(Adds Trump comments, details of move)
By Bernie Woodall and David Shepardson
Sept 14 Ford Motor Co Chief Executive
Officer Mark Fields said on Wednesday that all of the company's
small-car production would be leaving U.S. plants and heading to
lower-cost Mexico, drawing another rebuke from Republican
presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"We will have migrated all of our small-car production to
Mexico and out of the United States," over the next two to three
years, Fields told Wall Street analysts at an investor
conference hosted by the automaker.
Trump, campaigning in Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday, called
Ford's decision "horrible." He has criticized Ford's Mexican
investments for more than a year and vowed to pressure the
automaker to reverse course if elected.
"We shouldn't allow it to happen," Trump said.
Fields has previously responded to Trump's criticism by
saying that as a global company Ford must compete by making
solid business decisions.
Earlier this year, Ford said it would invest $1.6 billion in
Mexico for small-car production to start in 2018.
During contract talks in 2015, Ford confirmed that it would
move Focus and C-Max production out of its Wayne, Michigan,
plant in 2018. The United Auto Workers Union said at the time
that Ford planned to build the next Focus in Mexico.
A source briefed on the matter said the shift of production
to Mexico was expected to take place next year before the start
of the 2018 model year.
In April, Ford reiterated that it was planning to build two
new vehicles at the Wayne plant beginning in 2018. Analysts have
said they expect Ford to build a new Bronco SUV and Ranger
Fields said that Ford planned to shift a majority of its
small car production around the world to low-cost countries by
2019, which could affect Ford's Western European car production.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said in April
that it would realign North American plants to emphasize truck
and Jeep production over car output. The changes are expected to
be completed by early 2018.
Both automakers are making the moves because U.S. consumers
have turned away from traditional sedans and hatchbacks to SUVs
and pickup trucks.
The United Auto Workers has said the number of auto assembly
jobs would not decline because workers would be busy making SUVs
and pickup trucks.
However, UAW President Dennis Williams has said there was a
risk that if gasoline prices rose again above $4 per gallon as
in mid-2008, consumers might once again favor smaller cars.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Detroit and David Shepardson in
Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)