Moving to Mexico? Not Lincoln’s SUVs, according to President-elect Donald Trump after a meeting with Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr.
Ford, who owns Lincoln, told Trump that they would not move a particular manufacturing plant to Mexico — an assembly factory for Lincoln’s utility vehicle in Louisville, Kentucky. Last month, Ford made news for saying they would suspend production of their low-selling SUVs temporarily in Louisville. They sold 20,000 Lincoln MKC SUVs and 258,000 Ford Escape SUVs (also made in Louisville) this year. In 2015, Ford had announced that it had plans to phase out MKC production by 2019 and move it elsewhere, and Trump has been criticizing Ford for its decision to move jobs out of the U.S. for the past year and a half.
Following the meeting, Trump tweeted: “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”
“He will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico.”
However, analysts and critics have pointed out that Ford has often stated that they would not close any U.S. manufacturing plants. Ford may not even be able to close any plants in the U.S. due to the United Auto Workers contract they are subject to. The contract expires 2019.
Last year, Trump also assumed partial credit for Ford’s decision to keep manufacturing in Ohio instead of moving to Mexico, although critics have said that the decision was actually made in 2011.
However, U.S. auto makers have taken note of the President-elects threats to penalize companies who chose to create jobs in other countries rather than in the U.S. They fear possible tariffs Trump may impose on Mexican and overseas production. Companies are also hopeful that they may benefit from tax breaks and other benefits Trump may provide for companies doing business within the United States.
“We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States,” said Ford in a statement.
It is not known how many jobs would have been moved to Mexico if Ford had moved. The company employs 4,700 people at the Louisville plant in question — one of two Ford factories in the city.