President-elect Donald Trump said Ford had called to reassure him that the company has decided not to move its Lincoln assembly operations from Louisville, Kentucky to Mexico.
“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky — no Mexico,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The news was shocking to local residents, since Ford had never announced any intention of moving Kentucky jobs to Mexico. Ford operates two plants in the Louisville community, with their truck plant producing the full-size Lincoln Navigator.
Ford currently employs 4,705 at its massive 3,154,173-square-foot assembly facility, which sits on 180 acres located in the Northeast side of town. The facility has operated since 1955 and currently produces the mid-size Lincoln MKC small sport-utility, along with the very popular Ford Escape small-size SUV.
Ford created a fire-storm on September 17 when it told employees it intended to move all small car assembly in the U.S to a modern Mexico facility employing 2,800 workers. Ford currently builds the Focus and C-Max compacts in the U.S., the Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, and the high-performance Ford Focus RS in Germany.
Ford announced in a formal statement, “Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky.” The company added, “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.”
Ford has claimed that the company needed to relocate small car production to Mexico, which has 80 percent lower wages, in order to be viable against competitors that have relocated south of the border.
Mexico factories currently make the Cadillac Escalade EXT and SRX, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Silverado and Silverado Hybrid, Dodge Journey, Dodge Ram 2500, Dodge Ram 3500, Dodge Ram 4500, Dodge Ram 5500, Ford Fiesta, Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, GMC Sierra and Sierra Hybrid, GMC Sierra Crew Cab, Honda CR-V, Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Versa, Volkswagen Jetta, and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.