The next Ford Focus will be built in China and not Mexico as previously planned, the American automaker revealed this week.
Last year Ford announced Focus production would move from its Michigan Assembly Plant to a new, $1.8 billion plant in San Luis Potosi. It then canceled those plans after President Donald Trump criticized it for continuing to invest in Mexico and announced production would move to an exiting plant in Hermosillo. Now Ford’s changed its tune once again, revealing the next Focus will instead be built at its existing plant in Chongqing, China.
The newly revised plan could save Ford up to $500 million in production costs. Instead of having to retool two plants for North America, Ford will now only have to overhaul its Chongqing plant. Ford’s president of global operations, Joe Hinrichs, said this plan helps to free up capital and despite the added costs of shipping vehicles from North America to China, offers “the best balance of that cost/capital trade off.” The automaker also said “the capital saving outweighs the risk,” of Trump putting a 20 percent tariff on goods imported into the U.S.
Hinrichs said Focus production at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant will halt in mid-2018, at which point it will be shut down and retooled to produce the new Ranger pickup. Production of the next-generation Focus, which will be handled by Ford’s Chinese partner Changan Automobile, will begin in mid-2019 following a debut in late 2018 or early 2019.