Ford announced a series of global manufacturing actions centered on improving the company’s operational fitness, among them that it would source the next-generation Ford Focus for North America primarily from China, rather than Hermosillo, Mexico.
Production of the next-generation Focus begins in the second half of 2019, with models coming from the company’s existing Focus plants globally. Most new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with additional variants coming from Europe later, Ford said. Production of the current North American Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant continues through mid-2018. Following that, the plant will be converted to produce the Ranger midsize pickup truck in late 2018 and the Bronco midsize SUV in 2020.
The new North America Focus production plan saves $1 billion in investment costs versus the original plan—$500 million on top of the $500 million savings announced earlier this year by cancelling plans for an all-new manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moving Focus production to Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant.
Ford also announced a $900-million investment in Kentucky Truck Plant for plant upgrades to build the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, which begin arriving in dealerships this fall. Both full-size SUVs will be exported to more than 55 markets globally—including Navigator to China. Ford is a top auto exporter in the US.
The $900-million investment secures 1,000 jobs for hourly workers at the Louisville plant. This is in addition to the $1.3 billion investment and 2,000 jobs created at that plant in late 2015 to build the all-new Ford Super Duty.
Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world—and we’re finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. At the same time, we also have looked at how we can be more successful in the small car segment and deliver even more choices for customers in a way that makes business sense.
Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company—especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles.—Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Operations
January-May 2017 US sales of the Focus—Ford’s second-highest selling car model in the US—are down 19.7% compared to the same period in 2016, from 83,653 units to 67,146 units. Overall sales of Ford cars during the five-month period are also down 19.6% year-to-date, from 322,795 units to 259,617 units. Sales of the company’s top-selling car model Fusion are down 26% for the same period.