Will Ford’s new SUV plant in China draw fire from Donald Trump?

Mar 15, 2017

President Donald Trump wants U.S. automakers to build their vehicles in the United States. U.S. carmakers want him to ease up on upcoming emissions regulations.

That's the framework for the president's visit with auto leaders today in Ypsilanti. The visit comes right on the heels of Ford's announcement that its luxury Lincoln unit will start building SUVs in China with a local partner.

The BBC's global business Theo Leggett reporter stopped by Stateside to break down Ford's new venture in China.

Leggett made it very clear that this plant in China isn't moving any American jobs overseas.  

"Ford is not moving production from the United States to China," Leggett said. "It's building cars in China for the local market."

Leggett said this is seen as a good business move for Ford, as the company will avoid paying an import tariff by keeping all production local.

He also said the Chinese market is just too strong for automakers to ignore.

"There are very few markets in the world where car sales can be guaranteed to grow for a long period of time," Leggett said. "If you look at the United States market, companies sell a lot of cars but it's mainly to people who have already got them.... There aren't many places where you can have a big market where lots of new buyers are coming in. But that is the case with China."

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about Ford's plans in China, whether the move will draw fire from the White House, and a look ahead to the upcoming meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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