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Ford: We’re canceling $1.6B Mexico facility, investing in electric and US plant

Nathan Mattise
Prototype of the upcoming Transit Custom EV, which will be available in Europe by 2019 according to today's event.
Ford
Today at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields unveiled a large-scale electric vehicle initiative that will run through the company's next five years. Ford plans to invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicle production by 2020, and the company said it will produce 13 new electric vehicles, including a Mustang, an F-150, police cars, and a Transit Custom van. Additionally, Fields revealed that Ford would be canceling a previously announced $1.6 billion-production facility in Mexico. Instead, the company wants to invest $700 million in the existing Flat Rock facility, generating 700 new jobs focused on EV and autonomous initiatives at that location, according to Ford.
"Electrified vehicles have driven millions of miles and saved consumers millions on costs in fuels," Fields said. "Now, imagine electrifying a pick-up truck for more productivity—or a commercial van, a police car. That's exactly what we're doing."
Ford described seven of the 13 upcoming EVs during its press conference today. The F-150 Hybrid will be available by 2020 in North America and the Middle East, and Fields noted it'll be powerful enough to stand-in for on-site generators in a pinch. The Mustang Hybrid will deliver "V8 power and even more low-end torque" according to Ford; it too is intended for a 2020 release. Generally, electric motors are well suited to applications where you want a lot of immediate torque, so their presence should work well in a light duty truck like the F-150. (Cars Technica Editor Jonathan Gitlin notes it will also probably make the electric Mustang pretty handy at the drag strip.)
Among the other notable vehicles highlighted, Ford is planning a fully electric small SUV that can "deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles" by 2020. The company also wants to produce an autonomous vehicle "designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing" in North America by 2021.
Several of the new vehicles, Mustang included, were announced as Flat Rock plant projects under these new electric initiatives.
"We're encouraged by the pro-growth policies of President Trump," Fields said when announcing the investment shift from Mexico to the Flat Rock facility. Earlier in the day, the CEO told CNN he views the investment as a "vote of confidence" in the president-elect. However, Fields also made it clear this move did not happen because of any direct discussions or deals with Donald Trump. (Trump has already shared stories emphasizing the role of his policy in the matter on Twitter.)
Trump had criticized Ford repeatedly throughout his campaign. Ahead of the Michigan primary in Spring 2016, Trump went so far as to call Mexico the new China for automakers and said it would be "a total disaster for the car industry."  He stood by those views after Ford initially announced its Mexico plant intentions in September. Even after Trump won the election, Ford was quick to correct the president elect's lies, such as Trump claiming he saved a Louisville-based plant from moving to Mexico in early November. But with today's press conference, the car company has publicly expressed confidence in the upcoming administration's economic leadership—at least for the time being.
Ford: We’re canceling $1.6B Mexico facility, investing in electric and US plant Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 6:46 PM Rating: 5

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