Declaring that the "American auto industry is at crossroads," President Joe Biden on Tuesday toured the Ford Motor (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report plant in Michigan, one day before the automaker unveils its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
During his visit, Biden made the case for his $174 billion electric-vehicle plan, calling for government grants for new battery-production facilities.
"The American auto industry is at a crossroads and the real question is whether we’ll lead or fall behind in the race to the future,” Biden said, according to the New York Times. “Or whether we’ll build these vehicles and the batteries that go in them here in the United States or rely on other countries, or whether the jobs to build these vehicles and batteries are good-paying union jobs with benefits, jobs that will sustain and grow the middle class.”
Ford is slated to unveil the F-150 Lightning on Wednesday. The truck will be built by Ford-United Auto Workers staff at the Ford Rouge Complex in Dearborn, beginning next spring, the company said last week.
The automaker said it expected to spend $700 million and create 300 jobs at the new facility.
“The future of the auto industry is electric,” Biden said. “There’s no turning back.”
The White House on Tuesday issued a fact sheet noting that the infrastructure bill makes investments to encourage adoption of EVs.
Biden's plan "proposes cost-sharing grants to support new high-capacity-battery facilities in the United States, recognizing that new businesses may not be able to access tax credits but can pitch in their fair share as they scale their operations," the fact sheet said, according to Reuters.
The plan also backs grants to fund the retooling of shuttered factories "to build advanced vehicles and parts."
During a May 11 news briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "we’re looking forward to going to visit the Ford Motor Co. and to preview, see the F-150 Lightning and the exciting technologies that make it possible."
Earlier this month, Ford said retail sales in April rose 57% from April 2020, which coincided with the pandemic, and 24% from April 2019, a year prior to the pandemic.
In April Ford posted first-quarter earnings that beat analysts forecasts and reiterated guidance. But the company also said second-half production will be hit dramatically by the global semiconductor shortage.
Shares of the Dearborn, Mich., company at last check were up 0.6% at $12.22.