As part of his initiative to embarrass American companies into keeping jobs in the United States, President Trump criticized automaker Ford for its plans to move production of its popular Ford Focus model to Mexico.
So the automaker is moving it to China instead. It will happen after the last production cycle in 2019.
“Consumers care a lot more about the quality and the value than they do about the sourcing location. IPhones are produced in China, and people don’t really talk about it,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations.
Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford & Fiat C!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Trump hadn’t commented six hours after the announcement, but the clock is ticking. On the campaign trail, he vowed to slap a 35 percent tariff on goods American companies produce overseas.
But Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross seemed unfazed by the move. He said Ford’s plan “shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography” and that he expected foreign companies to reciprocate. “I believe that as President Trump’s policies and reforms take hold, more companies will begin to locate their facilities in the U.S. as several German and Japanese automakers already have,” he said.
More than 168,000 Focuses were sold in the U.S. last year. Ford expects the move will save them $500 million in production costs.
Trump’s January boast that Ford was staying in the U.S. is not the first time the president has exaggerated the state of the American job market on the campaign trail or in his administration. During the campaign, Trump said the “real unemployment rate” was not 5 percent but 40 percent.
In April, Trump said he had created 600,000 new jobs while in office. According to CNN Money, only 533,000 jobs had been created by that point.