Ford has announced it is abandoning previous plans to relocate its small car assembly production to Mexico as announced last year. Instead, Ford will start making the next generation of its compact Focus models in China beginning in the second half of 2019.
The redesigned Focus for the North American markets will be produced at a joint-venture plant in Chongqing, China.
Earlier this year, Ford cancelled plans for a new small car plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. At that time, the company said the new Focus would be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
After importing initial production of the new Focus cars from China, Ford will ship variants of the model later from Europe, the company said.
Exporting U.S. brand cars from China is already being done by General Motors who ship their made-in-China Buick and Cadillac vehicles to the States.
The Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan now making the Focus will be retooled to produce the Ranger midsize pickup in late 2018 and the Bronco midsize SUV in 2020, according to Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations.
The company also announced it is investing $900 million at its truck factory in Kentucky to build Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles, preserving 1,000 jobs.