President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Thursday night that Ford Motor will continue to produce Lincoln vehicles in Kentucky, but it was unclear whether the company ever publicly announced plans to move production.
“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky - no Mexico,” Trump said in one tweet.
Trump followed up shortly afterward, tweeting, “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”
But company spokeswoman Christin Baker said she didn't know when the decision was made to keep the MKC in Louisville or if Trump had any impact on it.
It's possible the decision was made before the election, because Escape sales have been falling since July, so additional production capacity in Louisville may not be needed.
The development is the latest in a yearlong feud between Trump and Ford over plans to move production south of the border. The company plans to shift small-car production from suburban Detroit to Mexico to improve profitability of the lower-priced cars. CEO Mark Fields said Tuesday that the presidential election didn't change the company's plan.
Ford has two Louisville plants that produce Lincoln vehicles.
The Louisville Assembly Plant makes the Lincoln MKC and Ford Escape. The facility employs 4,705 people, according to the Ford website. Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant produces the Lincoln Navigator, as well as Ford Expedition, F-250 through F-550 series of trucks and Super Duty pickups, according to the website. It has 5,091 employees.
Last year, the Courier-Journal reported that the Louisville Assembly Plant was expected to lose the Lincoln MKC.
Ford issued a statement to Reuters Thursday night, saying it had “confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly plant will stay in Kentucky.”
“We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States,” a Ford spokeswoman told the news agency.
Trump has criticized Ford for moving jobs to Mexico.
Criticism about Trump’s claim soon surfaced online.