DEARBORN, Michigan: Due to concerns about its ability to operate competitively while it is locked in broader union contract negotiations, on Monday, Ford Motor said this week that it had postponed the construction of its $3.5 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Michigan.
Criticizing Ford's move, United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn said the announcement was "a shameful, barely-veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs. We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles, and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom."
Battery plant workers have remained a key issue in negotiations between the union and the Detroit Three.
"We are pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we are confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant. We have not made any final decision about the planned investment there," Ford said on September 25.
In February, Ford announced plans to build the plant in Michigan, believing that producing the batteries in the U.S. would enable it and its Chinese partner, CATL, to make American customers embrace a lower-cost technology developed in China.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said, "Ford has been clear that this is a pause, and we will continue to push for successful negotiations between the Big 3 and UAW so that Michiganders can get back to work doing what they do best."
In July, Ford forecast its EV unit to make a full-year loss of US$4.5 billion, 50 percent higher than projected earlier in the year, adding that it was slowing its EV production ramp-up.
The company also announced its plans to quadruple gas-electric hybrid sales over the next five years.