Ford will scrap plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico, after coming under criticism by President-elect Donald Trump for shifting small-car production south of the border.
Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive officer, announced the plan Tuesday at a news conference at the automaker’s factory in Flat Rock, Mich., south of Detroit. The second largest U.S. automaker builds the Mustang sports car and Lincoln Continental sedan from its Flat Rock plant, which employs more than 3,700 workers. Ford idled the factory for a week in October because of declining Mustang sales, which fell 13 percent in the first 11 months of 2016.
Until February of last year, Ford also built the Fusion family sedan in Flat Rock. After sales for the model slumped, the automaker consolidated production of Fusion at its primary plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. Fusion sales fell more than 10 percent last year through November.
Ford was a target of Trump during his campaign for plans to move small car production from the U.S. to Mexico. The Dearborn, Mich.-based company changed course on a plan to move production of the Lincoln MKC sport utility vehicle south of the border. Fields said Trump influenced the automaker’s decision to continue building the MKC in a Louisville factory where it also produces the Ford Escape SUV.