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Ford tells Trump why it won't make China-built car in US

The Ford Motor display at this year's Shanghai auto show is filled with sports utility vehicles and electric hybrid vehicles. Photo: NPR

President Donald Trump offered some business advice to Ford Motor on Sunday: because of the administration's high tariffs on car imports from China, Ford can start making its Focus Active in the United States.

Ford wasted little time responding to say that wasn't going to happen.

"It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units," Ford said Sunday.

The statement came after Trump tweeted about an article from August 31, when Ford announced that it was canceling plans to make the Focus Active, a compact crossover, in China and ship them to the United States.

"This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!" Trump wrote, citing a Reuters article posted on CNBC.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, including some automobiles, in a move Trump has touted as necessary to punish Beijing for what he says are its unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft. China has retaliated in kind, and Washington and Beijing have continue to ratchet up threats of more tariffs.

Ford said last month that it was scrapping its plans to import Focus Actives made in China to sell in the United States because Trump's tariffs would make the cars too expensive.

But the company also reaffirmed that it has no plans to start making the car on US soil. It will continue to sell the vehicle outside the states.

Sedans and other small cars are falling out of favor with Americans.

Ford already announced earlier this year that it would reallocate $7 billion of research and development funds from cars to SUVs and trucks. Executive James Farley said at an investor's conference in January that the carmaker's lineup is "shifting from cars to utilities."

It's not just Ford. All three Detroit automakers have made it clear that they're going all-in on SUVs and trucks.


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