President Donald Trump offered some business advice to Ford Motor on Sunday: because of the administration’s high tariffs on car imports from China, Ford can start making its Focus Active in the United States.
Ford wasted little time responding to say that wasn’t going to happen.
“It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units,” Ford said Sunday.
The statement came after Trump tweeted about an article from August 31, when Ford announced that it was canceling plans to make the Focus Active, a compact crossover, in China and ship them to the United States.
“Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. Tariffs.” CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, including some automobiles, in a move Trump has touted as necessary to punish Beijing for what he says are its unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft. China has retaliated in kind, and Washington and Beijing have continue to ratchet up threats of more tariffs.
Ford spokesman Michael Levine said the Focus Active is built in Europe. The company had plans to begin making the vehicle in China in the latter half of 2019 and exporting them to the US market.
But Ford said last month that it was scrapping that plan because Trump’s tariffs would make the cars too expensive.
The company also reaffirmed that it has no plans to start making the car on US soil. It will continue to sell the vehicle outside the states.
Sedans and other small cars are falling out of favor with Americans.
Ford already announced earlier this year that it would reallocate $7 billion of research and development funds from cars to SUVs and trucks. Executive James Farley said at an investor’s conference in January that the carmaker’s lineup is “shifting from cars to utilities.”
It’s not just Ford. All three Detroit automakers have made it clear that they’re going all-in on SUVs and trucks.
Ford added in its statement that it’s committed to “growing its U.S. vehicle lineup – including introducing all-new trucks, utilities, hybrids and fully electric vehicles.”
The company said about 80% of the vehicles Ford sells in the United States are built domestically.