Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump continued to voice his concern and disdain for Ford’s movement of its small car production from the United States to Mexico shortly into Monday night’s debate. The automaker took to Twitter to defend itself.
Ford announced that it would be discontinuing production of its Focus and C-Max sedans and hatchbacks from its Michigan assembly plant last year, and Donald Trump was quick to blast the American automaker for sending jobs out of the country, which he, at the time, assumed would be assembled in Mexico.
Ford confirmed that it was moving its small car production to Mexico after 2018 just this month, which revived Trump’s attack on the automaker. He even threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff on any Ford vehicle manufactured in Mexico and imported into the U.S., proclaiming it to be a response to the unemployment that would result in Michigan due to the move. However, it’s been noted that the President does not have unilateral power to impose such a tariff without Congressional approval, and even then it’s feared that it would spark a trade war.
From The Detroit News on September 15th:
“We shouldn’t allow it to happen,” he said at his appearance in Flint. “They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands and thousands of people not from this country and they’ll sell the cars right through our border. No tax, no nothing and we’ll have nothing but more unemployment in Flint and in Michigan. It’s horrible.”
Ford has repeatedly insisted that the Michigan assembly plant will remain open and continue providing jobs to the area by introducing manufacturing for two new models.
Indeed, Ford’s plan is to move less profitable small car production to Mexico, while keeping production of trucks and SUVs—which command higher sticker prices and are therefore more profitable—in the U.S.
Tonight, Donald Trump attacked Ford again in the early arguments of the presidential debate, reiterating his intentions to tariff the Mexican-manufactured vehicles (as well as other company’s products) and emphasizing job loss that Ford swears isn’t happening.
“So Ford is leaving. You see that, their small car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore. As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do, but perhaps we’ll be talking about that later.
But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people.”
The automaker took to Twitter to defend itself, interacting directly with Trump’s supporters:
Donald Trump’s answer to preventing unemployment during tonight’s debate was to prevent jobs from leaving, seemingly by threatening companies with an import tariff.
But Ford claims the jobs aren’t leaving, just the manufacturing of its small cars. It’s replacing the American manufacturing with two other models in Michigan, as Ford repeatedly tweeted out Monday night.
But the tweets may be too little, too late. Ford has essentially failed at any attempt to control Trump’s narrative about its movement of production threatening American jobs since news first leaked out in August of last year.
As Automotive News recently elaborated, Ford let the controversy drag on with an evasive attitude towards the production shift rather than taking a transparent approach to deflate Trump’s argument. Now, over a year later, it continues to be the prime example of American job loss for Donald Trump, despite Ford’s late attempt at saving face.