- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump patted himself on the back Thursday after the chairman of Ford told him the automotive giant isn’t moving its Lincoln plant from Louisville, Kentucky, to Mexico — a relocation that wasn’t in the works to begin with.

“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky - no Mexico,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday evening.

“I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!” the president-elect said in a followup tweet moments later.

Ford said previously that it hadn’t planned to close any U.S. factories, however, and promised in 2015 to invest $700 million in its Louisville plant over the next four years under the terms of its contract with the United Auto Workers union.

Following Mr. Trump’s tweets, Ford issued a statement saying the president-elect was told the company had nixed plans to move production of a single model, its Lincoln MKC SUV, from Kentucky to Mexico.

Ford spokeswoman Christin Baker wasn’t sure when that decision was made or if Mr. Trump had influenced it in any way, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday. When Ford previously announced plans to move MKC production to Mexico, however, union workers said layoffs were unlikely for the Louisville plant’s roughly 4,700 workers since the factory would stay open and shift attention towards a different vehicle.

Both the Ford Escape and the Lincoln MKC SUV are currently manufactured at the company’s Louisville Assembly Plant. Ford said last year that it planned to move MKC production out of Kentucky, but said in doing so it would increase Escape production at the Louisville plant, USA Today reported.

“Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky,” Ford said in a statement issued after Mr. Trump’s tweets. “We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States.”

Mr. Trump said repeatedly while campaigning for the White House that he would prevent American jobs from going abroad if elected president, often targeting Ford in particular.

“Word is that Ford Motor, because of my constant badgering at packed events, is going to cancel their deal to go to Mexico and stay in U.S.,” Mr. Trump tweeted in October 2015 prior to becoming the Republican Party’s nominee for president.

As of Monday this week, however, Ford said it still planned to move manufacturing of at least of one of its vehicles south of the border.

“We’re going forward with our plan to move production of the Ford Focus to Mexico, and importantly that’s to make room for two very important products we’ll be putting back into Michigan plants,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told Reuters this week. “There will be no job impact whatsoever with this move.”

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