Ford cancels Mexico plant; will create 700 U.S. jobs in ‘vote of confidence’ in Trump

Posted at 11:13 AM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 17:44:38-05

MICHIGAN (CNNMoney/WXMI) — Ford is canceling plans to build a new plant in Mexico. It will invest $700 million in Michigan instead, creating 700 new U.S. jobs.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the investment is a "vote of confidence" in the pro-business environment president-elect Donald Trump is creating. However, he stressed Ford did not do any sort of special deal with Trump.

"We didn't cut a deal with Trump. We did it for our business," Fields told CNN's Poppy Harlow in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

The $700 million investment will go to the Flat Rock, Michigan plant to produce more electric and self-driving cars. Ford believes electric vehicles will outsell gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.

"I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers," said Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers vice president.

Last year, Ford announced it would invest $1.6 billion in Mexico to build the Ford Focus. Instead, the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Mexico, and Ford will expand its plant in Flat Rock.

"Our announcements today are really a vote of confidence in the economy," said Fields.

Michigan House Speaker-elect Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, said in a statement the news is exciting for everyone in Michigan.

"Ford specifically cited the appeal of lower taxes and better, smarter regulations in its decision to invest locally, and that is a lesson we should all take to heart," he said. "We have made Michigan a better place to create jobs, and this decision shows the policies we are pursuing are the best way forward for Michigan's economy."

Trump repeatedly slammed Ford on the campaign trail, claiming the company was moving good manufacturing jobs to Mexico. He vowed to slap a 35% tariff on Ford vehicles made in Mexico and sold in the U.S.

The president-elect appeared to foreshadow Ford's announcement during a December speech in Grand Rapids.

“Ford’s made a promise to me, and hopefully at the beginning of the year they’re going to honor that promise about something they’re going to do that’s very big," Trump said during the Dec. 9 speech at the DeltaPlex in Walker. "And they’re going to do it in Michigan, not in Mexico. And it’s going to be great."

Ford fought back against Trump's rhetoric, saying he had his facts wrong and that the company never planned to cut any U.S. jobs.

Ford currently employs 85,000 Americans, up 28,000, or nearly 50%, in just the last five years. In Mexico, Ford employs 8,800.

FOX 17s Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report.