President Trump on Sunday suggested Ford Motor could begin making a small car in the United States instead of importing it from China. But the automaker quickly issued a statement saying it has no such plans.
In August, Ford announced it had killed a plan to import the Focus Active, a roomy hatchback, saying the tariffs Mr. Trump has threatened to impose on vehicles built in China would increase costs too much for the company to hit its profit targets.
Mr. Trump hailed the decision in a Twitter post on Sunday, apparently after he saw a report about the Focus Active on television. “‘Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. tariffs.’ CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!”
Ford announced its plan to withhold the Focus Active from the United States market on Aug. 31. After Mr. Trump’s tweet, the company responded with a statement that reiterated its reasoning: The niche model was not suited for domestic production. “It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units and its competitive segment,” the company said.
Ford added that it was expanding its lineup in the United States by adding trucks, sport utility vehicles, hybrids and electric models as it aims to lift its profit margin in North America to 10 percent.
Mr. Trump’s Twitter post about the Focus Active was his second in two days aimed at American companies whose products face tariffs because they are made in China. On Saturday, he called on Apple to make iPhones in the United States if it doesn’t want to pay import tariffs.
In a filing with the Commerce Department last week, Apple expressed opposition to the tariffs and said they could slow economic growth in the United States.
“Because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on U.S. consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives,” the company said.