Ford Motor Co. had a quick and firm response Sunday to a claim by President Donald Trump that tariffs on Chinese goods would force the auto maker to build its Focus Active crossover in the U.S. — um, no. “It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units,” Ford said in a statement Sunday. “Ford is proud to employ more U.S. hourly workers and build more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker.” Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that “Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. Tariffs. . . . This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!” In fact, on Aug. 31, Ford canceled plans to import compact Focus Actives that were made in China because of the high tariff costs. But that just meant the car will not be sold in the U.S. at all, since Ford saw it as a niche vehicle. The cars will continue to be sold elsewhere around the world.
“This is further evidence that neither the president nor his trade representatives have any clue of the complexities of global supply chains,” Jon Gabrielsen, a market economist who specializes in the auto industry, told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday.
Ford shares F, +1.02% have sunk almost 26% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +0.25% gain of more than 7%.