Ford (F) - Get Report scrapped plans for a new plant in Mexico while announcing a $700 million expansion of its Flat Rock, Mich., plant and the development of a broad array of new electrified vehicle models, some of which will be built there.
CEO Mark Fields said the No. 2 U.S. automaker expected high consumer acceptance of electrified vehicles -- gas-electric and plug-in hybrids, as well as battery-powered vehicles -- to spur demand for the new models.
Fields said Ford's new investment, on top of a previously announced $4.5 billion outlay through 2020, will result in the creation of 700 new jobs at Flat Rock, where the hourly workforce is represented by the United Auto Workers union.
Ford shares rose about 3.3% in trading Tuesday, gaining ground as Field outlined the automaker's initiatives.
He noted that the automaker is cancelling an earlier plan to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and build more at Flat Rock, originally constructed in 1986. The automaker said its next-generation Focus small car will be built at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, "to improve the company's profitability."
Fields, though not mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name, did praise the anticipated "pro-growth policies" of the new administration and Congress. Shortly after his election, Trump criticized Ford for expanding production in Mexico.
"As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people's lives better," Fields said.
Fields spoke specifically about seven of 13 electrified vehicles Ford will be introducing through 2020, including a gas-electric version of its Mustang sports coupe, a gas-electric F-Series pickup truck, two "pursuit rated" gas-electric police vehicles to be built at its plant in Chicago, a plug-in hybrid Transit van for sale in Europe, an all-new battery-powered small SUV with a range of 300 miles, and a high-volume autonomous vehicle for ride-sharing or ride-hailing to be used in North America.
Raj Nair, Ford's executive vice president for product development, said "Ford's global EV strategy is to build on our strengths. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars, plus improved fuel economy."
Doron Levin is the host of "In the Driver Seat," broadcast on SiriusXM Insight 121, Saturday at noon, encore Sunday at 9 a.m.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.