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Ford to shift C-Max, Focus production to Mexico?

Both models will no longer be built in the US by 2018.

Ford has reportedly decided to move production of the C-Max and Focus from Michigan to Mexico.

"We will move production of the next-generation Ford Focus and C-MAX, which currently are built at Michigan Assembly Plant, beginning in 2018," the company said in a statement published by the Detroit Free Press.

Although Mexico is rumored to be the leading candidate for future C-Max and Focus production, Ford has not confirmed where those models will be built from 2018.

"No decision has been made as of yet," Ford said in an emailed statement to Leftlane News. "The company is currently reviewing several possible options and will share details once studies are complete."

Both models have experienced sales declines this year, with June delivers down by 15.6 percent for the C-Max and 16 percent for the Focus. It is unclear if lackluster demand has factored into Ford's decision.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the company allegedly sent its written notification to the United Auto Workers less than a week before the company begins formal contract negotiations with union leaders.

The company promises to not close the facility, which employs approximately 4,000 workers, however the Focus and C-Max are currently the only vehicles that roll off its assembly lines.

"We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations," the company added.

The automotive industry in Mexico has continued to grow at a fast pace in recent years. A long list of automakers already have a manufacturing presence in the country, where production of light cars and trucks increased by nearly 14 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to Mexico's auto manufacturers association.

Four years have passed since the Detroit's big three automakers inked a new contract with the UAW. Automakers at that time argued against going back to the "old ways" that led to the industry crisis of 2008-2009, however sales -- and company profits -- have since recovered. Union leaders are expected to push for reversal of several previous concessions, including pay caps and two-tier wages, however automakers will likely use Mexico as a bargaining chip.

The current contracts are scheduled to expire later this summer.

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