Ford Motor Company recently announced that it would soon be importing the next generation of the Lincoln Nautilus from China for the first time in its history. This announcement comes as Ford also faces backlash against a planned plant in Michigan, which partners with a Chinese electric vehicle battery supplier.
Last month, Ford announced that the next generation of the Lincoln Nautilus would be manufactured in China and imported to the United States. Until then, the car had been manufactured in a Ford plant in Ontario, Canada. This is the first time in the company’s history that a Lincoln vehicle will be manufactured in China. According to Yahoo Finance:
Ford F is set to import its restyled Lincoln Nautilus sport-utility vehicles from China to the United States, marking a significant shift in its manufacturing strategy. This move comes as other U.S. companies are distancing themselves from China. The sleeker, hybrid-powered SUV will be the first model Ford imports from its Hangzhou plant, a joint venture with China’s Changan Automobile, which already manufactures the Nautilus for the Chinese market.
Currently, the Nautilus is being produced for the U.S. market at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. However, the automaker recently announced a CAD 1.8 billion (approximately $1.3 billion) investment to transform the facility into an electric vehicle hub, prompting the shift in production to China.
Ford also seeks to partner with the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. to construct a $3.4 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall, Michigan. This business decision comes during flaring geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. Ford’s decision has some experts calling for Joe Biden to increase tariffs on Chinese imports to disincentive companies from outsourcing manufacturing and protect American industry. Tariffs on Chinese imports currently sit at 25 percent.
Coalition for a Prosperous America CEO Micheal Stumo tweeted, “25% tariffs on China built autos not enough.” Former trade advisor under the Trump administration Dan DiMicco commented under the tweet that the tariffs should be raised to 50 percent.
25% tariffs on China built autos not enough. https://t.co/kR5AHOpLdf
— Michael Stumo (@michael_stumo) April 19, 2023
According to many experts, the regulatory environment should be set up to incentivize American production. Otherwise, companies will seek out whatever is best for their bottom line and shareholders, which isn’t always in the interest of American industry.
Demonstrating this, a Lincoln spokeswoman said, “Lincoln is a global brand that is growing. As we execute our U.S. manufacturing growth plans, we think it makes sense to centralize Nautilus production in China for both markets (since we already produce Nautilus in China for the local market) which allows us to gain manufacturing efficiencies and retool our Oakville facility to get ready to build our next generation EVs.”
Moreover, associate director of research at S&P Global Mobility, Stephanie Brinley, said, “In this case, it’s a good use of resources. Without importing, Lincoln does not get the product, and the brand needs products between now and when its EVs arrive.”
So far, the Biden administration has been silent on this matter following Ford’s announcement. Given the growing tensions between the U.S. and China, it will be interesting to see how Biden responds.
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