4/6/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

UPDATE: Ford Confirms $1.6 Billion Plant in Mexico

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Ford Motor Co. confirms it will spend $1.6 billion to build a new small-car assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

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Ford Motor Co. confirms it will spend $1.6 billion to erect a new small-car assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The facility, which is widely expected to build next-generation versions of the Focus small car and C-Max mini-MPV currently assembled in Michigan, will begin operations in 2018. Ford says construction is scheduled to start this summer.

The plant eventually will employ 2,800 workers. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promptly decried Ford’s announcement as “an absolute disgrace.” He vows to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if he’s elected.

Trump’s blast came after United Auto Workers union President Dennis Williams complained of companies that “continue to run to low-wage countries and import back into the U.S.” NAFTA, he added, “is a broken system that needs to be fixed.”

Compared with domestic rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford has more U.S. employees and produces more vehicles here, according to Reuters. It also reports that Ford employs fewer workers and makes fewer vehicles in Mexico than its Detroit-based competitors.

Ford’s new Mexican factory, which the company describes as a bid to boost small-car profits, should come as no surprise. Like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford signaled during last year’s contract talks with the UAW it would expand U.S. facilities to build high-profit-margin trucks and SUVs but shift low-margin, small-car production elsewhere.