Ford (NYSE:F) plans to produce a future electric car in Mexico rather than in the U.S., reversing its January announcement that the Flat Rock, Mich., assembly plant would serve as its main electric vehicle production site, WSJ reports. That plan, which Ford said would create 700 jobs, was formulated after President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement and ridiculed automakers for making any vehicles in Mexico. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for Flat Rock.
The labor union represents 59,000 Ford workers.
Earlier this year, we reported that Ford had decided to invest $700 million in its Flat Rock plant in Michigan to build an electric SUV with a 300-mile range. Mexican production of the electric SUV is meant to start in 2020.
Ford has dropped a flurry of news in recent weeks in an effort to change the perception within the industry that it is trailing General Motors and Google's Waymo spinoff in the race to introduce a reliable and safe autonomous vehicle for ride-sharing purposes.
Both the 2020 electric and the 2021 self-driving vehicles will draw on the next-generation Ford Focus for some of their underbody structure and components while using different propulsion systems.
"This allows us to bring this exciting new vehicle to global customers in a more effective way to support our overreaching business goals", Ford stated. It has only one all-electric vehicle, and it is not competitive with either GM's Chevy Bolt or the Tesla Model 3, which each cost about $35,000 and can go more than 200 miles on a single charge.