Ford's plant in San Luis Potosí at the time of its cancelation last month. Ford's plant in San Luis Potosí at the time of its cancelation last month.

Two new Ford plants set to open this year

Despite boycott threats, the company's sales rose 5% in January

“The truth is we never left.” Those were the words of Ford Motor Company’s Mexico president Gabriel López yesterday when he advised that two new plants are set to begin operating in Mexico this year.

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The auto maker, which last month canceled plans to build a new assembly plant in San Luis Potosí, has also seen an increase in sales despite a social media campaign to boycott the firm.

López said new plants in Irapuato, Guanajuato, and Hermosillo, Sonora, will add 170,000 square meters of production area to the company’s presence in Mexico.

The Irapuato factory will produce vehicles for export to the United States and elsewhere while that in Hermosillo will build diesel engines.

López emphasized that Ford is not going away and never said it would.

He reiterated the company’s earlier message that the San Luis Potosí factory, a US $1.6-billion investment, was killed as a result of changes in consumer preferences in the U.S., who are buying larger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs. The new factory was to have built smaller cars, such as the Focus.

“The decision . . . was the correct one for shareholders, and not a response to political concerns,” López said, in reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s stand on keeping automotive production at home.

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Whatever the reason, the move did not sit well with many Mexicans, some of whom began promoting the hashtag #NoCompresFord, or “Don’t Buy Ford,” on social media. At least two large firms announced they would no longer buy Ford vehicles, along with some municipal and state governments.

But the campaign appears to have had no effect on sales, which rose 4.6% in January over December’s figures, similar to last year’s growth of 5% in the same period, according to the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.

The company sold 7,759 units last month, up from last year’s 7,416, despite the boycott threat and a less stable political and economic climate.

Fleet sales represent only 10% of Ford’s Mexico sales. The majority of buyers are individuals, many of whom went last month for the Figo, a model built in India. It was one of the 15 most popular models among buyers in January.

Ford México said in December it would seek to repeat its 2016 double-digit sales growth in 2017, but that may prove difficult due to higher interest rates, a 10% increase in sticker prices and a 20-point decline in consumer confidence last month, reported CNN Expansión.

Source: Milenio (sp), CNN Expansión (sp)

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  • everhardus

    This story is just part of Trump’s macho man “put America first” election campaign.
    Ford and the other global auto companies are far too astute to be bullied by a braggart like Trump and know exactly where it makes sense to locate manufacturing plants.
    Incidentally I bought last summer a Honda H-RV built in Celaya Mexico and I am extremely pleased with it.
    I know they are having problems in production but the biggest problem here in the UK is we can’t get enough H-RVs and a lot more would be sold if they could ramp-up production without compromising quality.

    • Living@thebeach

      The Oligarchs will continue until they get their wanted revolution. I am not advocating for a revolution but that this is exactly what happened in the 1790s with France. There were three groups of people. The Church, The Nobility and the Rest. The Rest paid taxes. The Nobility not so much and nothing from the Church. Eventually the Church had their property taken away from them. The Nobility ended up losing their heads via a guillotine and the rest enjoyed storming the Bastille. They got hyper-inflation along the way too. I am sure Tim Cook et al. will enjoy the $1/4 trillion of wealth he’s created when he’s been murdered by rampaging hordes that will cause the downfall of the USA.. If you have no stake in life then your life is expendable. We’ve not gotten to that point yet but as sure as eggs are eggs life post Brexit / Trumpism / Frexit / Grexit is coming.

      • David Nichols

        “The sky is falling — The sky is falling…!”
        Try a little more tinfoil in your hat…

        • Living@thebeach

          If you think income inequality is a laughing matter then we’d not have Trumpism / Brexit with Frexit Dutchexit Italexit all on the cards. That US Debt is out of control and climbing at an exponential rate clearly doesn’t worry some. I am not a tin foil hatter as you suggest but I did pass history exams back in the day. I believe as one philosopher George Santayana observed that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” .

          Trump isn’t a saint but better than the totally corrupt status quo of republicans and democrats in the US who both sides of the aisle are lackey’s of 1% Elite. I am glad Trump is in. One of the the biggest problems with the US is its trade deficit. The US / Mexico trade deficit runs $60billion/annum + the $25billion that is wired back to Mexico by undocumented aliens. Over the long haul the US is selling California back to Mexico at a rate of 23,000 acres / day if one values an acre of land at $10,000/acre. Eventually the US will run out of land

          • David Nichols

            I agree with your second paragraph, however regarding your first sentence I have to disagree…
            We have Trump precisely BECAUSE intelligent voters understand that income inequality is a natural, and desirable result of capitalism–those that produce more, earn more…they elected a billionaire..!
            Any system that tries to run contrary to this axiom of human nature is doomed to failure…

  • It was clearly announced way back then that Trump was not the cause of the cancellation in San Luis Potosí. However, the anti-Trump media, especially in Mexico, continued to insist that it was. Silly.

    • owl905

      No it wasn’t. Trump himself was taking credit for the cancellation, while a look at the details said Ford was re-arranging its capacity plan.

      • While my main man Trump may have been trying to steal some credit, Ford said at the time that they were cancelling the plant due to other factors, not Trump.

        • owl905

          Your reply failed to make ‘so what needle’ move.
          Trump did steal credit. Big time. That was the whole point of digging in to the issue.

  • owl905

    The decision to add diesel-engine capacity and production is very suspect. Ford already showed nimble feet in correctly downsizing production of older low-margin gas-engine autos. It should be focused on adding hybrid and even natural-gas production. Diesel is in decline in virtually every major market – the VW scandal wasn’t about cheating to get an edge, it was about cheating because the fuel is inherently dirty.

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