Ford CEO Mark Fields said the investment is a “vote of confidence” in the pro-business environment president-elect Donald Trump is creating. However, he stressed Ford did not do any sort of special deal with Trump.
“We didn’t cut a deal with Trump. We did it for our business,” Fields told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an exclusive interview Tuesday. He said Ford did speak with Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence this morning.
The $700 million investment will go to the Flat Rock, Michigan plant to produce more electric and self-driving cars. Ford believes electric vehicles will outsell gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers vice president.
Ford is planning to roll out seven new electric vehicles in the next five years, including a Mustang Hybrid.
The news is a major U-turn for Ford. Last year, the company announced it would invest $1.6 billion in Mexico to transfer the production of the Ford Focus from Michigan to Mexico to save costs. Now the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, and Ford will expand its plant in Flat Rock.
“Our announcements today are really a vote of confidence in the [U.S.] economy,” said Fields.
Trump repeatedly slammed Ford on the campaign trail, claiming the company was moving good manufacturing jobs to Mexico. He vowed to slap a 35% tariff on Ford vehicles made in Mexico and sold in the U.S.
Ford fought back against Trump’s rhetoric, saying he had his facts wrong and that the company never planned to cut any U.S. jobs.
Ford currently employs 85,000 Americans, up 28,000, or nearly 50%, in just the last five years. In Mexico, Ford employs 8,800.