Ford will not build new Focus cars in US, despite Trump tariffs tweet
Ford will not be moving production of a hatchback to the US from China – despite Donald Trump’s claim on Sunday that his taxes on Chinese imports mean the Focus Active can be built in America.
On 31 August, citing Trump’s new tariffs, Ford said it was dropping plans to ship the Focus Active from China to America.
Trump declared victory on Sunday, writing: “This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE USA and Ford will pay no tariffs!”
But in a statement, Ford said it would “not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the US”, given forecast yearly sales below 50,000.
That means Ford simply will not sell the vehicle in the US. Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research said Ford can make Focuses “in many other plants around the world, so if they decided to continue to sell a Focus variant in the US market, there are several options other than building it in the United States”.
In April, Ford announced plans to stop making cars in the US – except for the Mustang – and to focus on more profitable SUVs. In May, it stopped making Focus sedans at a plant in Wayne, Michigan.
The plan, said industry analyst Ed Kim of AutoPacific, was to pare down the Focus lineup to Active wagons and import them from China.
“Without the tariffs, the business case was pretty solid for that model in the US market,” Kim said.
The tariffs changed everything. On 6 July the US began imposing a 25% tax on $34bn in Chinese imports, including motor vehicles. Last month, it added tariffs to another $16bn in Chinese goods and is readying taxes on another $200bn. China is retaliating with its own tariffs on US products.
The world’s two biggest economies are clashing over US allegations that China deploys predatory tactics – including outright cybertheft – to acquire technology from US companies and challenge American technological dominance.