact on all the economies.”

Stay tuned. It will be some time before we see how a Trump Presidency ultimately impacts automakers, jobs and the industry.

Photo Credit: Ford/Sam VarnHagen


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