U.S. Jobs: Ford Tries New Gambit With Trump

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump poses for a photo in New York
Republican US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, May 17, 2016. Pix: Reuters

FORD Motor Co, one of Donald Trump’s prime corporate targets on the campaign trail, offered the President-elect a chance to claim a victory late on Thursday by informing him it would not shift production of a Lincoln sport utility vehicle to Mexico from Kentucky.

Trump jumped at the chance, claiming in a tweet that he had “worked hard” with Ford Executive Chairman, Bill Ford Jr., to keep the plant in Kentucky, even though Ford had never considered moving the whole factory south of the border.

In letting Trump claim a victory, Ford made what appeared to be a calculated, public appeal to the next president in an attempt to soothe concerns about outsourcing jobs and to gain some leverage with the new administration as the automaker pushes for favorable policy changes in Congress.

“Ford is not going to make a decision on a purely political basis,” said Kristin Dziczek, director of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan.

“They are going to make a decision that makes business sense, economic sense and if it happens to align with political goals, that’s great,” she said.

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The No. 2 automaker in the United States is not the only company in Trump’s crosshairs working out how to deal with the new political reality in Washington.

Apple Inc, criticized by Trump for not building products in the United States, is studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to the United States, Japanese news service Nikkei reported on Thursday.

Apple did not reply to a request for comment on Friday.

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