Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Facts on Ford and Mexico

Howes: Leave it to pols to get it wrong on Ford, Mexico
Excerpt: Yet here we have the Republican nominee predicting Thursday that the Dearborn automaker will “fire all of their employees in the United States” — and a CNN anchor asking Ford CEO Mark Fields whether Trump’s allegation is true.


“It’s really unfortunate when politics gets in the way of the facts,” Fields replied, reciting a litany that is not news to followers of Ford or the Detroit-based industry. Reality simply doesn’t support Trump’s cockamamie narrative flogging Ford’s year-long perpetuation of its small-cars-to-Mexico story.

The United States is not “losing” more than 4,000 jobs at Michigan Assembly in Wayne because Ford will build small cars in Mexico. United Auto Workers members here will build what Fields called two “very exciting new” products: the compact Ranger pickup (a sop to meet federal fuel economy rules) and what is expected to be a revived iteration of a Bronco SUV.

The number of union jobs lost in the States to this move is zero. Why do you think this compacts-to-Mexico gambit, dropped in the middle of last year’s national contract talks, didn’t emerge as a strike-worthy issue with the UAW? Because union leaders and the rank-and-file know how the industry works, and what they would get, far better than the smart people running for president.
Second, Ford wouldn’t be moving its Focus, C-Max and related hybrids south of the border if more customers wanted those vehicles. But in a world of $2.25-a-gallon gas, surging American energy production and the increasing fuel-efficiency of new crossovers and SUVs, customers don’t need small cars to get the economy they seek.

... Finally, both Trump and Clinton are voicing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a willingness to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement. The prospect of greater trade restrictions means the automakers could consider producing vehicles in countries with more liberal trade policies, i.e., Mexico.

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