In A First, Ford To Import Focus Small Car From China

In A First, Ford To Import Focus Small Car From China

In A First, Ford To Import Focus Small Car From China

Ford will shift production of the Focus compact vehicle from the United States to China, marking the first time the automaker will export a auto from China back to the United States.

The production of new model of Focus will begin at existing plants in China in the second half of 2019, Ford said.

Ford said it will continue making the current Focus at Michigan Assembly Plant through mid-2018.

"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", including in autonomous and electric vehicles, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's head of global operations, said in a statement.

No U.S. hourly employees will be out of a job tied to the new manufacturing plan for Focus. The suburban Detroit plant that now makes the Focus will be converted late next year to produce the Ford Ranger pickup and Ford Bronco SUV. Focus sales declined 20 percent in the United States through May due to lower gasoline prices and the popularity of SUVs.

Ford's plan to move production of the Focus to a factory in Hermosillo, Mexico, announced in 2016, angered then-candidate Trump, who threatened to impose a border tax on any imported cars.

And in a first for the automaker, it will ship many of these cars back to the U.S.to sell. Most new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with additional variants coming from Europe later.

"Building in China [for the US market] will become more common", said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for AutoTrader.

Ford said that the latest investment at KTP is going toward building a new body to rivet and bond parts of the new aluminum alloy body for the Expedition and Navigator.

With its latest move, Ford has fully abandoned its strategy of relocating small-car production to Mexico that had been announced a year ago by then-CEO Mark Fields.

Ford already makes the Focus at two different plants in China.

China also is a very low cost producer of cars.

Hinrichs said he didn't know other automakers' plans, but as of now, the Focus would be the highest-volume vehicle exported from China to the U.S.

The president also crowed in March, seeming to take credit for saving American jobs, when Ford announced a $1.2 billion factory investment Thus far, he's been quiet on the China announcement.

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