Mexican Ford plant workers censure Trump for dashed dreams

VILLA DE REYES, Mexico (AP) — Word widespread fast by cellphone messages and shouts between co-workers that Ford Motor Co. had canceled a new $1.6 billion automobile plant during a sprawling 700-acre high dried site in north-central Mexico.

“When we saw it on a phone, (I thought), ‘Well, no, it can’t be,’” pronounced Higinio Salazar, a confidence ensure who spent a past 5 months logging trade into and out of a site and hoped to have solid work for months to come. “It was on orders of Mr. Trump,” he pronounced bitterly.

That was not a case, Ford insists, yet a notice here in Mexico’s burgeoning automobile public segment was mostly that President-elect Donald Trump, who had betrothed for months to pierce prolongation jobs behind to a U.S. while during a same time adverse Mexicans, had done good before even settling into a White House. Trump took a shot during Toyota on Thursday over a pierce to make Corollas in this region, yet a Japanese association shielded a plan.

Ford’s proclamation sent shockwaves opposite Mexico, that has turn firmly meshed with a U.S. economy given a appearance of a North American Free Trade Agreement, promulgation 80 percent of a $532 billion in exports opposite a limit in 2015. The U.S. supervision says $100 billion of that was in vehicles and parts, creation Mexico a biggest exporter of automotive products to a United States. Mexico’s automobile plants now comment for 20 percent of all light vehicles built in North America, attention total say.

State officials in San Luis Potosi did not find out many progressing than Salazar that skeleton had been scrapped for a long-awaited plant, that betrothed 2,800 approach jobs and some-more than 10,000 surreptitious ones by Ford’s supply chain. State Economic Development Secretary Gustavo Puente Orozco pronounced Ford told state officials about an hour before CEO Mark Fields done a proclamation Tuesday.

Puente pronounced Ford done really transparent it was a “definitive cancellation,” citing supply and direct rather than politics.

“They told us that it was a marketplace emanate — a emanate that a Ford Focus that was a car they suspicion to build, this light car they designed to build in San Luis Potosi, they contend a direct had dropped,” Puente said.

Low gas prices have Americans branch again to incomparable vehicles and Focus sales have depressed plant to that trend. Fields pronounced Ford will furnish a Focus during an existent plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, and use some of a assets to deposit $700 million in an existent Michigan plant to make hybrid, electric and unconstrained vehicles.

The San Luis Potosi plant was good past a fanciful theatre and there were high hopes a state would see serve mercantile expansion from a opening of a third automobile plant — General Motors Corp. has been producing a tiny Aveo and Trax vehicles adult a highway given 2008 and a BMW plant circuitously is scheduled to start prolongation in early 2019.

The steel skeleton of Ford’s plant had begun to arise and signs designated a destiny spots for any partial of a operation, from “stamping” to “final warehouse.”

On Wednesday, Fernando Rosales Ortuno, who deals in hydraulic hoses for Parker Hannifin Corp. was pacing a site’s fringe with cellphone pulpy to his ear perplexing to arrange for a trailer to get hauled away. It’s radically a unstable store that had been set adult to use a large machines scheming a site.

He had hoped that once Ford was adult and running, a plant competence turn a long-term client.

“It strike us like a bucket of cold water,” Rosales said. “Everyone here was anticipating for a lot of expansion in a state and this region, too.”

Four clustered states in executive Mexico — San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, Aguascalientes and Guanajuato — have 7 automobile public plants that are handling or will be within a subsequent dual years. Around them are scarcely 800 automobile tools suppliers, Puente said.

In San Luis Potosi alone, between 50,000 and 60,000 jobs count on a automobile industry. An normal workman in Mexico costs automakers $8 an hour, including salary and benefits, compared to a $60 an hour that Ford pronounced it was spending on an automobile workman in a U.S. during a finish of 2015.

In Villa de Reyes’ city square, residents pronounced a younger era would be harm many by a cancellation.

Retiree Ignacio Segura Rocha pronounced fewer people from city are migrating to a U.S. now since a channel has gotten harder than when he went in 1977 and 1978. He pronounced a automobile attention offers good alternatives for kids flourishing adult on a region’s removed ranches.

“They were already forgetful of going there (to Ford), and during a final notation there’s nothing,” he said.

Construction workman J. Refugio Waldo Contreras feels Trump is putting Mexicans in an unfit situation.

“This Trump, he doesn’t wish people there, so where is he going to send them?” Contreras asked. “And he doesn’t wish work to open here? So afterwards he’s going to tighten a doors.”

Trump also sent tweets this week melancholy to levy complicated tariffs on General Motors and Toyota cars constructed in Mexico for a U.S. market. GM pronounced it exports usually a tiny series of Cruze hatchbacks it creates in Mexico. Toyota stood by a devise to furnish Corollas in Guanajuato, while stressing that a prolongation and practice in a U.S. will not be affected.

There were some records of confidence among Mexicans. As confidence ensure Juan Gonzalez watched contractors transport divided hulk earth movers on flatbed trailers, he pronounced he didn’t design a site to stay empty for long.

“If it’s not a United States it could be Japan, China,” he said. “This is going to continue.”

Jorge Alvarez, who spent 5 months during a site operative on fringe roads, pronounced his association had already told him his subsequent plan will be during a airport, so work would continue for him during least.

Another choice could be that Mexico turns central and focuses some-more on building a inner market, pronounced Roy Campos, boss of a Mexico City-based Mitofsky consulting group. According to attention figures, 82 percent of vehicles made in Mexico are exported now.

“Sooner or later, since of a nearness and a border, a personal relationships, a tellurian relationships, a Mexico-United States attribute is going to lapse to what it was or even improved than before,” Campos said. “So meanwhile, rise a other markets that could be really profitable to Mexico.”

Billboards welcoming Ford had been sprinkled around San Luis Potosi in new months. But usually a day after a company’s announcement, a acquire pointer opposite a highway from a plant was already down.


Associated Press author Peter Orsi in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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