Ford still plans to begin to build the battery-electric crossover in summer 2020, but it will be assembled at its plant in Cuautitlan instead of Flat Rock, according to an internal memo obtained by Automotive News.
The Detroit News reports that the reason Ford plans to move production of that electric SUV to Mexico is that it wants to focus on building autonomous vehicles in MI. Ford has since confirmed it has adjusted production plans to move the new crossover to Mexico. Plus, if Ford had kept the EV in Flat Rock, that would have reportedly interfered with plans to expand the plant for autonomous vehicle production.
That plant isn't expected to add any jobs as a result of the production shift in 2020; it produces the unpopular Ford Fiesta subcompact, giving it excess capacity already. It isn't clear if this autonomous model will even be sold to individual customers.
Unlike the full electric vehicle from Cuatitlan, the self-driving vehicle from Flat Rock will use a hybrid system with a gasoline engine and an electric motor, Hall said. And it's not all bad news for USA auto workers, as Ford also plans to invest $200 million and add another 150 jobs at its Flat Rock, Michigan location to develop self-driving systems. "It wasn't too long ago Ford canceled plans to build a plant in Mexico". That's compared to a $700-million investment and 700 additional jobs that had been planned before.
The report also states that part of the reason for Ford's decision is that electric vehicles now have a comparatively low profit margin.
The Blue Oval brand is also trying to overcome analyst and investor sentiments that it is lagging Silicon Valley and crosstown rival General Motors when it comes to autonomous vehicle development.