Ford Motor Company has announced that production of the 2019 Focus will completely be done overseas, with most of the units to be built specifically in China. The plan to build the upcoming Focus in China opposes the original plan of building them in Mexico. Meanwhile, the Michigan Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Focus, will shift into production of the upcoming Ranger pickup in 2018 once Focus production ends next year.
“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,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Operations.
Apart from the change in location, the company has announced they will be investing $900 million into the Kentucky Truck Plant to build the new Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The two new full-size SUVs will be in addition to the Super Duty trucks that are already being built there. Though not creating new jobs, the plant upgrades are said to secure 1,000 hourly positions. Overall, the new production plan is said to save Ford $1 billion in investment costs.
The transition of production from Mexico to China comes after President Donald Trump made strong remarks regarding Ford's proposed move south of the border. Ford did not mention whether China was initially part of the plan, but does add that the new Expedition and Lincoln Navigators built in Kentucky will be exported abroad – including China.
Ford has not mentioned when the next-gen Focus will be unveiled, but does mention that it “will be more spacious and packed with technology that customers want.” Production of the 2019 Focus is slated for the second half of 2019.