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Ford shifts production of Focus vehicles to China

Published 21 June 2017

Ford said it will start importing Focus compact cars from China in the second half of 2019, cancelling earlier plans to build the small-car model in Mexico.

Models will come from the company’s existing Focus plants globally.

Majority of new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with further variants coming from Europe later.

The company is investing $900m in Kentucky truck plant for plant upgrades to build the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, which start arriving in dealerships this fall.

Both full-size SUVs will be exported to more than 55 markets globally, including Navigator to China.

The investment is a follow up to the company’s $1.3bn of investment at the plant, while creating about 2000 jobs, back in 2015.

Presently, the Kentucky plant employs about 7600 full time hourly workers, who help in producing the all new Ford Super Duty.

Production of the present generation Ford Focus will continue till mid-2018 and after this time, the company plans to start the construction of Ranger midsize pickup truck in 2018 Bronco midsize SUV in 2020.

Produced in China, Ford claims that the next generation Focus will be more spacious and will be equipped with latest technology that customers will seek in their vehicles.

The Dearbon, Michigan-based company says that it can save $1bn in synergies versus its original Focus production plan, by producing the hatchback in China.

Ford Global Operations president and executive vice president Joe Hinrichs said “Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world – and we’re finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

“At the same time, we also have looked at how we can be more successful in the small car segment and deliver even more choices for customers in a way that makes business sense.”

Earlier this year in January, the company cancelled a $1.6bn investment in Mexico to produce the Focus hatchback and stated that it will invest $700m at its Michigan facility.

Back then, the newly elected President Donald Trump criticised the automaker for its investment in Mexico, which was affecting jobs in the US.


Image: Ford to produce Expedition at Kentucky plant. Photo: Courtesy of The Ford Motor Company.