When the Ford Motor Co. decided to move jobs south to Mexico so that it could pay its workers less, billionaire businessman Donald Trump was furious. He made trade inequalities and Ford’s betrayal of American workers a central issue of his campaign.
And, without his even being in the Oval Office, it worked.
In an interview with CNBC, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that the automaker would be “here to stay.” He also said he had outlined his company’s plans in a letter to Trump.
While he didn’t offer specifics about whether Ford would be rolling back it’s $2.5 billion expansion of the company’s operations in Mexico, it was clear that Fields was committed to addressing Trump’s complaints directly.
“Ford Motor Co. is here to stay in the United States,” Fields said.
“We’re very proud as a company of what we do in terms of contributing to economic development here in the U.S.,” he added.
“We invested over $10 billion since 2011 at our facilities. We hired 25,000 people with plans to hire another 8,500 folks. It’s important for us to be successful in our home market and we love what we do for the economy.”
Ford’s expansion in Mexico had infuriated Trump, who had said he would call Fields and give him a message.
“Let me give you the bad news,” Trump said of his hypothetical conversation with Fields. “Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax. OK? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.”
Trump was also critical of another company that was moving jobs across the border, air conditioner manufacturer Carrier.
Trump’s rebuke — along with a viral video showing the reaction of Carrier employees in Indianapolis reacting to the news of the U.S. plant closures — helped make Carrier one of the most reviled faces of outsourcing.
However, thanks to Trump, at least one CEO is on the defensive and backing off somewhat. Just imagine how hard they’d be backpedaling were Trump actually the president.