Ford moving electric SUV production to Mexico

Redirecting electric vehicle production to Mexico is about more than cutting costs, Ford President of Global Markets Jim Farley tells WSJ, as the move will make room for the Flat Rock factory to serve as Ford's "center of excellence" for autonomous vehicles.

"They have to do what's best financially and this electric vehicle is not going to be huge" in terms of sales volume, said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with car-shopping website Autotrader.

The news was celebrated by the incoming Trump administration, which claimed that it had convinced US automakers to bring jobs home. Sending manufacture of the electric SUV to Mexico where labor is less costly will help Ford's business case, but is expected to not sit well with President Donald Trump who has been very critical of any automotive companies farming out production to foreign countries. Ford is actually injecting an additional $200 million capital investment into Flat Rock to accelerate autonomous vehicle plans.

"You're starting to see the foundation of Ford's bet on A-V's (autonomous-drive vehicles)". GM plans to launch its automated driving services with a heavily modified Chevrolet Bolt EV, demonstrated last week on the streets of San Francisco.

Ford's chief executive officer, Jim Hackett, has been accelerating the automaker's moves in electric and autonomous cars, while announcing $14 billion in cost cuts to improve the what he calls the company's "fitness". So now we're back to making cars in Mexico? "It wasn't too long ago Ford canceled plans to build a plant in Mexico".

The net effect is hundreds of additional American jobs there, he said. The company's software provides services useful to autonomous ride-hailing businesses, including networked data streams between vehicles and operators. The automaker will begin testing the auto in an unnamed city next year.

Ford Motor Co will begin testing its latest self-driving vehicle technology next year in at least one city but has not changed its plan to begin commercial production until 2021, the company said. "We'll move people and goods".

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