Ford confirms small-car production moving from US to Mexico

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. says it’s moving all of its U.S. small-car production to Mexico.

Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed the long-expected move Wednesday during an event for investors and Wall Street analysts.

Ford makes its Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, but its Focus and C-Max small cars are made in suburban Detroit. Making them in Mexico would boost company profits because of low wages there.

The company is building a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It will make small cars there starting in 2018.

Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, which makes the small cars, will be getting new products under a contract signed last year with the United Auto Workers union. They will likely be larger, more profitable vehicles like the Ford Ranger pickup.

In addition, Ford said Wednesday it expects its pretax profit to fall next year but to improve in 2018 as it invests in emerging businesses.

The company is projecting adjusted pretax profit of $10.2 billion this year, lower than the record $10.8 billion it booked last year. It had initially forecast a profit equal to or better than last year, but pulled back last week after announcing a $640 million recall of 2.4 million vehicles.

Ford says profit from its core automotive business will improve every year between now and 2018.

But it is aggressively investing in emerging opportunities, including the electrification of its vehicle fleet and the development of autonomous cars.

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