WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he made Ford Motor Co. keep a factory in Kentucky instead of moving it to Mexico.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky,” he said in a follow-up tweet. “I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”
After the tweets, a spokesman for Ford confirmed the company had reversed its plan to stop making the Lincoln MKC at a plant in Louisville, but the company had never said the plant would close.
“Today, we confirmed with the president-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky,” the spokesman said. “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.”
Asked if the company had any prior plans to shutter the plant, the Ford spokesman said it did not. “No plans to close plants. This was about moving production of MKC out of Louisville Assembly Plant. That same plant also makes Ford Escape.”
Ford had actually made significant commitments to the United Auto Workers union to maintain production and jobs at its two factories in Kentucky.
Earlier this year, though, Ford did announce it would shift small-car production to Mexico. Trump harshly criticized the company on the campaign trail, calling it a “disgrace.” Stopping companies from shipping jobs to Mexico is a key part of Trump’s economic agenda.
Despite the criticism, Ford confirmed this week that its Mexico plans are still on.
“We’re going forward with our plan to move production of the Ford Focus to Mexico,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told Reuters on Tuesday.
Fields has maintained that shifting small-car production to Mexico, where the company can reduce its labor costs, would not result in any layoffs for Ford’s U.S. workers because the company is simultaneously investing more in domestic production of bigger vehicles.
“There will be no job impact whatsoever with this move,” Fields said.
The head of the United Auto Workers complained in April that the new factory in Mexico did represent “jobs that could have and should have been available right here in the USA,” but both the union and the company have pointed out that Ford is making significant investment in its U.S workforce.
In its November 2015 contract with the company, for instance, the UAW said it secured more than $1 billion worth of investment from Ford for production at its two plants in Kentucky.
Ford actually showed off its revamped Louisville plant in September after Trump bashed the company at a presidential debate.