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Trump blasts GMs plans to build Cruze in Mexico; Ford cancels Mexico plant

By Allen Cone
The Chevy Cruze hatchback, including the 2017 model (pictured) is now manufactured in Lordstown, Ohio, but General Motors plans to also produce the model in Ramos, Mexico. Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Bull-Doser
The Chevy Cruze hatchback, including the 2017 model (pictured) is now manufactured in Lordstown, Ohio, but General Motors plans to also produce the model in Ramos, Mexico. Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Bull-Doser

NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump took aim at General Motors on Twitter, threatening a "big border tax" if it manufactures the Chevy Cruze in Mexico, as it is planning to do.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Trump posted on Twitter, "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!"

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Right after the posting, GM's stock dropped by about 1 percent in pre-market trading on the New York Stock Exchange, roughly a quarter billion dollars in value. The stock opened at $34.84.

Also on Tuesday, Ford announced it has canceled plans for a $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and instead will invest $700 million in Michigan and create 700 new U.S. jobs "as a vote of confidence in the economy," CEO Mark Fields told CNN.

In December, Trump threatened companies with a 35 percent tariff on goods sold back to the United States if they move their operations outside the country. He posted in a series of tweets on Twitter: "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units etc., back across the border. This tax will make leaving financially difficult, but these companies are able to move between all 50 states, with no tax or tariff being charged. Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake! THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS."

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Last June, GM announced it would build Chevy Cruzes in Mexico for the first time.

"In an effort to meet customer demand for the Chevrolet Cruze, GM will be utilizing existing production capacity in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico to supplement production at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio," GM said in a statement. "Cruze vehicles are continuing to arrive in dealers across the U.S. and Canada, and we expect that dealer inventories will increase this month."

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In mid-November, Trump blasted Ford for its plans to manufacture the Lincoln MKC luxury SUV in Mexico, moving production from its Louisville, Ky., plant. Ford relented, and agreed to keep production of the MKC in Louisville.

Last April, Ford announced plans to build the Ford Focus at a new plant in Mexico. Instead, the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Ford's $700 million investment will go to the Flat Rock, Mich., plant to manufacture more electric and self-driving cars as well as the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental.

"We didn't cut a deal with Trump. We did it for our business," Fields said to CNN.

Ford employs 85,000 Americans, which is a 50 percent increase in the past five years, and 8,800 workers in Mexico.

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