In a first, Ford to import Focus small car from China

"This manufacturing plan allows the company to further grow its leadership as an exporter and deliver world-class Focus to North American customers in a way that makes business sense - with no USA employees out of a job", Ford said in a statement.

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. But Hinrichs said small cars remain an important part of Ford's business.

The company was building a $1.6 billion assembly plant for the next Focus model in Mexico, but ran into stiff opposition from President Trump, then canceled the project.

No US jobs will be affected, Ford said, adding that it employs more US hourly workers and builds more vehicles in the United States than any other automaker. The company said the investment would preserve 1,000 jobs at the plant.

Michigan Assembly will be converted to make the new Ranger pickup starting in late 2018, and the new Bronco SUV in 2020 once Focus production is moved. When those plans were canceled, Ford said it would build the auto at an existing factory in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Ford also said Tuesday that it plans to invest $900 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville to make the new, aluminum-sided Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

USA sales of the Focus were down 20% through May, hurt by low gas prices and consumer preference preference for SUVS.

It is the first major manufacturing investment decision made by new Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett, who succeeded Mark Fields in late May. GM became the first of the Detroit Three automakers to import from China. Hinrichs said Ford planned to inform the White House this morning.

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