Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is halting construction on a proposed $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Michigan amid ongoing United Auto Workers strikes against Ford, GM, and Stellantis. While the EV transition is a significant issue in the strikes, Ford spokesman T.R. Reid stated no final decision has been made on whether the plant, originally intended to employ 2,500 people by 2026, will ultimately become operational. This pause in construction is reportedly due to Ford’s reassessment of its ability to operate the plant competitively.
Ford’s plans for the plant involved building batteries using knowledge and services from China’s CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, leading to criticisms regarding Ford’s reliance on “Chinese technology,” even though Ford would wholly own and operate the factory. The halt is seen by UAW President Shawn Fain as a barely-veiled threat by Ford, intensifying tensions as assembly of EVs requires less labor than their gasoline-powered counterparts, raising union concerns over potential job losses and decreased wages.
This plant is a part of Ford’s wider strategy to produce 2 million electric vehicles globally by late 2026, with other plants being developed in Kentucky and Tennessee in collaboration with South Korea’s SK Innovations.
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