Ford President and Chief Executive Mark Fields appeared on CNN and sharply disputed Trump’s claims.
The GOP candidate charged that Ford was outsourcing 2,800 jobs to Mexico. He called the move an “absolute disgrace.”
“We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people, not from this country, and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said.
But Fields said no U.S. jobs will be lost when the plant is built.
In addition, the United Auto Workers union has signed off on the move, he said. The union contract prohibits cutting jobs due to outsourcing.
To the contrary, Ford plans to increase the number of U.S. hourly workers when it introduces “two new products,” Fields said.
While he didn’t say what they were, Ford is expected to move more aggressively into electric cars, according to some reports.
In the past five years, Ford’s U.S. employment has risen by 50 percent to 85,000 hourly workers, a company spokeswoman said. The company has no plans to leave the United States as Trump asserted.
“Ford has been in the United States for more than 100 years. Our home is here. We will be here forever,” said Ford spokeswoman Christine Baker.
In an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Fields said “politics” were getting in the way of “facts.”
“The facts are Ford’s investment in the U.S. and commitment to American jobs has never been stronger,” he explained.
“We have created more than 28,000 jobs in the U.S. in the last five years; we’ve invested more than $12 billion; we produce more vehicles here in the U.S. … and employ more hourly workers by far.”
“So Mr. Trump is wrong, is that correct, Mark?” said Harlow.
“That is correct,” Fields said.
Ford is moving its small car production to Mexico mainly to save on labor costs. The segment is highly competitive and profit margins on small cars are razor thin.
Labor costs in Mexico are about 40 percent lower than the United States, Fields said.
Trump plans to abolish the federal minimum wage if elected. The move will drive down wages for U.S. hourly workers.
Even though Ford is a global company that makes and sells cars in other countries, Fields said profits from Ford’s operations come back to the United States.
Foreign brands, such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and BMW, also build cars or trucks in the United States.
Trump has threatened to slap a 35 percent tariff on American cars made in Mexico. Punitive tariffs were last imposed on overseas products during the Great Depression and made the downturn worse, according to economists.
Fields said he decided to make a statement to “lay out the facts.”
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