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Ford’s 300-mile electric SUV heads to Mexico to make way for autonomy

The blue oval plans to pad margins thanks to Mexico’s lower labor costs.

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Ford

Remember when Ford said it was going to build its 300-mile electric crossover in the US? Well, plans have changed.

Ford's new electric crossover, which is believed to pack 300 miles of range, will now be built at the Cautitlan plant outside Mexico City, rather than in Michigan, Automotive News reports, citing an internal Ford memo. According to the document, Ford plans to maximize its otherwise slim margins on battery electric vehicles by moving production to Mexico where labor costs are significantly lower.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett and chairman Bill Ford, Jr.
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Ford CEO Jim Hackett and chairman Bill Ford, Jr.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett (left) and chairman Bill Ford, Jr., are fighting to make Ford more "fit" for an autonomous and electric future.

Ford

But that doesn't mean the crossover's space will go unused. "Moving the BEV allows our Flat Rock Assembly Plant to become our Autonomous Vehicle Center of Excellence, adding 150 more U.S. jobs and $200 million more investment than originally planned, plus a new product to backfill the BEV production," said Alan Hall, a Ford spokesperson, in a statement.

This additional investment in US manufacturing should go a ways toward dousing the fires and lowering the pitchforks of those who cry foul at the thought of any production being shifted away from US soil. This additional funding makes FoMoCo's total investment in US manufacturing around $1.4 billion, including the funds earmarked for improvements to its truck and SUV production facilities for the upcoming Bronco and Ranger models.  

This ties in with Ford's plans to ramp up development and production of autonomous vehicles in the US. When this as yet unnamed EV was announced back in January, Ford stated that it would be investing upward of $700 million in its Michigan facilities to facilitate EV and autonomous vehicle production and creating approximately 700 jobs in the process.

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Flat Rock Assembly Plant

Ford

While Ford has been criticized for being less agile in the realm of EV and AV technology than its chief rival, General Motors, it's clear that the folks at Ford are betting big on a future where combustion engines are a relative rarity and where driver error is a thing of the past.

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Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).

Article updated on December 11, 2017 at 2:05 PM PST

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Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
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