Only Sept. 14 did Ford, finally, confirm what anyone following the issue had known all along. “Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Mark Fields, Ford's president and CEO, said during a presentation to investors.
Because this was the first time any Ford executive had acknowledged that Mexico is, indeed, the Focus' destination, the story went viral — again.
USA Today, Fox News, CNN, NBC News, the Daily Beast, Breitbart News and dozens of other outlets jumped on it, even though many had already reported virtually the same news months ago. “Ford moving small car production to Mexico,” read a link right in the middle of the Drudge Report, a widely read conservative news site.
Mr. Fields' statement put Ford's plan back in the news eight weeks before the election — and just hours before Mr. Trump was campaigning in nearby Flint, Mich.
“More bad news for Michigan today,” — Trump said during an appearance at a Flint church. “It was just announced that Ford is moving all small-car production — all of it, 100 percent — to Mexico over the next two or three years. This just happened. We shouldn't allow it to happen.… It's horrible.”
Remember when Ford gained a loyal following of consumers who applauded its decision to decline a federal bailout and avoid filing for a taxpayer-supported bankruptcy? Now, some of those same supporters are seeing the company constantly in the news, being accused of prioritizing profits over patriotism.