President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday night to announce that Ford Motor Co. won’t be moving Lincoln production from Kentucky to Mexico.
Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman, telephoned him with the news that a Lincoln plant would stay in Louisville, Trump said in the tweet, claiming credit for the decision.
Ford doesn’t have a plant that exclusively builds Lincolns, but it had planned to move production of the Lincoln MKC small SUV out of the Louisville Assembly Plant so it could make more Ford Escapes there. A company spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that Ford was considering MKC production at a factory in Cuautitlan, Mexico. The move was negotiated with the United Auto Workers union in 2015.
Company spokeswoman Christin Baker said she didn’t know when the decision was made to keep the MKC in Louisville or if Trump had any impact on it. It’s possible the decision was made before the election, because Escape sales have been falling since July, so additional production capacity in Louisville may not be needed.
“We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States,” Baker said in an e-mail.
The development is the latest in a yearlong feud between Trump and Ford over plans to move production south of the border. The company plans to shift small-car production from suburban Detroit to Mexico to improve profitability of the lower-priced cars. CEO Mark Fields said Tuesday that the presidential election didn’t change the company’s plan.
Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and has called for a 35 percent tariff on goods shipped from Mexico in an effort to preserve U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Ford plans to move production of the Focus and C-Max small cars to Mexico from a plant in Wayne, Michigan. But jobs at the Wayne plant would be preserved because it’s getting a new SUV and small pickup truck.
“I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!,” Trump said in a tweet.
Bill Ford met with Trump during the summer and spoke with him on Thursday, Baker said.