President-elect Donald J. Trump last night on Twitter appeared to take credit for saving jobs that were not in jeopardy at a Kentucky plant that does not exist.
Trump tweeted late Thursday that he “worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky.”
“We don’t have a Lincoln plant,” Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, told IL Friday.
Ford in Louisville operates the Kentucky Truck Plant, which makes primarily the Ford F-Series Super Duty, and, on a smaller scale the Lincoln Navigator; and the Louisville Assembly Plant, which primarily makes the Ford Escape and, on a smaller scale, its luxury cousin, the Lincoln MKC. Ford sold 23,505 Escapes in October, which was more than the MKCs it has sold all year. It also has sold fewer than 9,000 Navigators all year.
Dunn told IL that union leaders across the nation, including those from both Louisville plants, have meetings at least quarterly with company officials, with another coming up next month.
“There’s been zero talk (recently) about moving either of the Lincoln products,” he said.
Ford had announced a year ago that it planned to move production of the Lincoln MKC out of LAP, but that no jobs would be lost because of higher production of the new Escape. A Ford spokeswoman told IL via email Friday that the likely destination for that vehicle was its Cuautitlán Stamping and Assembly Plant near Mexico City.
In an emailed statement, Ford told IL, “Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky.”
Dunn said MKC production would remain in Louisville through at least 2019. The decision to keep production in Louisville was not made last night, he said.
A Tweet from Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin suggested that Trump this week was working with Ford “to keep smaller vehicle production” in Kentucky.
However, Ford would not tell IL when or why it decided to keep MKC production in Louisville and whether any of Trump’s statements or actions contributed to that decision. Ford did confirm to IL that Trump and Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman, talked on Thursday, but would not say what they discussed.
Ford and Trump clashed in the run-up of the presidential election, with the billionaire saying that Ford’s plans to move small-vehicle production to Mexico was a “disgrace,” and Ford firing back that it has continued to invest in its U.S. operations.
Trump did not reply to a question IL tweeted at him last night. His press office did not immediately respond to an inquiry this morning.
Ford reiterated that it has invested $12 billion in the United States in the last five years, creating 28,000 jobs. The company invested $1.3 billion in KTP this year and added 2,000 jobs there to prepare the plant for production of the all-new Super Duty. The automaker in 2014 also said it would invest $129 million in LAP, creating 300 jobs, to ramp up production for the all-new Escape.
This story was updated to clarify a statement from the UAW.