Yesterday a Reuters ticker opened a cricket cage in the Automobile sector. Soon many newsrooms echoed the unforeseen news: Ford would move Ford Mondeo’s production from Europe and Mexico to China. Call it Ford Mondeo , call it Ford Fusion for the American market.
The fact is that in our country the plant of Almussafes (Valencia) would be left without the manufacture of the sedan, just as the Hermosillo plant would be without the Fusion, in Mexico. China would be responsible for exporting these models to the respective marketsthat now supply Spain and Mexico.
The rise of the SUV market and the fall of the saloons
At the time of the publication of the news by the agency, Reuters had not been able to compare the information with Ford . Hours later, Ford has denied that there will be an immediate transfer of the production of the Mondeo or the Fusion to China.
However, something could be true in the amazing rumor published yesterday. 2020 could be the year in which Ford moved its production to Chongqing, to a plant that maintains with its Chinese partner, Changan Automobile Co , according to sources linked to suppliers of Ford components consulted by the same news agency.
If confirmed the news, Ford Almussafes would lose its third model in importance of production, after Ford Kuga and Ford Transit. For the SUV the factory will receive 750 million euros, for the manufacture of the second generation, which will also arrive in 2020.
The Ford Kuga takes half of the production of the plant at the moment. This means manufacturing 200,000 units per year, which provide stability to the Valencian factory also for the future, given that the SUV segment continues to trend upwards in sales throughout Europe.
This trend is reflected graphically in the increase of 22% recorded by the Ford Kuga, in sales from January to October this year. On the other hand, the segment of saloons is falling, both in Europe and in America (where the Fusion has lost, curiously, 22% in sales), while Asia continues to be a good market for this type of vehicle.
A categorical denial
Ford has been clear in a statement that denies to Reuters categorically:
“We do not plan to export the next generation of Fusion / Mondeo from China to North America and Europe, Fusion / Mondeo are an important part of the Ford touring car line, we will have more information to share about upcoming Fusion / Mondeo later.”
“Later” means as soon as Ford plans the production of the third generation of Ford Mondeo, which is scheduled for 2020, as confirmed by several sources to both Reuters and Automotive News.
The background of the rumor
The rumor of the transfer of Ford’s production to China can be contextualized, for example, within the framework of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which regulates activities between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. As a result of this renegotiation, Ford anticipates certain changes in the manufacture of vehicles.
In April 2016, Ford announced an investment of 1,600 million dollars in San Luis de Potosí (Mexico), destined to the construction of a new plant, which should take charge of the Ford Focus. In September of the same year, Focus was joined by C-Max in North America.
However, in January of this year Ford canceled that investment under a double pretext: on the one hand, to play the game to Donald Trump; on the other, the “dramatic fall in demand for small cars in North America,” in the words of Ford’s then president, Mark Fields. In June, the manufacturer announced that it would manufacture the Focus in China, and not in Mexico. With this measure, Ford could save 500 million dollars in production costs.
It will be necessary to follow the evolution of Ford’s plans for the manufacture of its next vehicles. Considering what happened in North America, the plans to move the production of sedans to Asia could go ahead, even if it is not ahead of the year 2020.