Trump touts Ford investment in three Michigan plants

March 28, 2017 10:21 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday touted an expected announcement from Ford Motor Co about investments and jobs at U.S. plants, saying the automaker would make a major investment in three Michigan facilities.

The company is expected to make an announcement later on Tuesday morning. In January, Ford scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion car factory in Mexico and instead added 700 jobs in Michigan following Trump's criticism.

A person briefed on the matter said Ford is announcing new investments in existing Michigan plants and some new jobs on Tuesday but it is not clear if these jobs were previously expected.

The move comes at a time when U.S. new car and truck sales are at an all-time high and investors are watching closely for signs of a possible downturn in the highly cyclical industry.

The planned announcement comes less than two weeks after Trump visited Detroit to promise more auto jobs for Michigan and other Midwestern U.S. states.

At times Trump has promoted job announcements at the White House that had been previously planned or announced. Last week he praised an investment decision by Charter Communications Inc that the company announced before he was elected.

Ford will announce investments at its Michigan plants in Wayne, Flat Rock and Romeo, the Detroit News reported, citing three sources familiar with the plans. The newspaper said it was unclear how many jobs Ford would create or the amount it would invest.

Last week, Ford said it expected higher investments, as well as another spending, to weigh on 2017 earnings.

U.S. sales of new cars and trucks hit a record high of 17.55 million units in 2016. On Friday, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive maintained their 2017 sales forecast of 17.6 million vehicles, an increase of 0.2 percent from 2016.

But they said automakers' incentive spending in the United States in the first half of March had hit a record for the month, breaking the previously set mark in March 2009 during the height of the Great Recession.

On Monday, Moody's Investors service said it expected U.S. new vehicle sales to dip in 2017 and warned of a "significant credit risk" for auto lenders as competition for loans intensifies.

Trump has focused on U.S. automotive jobs, meeting with company executives as well as pressuring—and praising—them on Twitter. Executives have also said they hope his administration will pursue tax and regulatory policies that would benefit U.S. manufacturers.

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