Ford decided to build two new electric models in Mexico instead of producing these in the US state of Ohio as workers there had hoped from 2023. The information comes from the US auto union UAW, expressing frustration at the loss of promised jobs at the Ohio plant.
The two future electric vehicles are said to be two all-electric mid-size crossovers for the Ford and Lincoln brands, which, as reported, were originally intended for production in Flat Rock in the US state of Michigan. During contract negotiations with the UAW (United Auto Workers) in 2019, Ford apparently later agreed with the union to produce the two electric cars in Ohio instead. So far there have been no official statements from Ford on the change of plans.
Then, at the end of 2020, Ford announced that it would produce an additional electric model at its plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, where the Mustang Mach-E comes off the production line – without giving further details. Now indications are that it will apparently be the aforementioned electric crossover double for Ford and Lincoln, that is to be built there from 2023. Details about the vehicles have not yet been made public. But it is a fact that the US carmaker has been preparing the production of the models since at least August 2019. Carscoops also reports that Ford has instructed its suppliers to prepare for an annual volume of 75,000 vehicles from 2023.
The move to Mexico, which now appears to be planned, comes in a letter from Gerald Kariem, the UAW’s Ford representative, to workers at Ford’s Ohio plant. Several media outlets, including Reuters, quote from the letter: “Unfortunately, Ford Motor Co. has decided it will not honor its promise to add a new product to OHAP and, instead, it intends to build the next-generation vehicle in Mexico,” the response reads. “Ford management expects us to just hang our heads and accept the decision. But let me be clear, we are making a different choice. We 100 per cent reject the company’s decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members. We expect the company to honour its contractual commitments to this membership and when it fails to do so we will take action.” According to Kariem, the union is currently intensively exploring its options.
The UAW’s point is that Ford has breached contractual obligations. The background is that in 2019, as part of a four-year contract with the union, Ford had committed to a $900 million investment in the Ohio plant, including the addition of a next-generation product to be added in 2023 that would “secure employment at the plant into the foreseeable future.”
Ford then issued a statement that did not directly address the union’s criticism but said that the terms had changed since 2019. A company spokesperson said, according to Reuters, that Ford has invested more than $185 million in its Ohio assembly plant since 2019, including plans to increase capacity to build additional super-duty trucks. The plant has about 1,600 UAW-represented workers.
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