Ford to announce jobs, investment in Michigan plants

Ford to announce jobs, investment in Michigan plants
Posted at 6:52 AM, Mar 28, 2017

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Ford is expected to announce additional jobs and investment at its plants in Michigan on Tuesday.

The company wouldn't give details of the plans ahead of time. But President Trump, a frequent critic of Ford during the campaign, jumped the gun to praise the announcement. He called it an example of car companies "coming back to U.S."

Despite Trump's characterization, Ford is not expected to shift work from Mexico or any other foreign country to the United States. In fact, at least one of the plants likely to get investment dollars is moving some production to Mexico.

And at least some of the investment and jobs are probably part of commitments Ford promised in a labor deal with the United Auto Workers union in the fall of 2015, more than a year before Trump was elected.

For example, Ford promised in January to build its new Bronco and Ranger at its plant in Wayne, Michigan, where 3,700 people work.

Production of two small cars, the Focus and the C-Max, is moving from that plant to Mexico. But the labor deal protects Michigan jobs by requiring that a new product be built there, along with a $700 million investment, still to be announced.

An engine plant in Romeo, Michigan, where 500 people work, is in line for a $150 million investment under the same deal.

The investments come on top of a January announcement by Ford that it would sink $700 million into electric and self-driving cars at its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, creating 700 jobs. It also dropped plans for a $1.3 billion small car assembly plant in Mexico -- but it's shifting those cars to another plant in Mexico, not bringing them back to the United States.

Still, Trump, who before the election inaccurately accused Ford of planning to move all its U.S. plants to Mexico, has had only praise for Ford since the January announcement.

He has also praised other automakers who have announced U.S. investments and hiring plans -- often following their own 2015 labor deals.

On Jan. 8, Fiat Chrysler announced a $1 billion investment to expand factories in Ohio and Michigan, which will create 2,000 jobs by 2020.

And General Motors, which is planning to layoff 4,400 workers at four plants, has balanced that with plans to invest $1 billion in U.S. factories and create or retain 7,000 domestic jobs. It also said about 700 of the workers being laid off will be rehired in the future.

Trump cited those auto hiring plans on a March 15 trip to Michigan.

"And that's just the beginning, folks. In fact, I told them, that's peanuts -- that's peanuts," he said in March. "We're going to have a lot more."