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

20 June 2017

After importing initial production of the new Focus cars from China, Ford will ship variants of the model later from Europe, the company said.

Joe Hinrichs, president for global operations, said the decision to export from the Chongqing plant "was not a variable cost decision", adding that it allows Ford "to free up a lot of capital" with than managing two plants in the United States.

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will export vehicles from China to the USA for the first time starting in 2019.

The news comes despite the Chinese government's new restrictions announced last week that severely limit new players from entering its automotive market, while strictly controlling expansion by both domestic manufacturers and foreign joint ventures.

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The decision comes as auto sales continue to fall in the US and as uncertainty grows over the automotive industry in Mexico with negotiations set be begin later this year on restructuring the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Sales of the Focus were down 20 per cent through May this year.

In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he hoped to define plans for China production "by the end of this year" while describing reports that China may relax rules for foreign ownership as "good timing", according to Barron's.

Ford stock fell 0.8 percent at $11.15.

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Ford on Tuesday said it would invest $900 million at its Kentucky truck plant to build the redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size SUVs this fall.

On the campaign trail past year, President Donald Trump heaped scorn on American corporations, including Ford, for relying on overseas factories.

Ford's president of global operations Joe Hinrichs says the move will save Ford US$1 billion, including $500 million from cancelling a new plant in Mexico that was meant to build the Focus. The factory on the outskirts of Detroit where the Focus is now produced will be restructured so that it can manufacture the Ford Ranger pickup and the Ford Bronco SUV.

But the move is more bad news for Mexico than it is for the United States.

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