The Ford Motor Co. today confirmed what Mexican officials said in January: the company will build a new assembly plant in the state of San Luis Potosí.
The US $1.6-billion plant will produce small cars but the company’s Americas president, Joe Hinrichs, did not specify what model that would be or how many would be produced.
The company said in a statement that details regarding the vehicles to be produced will be the subject of a forthcoming announcement.
Construction will begin this summer and production in 2018. The facility will create 2,800 direct jobs by 2020, Ford said.
United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials have suggested that production of the Focus, slated to be moved from Michigan, would likely go to Mexico, and company executives have said they were looking for a cheaper option to build lower-profit vehicles such as the Focus and C-Max.
“We’re improving the profitability of our small cars,” Hinrichs said today.
UAW president Danny Williams described the news as “troubling.” It’s “a broken system that needs to be fixed,” he said of companies that “run to low-wage countries and import back into the United States.”
A Mexican official said today that the announcement of the new plant was being kept low-key to avoid tensions during the U.S. election campaign, in which Republican challenger Donald Trump has been critical of U.S. firms for moving manufacturing to Mexico and other countries.
Ford says Mexico is its fourth largest manufacturing site after the U.S., China and Germany, and employs about 8,800 workers here.
The San Luis Potosí facility will be Ford’s first all-new North American assembly plant since its Hermosillo factory opened in 1986.