Ford to Move Electric SUV Production to Mexico

"It's not like they're not putting money into the U.S".

Earlier this year, we reported that Ford had made a decision to invest $700 million in its Flat Rock plant in MI to build an electric SUV with a 300-mile range.

All the major automakers make some of their cars for the US market in Mexico, and all depend on Mexican parts suppliers for cars built at USA plants.

Instead, the automaker is moving production to its factory in Cuautitlan, Mexico; officially, says Ford, because it wants to free up the MI factory for more autonomous auto development. In a blog post by executive vice president Jim Farley, Ford revealed plans to make its new AV commercial grade.

Although the company has not issued details on the autonomous vehicle, it has confirmed it will be a vehicle dedicated to transportation services such as ride hailing and delivery.

The electric vehicle, whose more-advanced battery system will enable a driving range of more than 300 miles, will go into production in 2020 at Ford's Cuatitlan plant, which suppliers say will also build a new hybrid crossover vehicle around the same time. Ford has been viewed by Wall Street as playing catch-up to rivals such as Tesla and General Motors, which already sells the battery-powered Chevy Bolt and plans to introduce robot taxis in 2019. Mark Truby, the company's communications chief, said in an email to Bloomberg that Ford is investing an additional $200 million and adding 150 jobs as part of the plan. According to the latest reports, however, that SUV will now be built at Ford's Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico.

Ford's chief executive officer, Jim Hackett, has been accelerating the automaker's moves in electric and autonomous cars, while announcing $14 billion in cost cuts to improve the what he calls the company's "fitness".

The net effect is hundreds of additional American jobs there, he said.

That's one reason it tapped Jim Hackett, who previously led Ford's self-driving auto effort, as CEO when Fields was forced out earlier this year. After replacing Mark Fields as CEO in May, one of Hackett's first moves was to shift a plan to make the Focus small vehicle in Mexico to one of the automaker's plants in China. "We'll move people and goods".

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