Within the next two years, Ford will no longer build any small cars in the United States, the automaker said Thursday.
Production of the Ford Focus and C-Max, the only small cars Ford still assembles in the United States, will be moved to Mexico, according to a Ford spokeswoman. Ford has previously said it was opening a new plant in Mexico that would employ 2,800 workers there.
The Ford Fiesta subcompact is already being assembled in Mexico. The high-performance Ford Focus RS is made in Germany.
After Focus production moves to Mexico, Ford will move the production of other vehicles into the Wayne, Michigan, plant where the Focus is currently made, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. The automaker has said previously that the new Mexican plant will not result in any U.S. job losses.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lamented Ford’s decision while speaking Wednesday at a church in Flint, Michigan. Flint has lost thousands of car manufacturing jobs over the years.
“We shouldn’t allow it to happen,” Trump said, referring to Ford’s announcement. “They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands and thousands of people not from this country, and they’ll sell the cars right through a very weak border…. And we’ll have nothing but more unemployment in Flint and in Michigan. It’s horrible.”
Ford will not be the first of the traditional “Big Three” automakers to stop building small cars in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles currently sells only two small cars in the United States, the Dodge Dart and the Fiat 500. FCA plans to completely stop production of the Dart, which is built in Illinois, by the end of September. That will leave only the 500, which is already produced in Mexico.
General Motors currently makes both the Chevrolet Cruze compact car and Chevrolet Sonic subcompact in the U.S.
Cars assembled in Mexico often use at least some parts produced in the United States. Profit margins on small cars are generally slimmer than those on larger cars or SUVs, so maintaining low labor costs can be more critical for these vehicles.