Ford announced today that as of 2018, it will no longer build its Focus compact and C-Max hybrid at the company’s Wayne, Michigan factory.
According to an article in Automotive News, the manufacturer either doesn’t know or simply isn’t saying where it will shift that production, but the most likely answer is to Mexico, where it could build the Focus alongside the subcompact Fiesta at its Cuautitlan plant.
The Focus is the number one-selling vehicle worldwide, but Ford feels confident it can continue to meet demand given it has eight more Focus-focussed factories on three other continents.
Mexico’s auto manufacturing industry is booming these days, thanks to its inexpensive labour costs and proximity to the consumer-crazed vehicle markets in the U.S. and Canada. Honda recently began building its third-generation Fit in Mexico, adding to an already deep roster of brands with Mexican factories, like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mazda, Volkswagen, Nissan, and of course, Ford. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have Mexican plants in the works, as does Kia, whose first North American production facility will be located there.
Once Ford reveals where–if anywhere–it will shift Focus production away from Wayne, the next question is what will move into that factory. It’s an old facility, having opened in the late 1950s, but Ford spent a boatload of money upgrading it in 2010, after shipping Expedition and Navigator assembly to Kentucky, and prior to moving the Focus’ tooling into the place.
Is it possible Focus production could come to Canada? We’d love to hope so, but Ford’s Oakville plant likely has its hands full building the Edge, Flex and Lincoln MKX and MKT crossovers there. That said, the Focus outsold the Edge and Flex combined in Canada in 2014, and moving Focus production here would be a nice nod to a Canadian market that’s not shy about its affinity for small cars, which comprised seven of the top 20 sellers here last year.