Thanks, Donald: In Response to Trump, UAW Spills the Beans on Ford Bronco, Ranger

1985 Ford Bronco

Regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on, the 2016 presidential election has brought new meaning to “political theater.” Every election features its fair share of attack ads, smear campaigns, and slander, but with two unprecedentedly polarizing candidates, it’s no stretch to assume people are watching debates, social media at their fingertips, just to hear what the “other guy” will say.

Ford’s decision to move small-car production (namely the Focus) to Mexico has Donald Trump on the warpath. Upset that an automaker so synonymous with American production and innovation would sacrifice American jobs to better its bottom line, Trump has continued to hammer Ford on the decision. Ignoring Ford’s $9 billion commitment to U.S. plants, its decision to not accept a federal bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, and the launch of the new F-Series Super Duty pickup (which is expected to employ 2,000 more Kentucky residents), it’s commendable that Trump would face down an American industrial staple for the benefit of the economy.

Of course, it’s always wise to listen to what the other side has to say, too. And in this case, what the other side has to say is particularly interesting. In an article published by the Detroit Free Press, Bill Johnson, a plant chairman for one United Automobile Workers (UAW) branch, responded to Donald Trump’s claims, stating:

“We hate to see the products go to Mexico, but with the Ranger and the Bronco coming to Michigan Assembly that absolutely secures the future for our people a lot more than the Focus does,”

By my count, there are three key details to unpack from this statement.

  1. Ford management believes vehicles with higher profit margins are needed to justify the higher expenses associated with a “Made in America” stamp.
  2. The blue oval has no plans to eliminate American jobs, but hasn’t announced plans to add jobs, either.
  3. The Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco are definitely, absolutely, without a doubt coming back.

Trump and his supporters have argued that Ford could add American jobs by building the two new products in the U.S. and keeping the small-car division in the United States, but Ford has made it pretty clear: Thanks to market forces like cheap gas, this is a risky business proposition—and in his statement, Bill Johnson inadvertently agreed.

Also in the Detroit Free Press article, Josh Wade, a Ford employee, explained how Ford’s status as a global company makes international plants an inevitability:

“We are a global company. Period … that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “They’ve got to do something. It sucks to see jobs going down there, but that’s what you have to do for us to make our hourly wages and benefits.”

Rumblings about a return of the Ford Bronco and Ranger have been around for years. In response to rumors (and on every auto show floor), I’ve always held a firm belief when it comes to new-car speculation: I’ll believe it when I see it… on the lot. In the case of the Ranger and the Bronco, however, it’s hard to stay skeptical. The two are coming back, and regardless of politics, I think we can all support that.

Are you more likely to buy a new Ford Bronco or Ranger?

-Matt Smith

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