The love/hate relationship continues

Ford Motor Company’s president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, says Trump’s presidency could spark big growth in sales for the pickup truck segment. Hinrichs cites Trump’s pro-growth and promise of extensive infrastructure revitalization as factors, which could spark truck demand.

“If the infrastructure investment in the United States takes off as part of the conversation with the new administration, that certainly could help the industry and the business,” Hinrichs said at the Automotive News World Congress.

Ford sold an impressive 820,000 F-Series trucks in 2016. That marks the F-Series’ highest sales since 2005. Ford is currently chasing the 1 million annual sales mark for the F-Series, having almost reached the goal in 2004 with more than 930,000 units sold in the U.S. Adding the 145,409 F-Series trucks sold in Canada that year technically pushes Ford to its goal, but Ford undoubtedly wants to claim the title for sole U.S. sales.

While Hinrichs’ optimism is well founded in an a-political statement regarding economics, it just seems odd for a Ford executive to be commenting positively about a Trump administration after the flack Trump gave Ford on the campaign trail over its plan to relocate small car production from Michigan to Mexico. As we reported, Ford canceled the plans after Trump’s November victory, vowing to invest in American manufacturing.

Part of that boost will come with the upcoming 2019 Ranger pickup and 2020 Bronco SUV. Both were officially announced at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, though no concept vehicles or even renderings were shows. Ford is also divulged it will bring five new utility vehicles to the U.S. by 2020, including the Bronco. And though initial speculation pegged the iconic nameplate as being a rebadged Ford Everest, Hinrichs said the Bronco will be “true to its heritage” and “you’ll recognize it as a Bronco.”

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Why It Matters

Ford has had a rough go with the new president-elect. Trump has not been quiet about his distaste for the North American Free Trade Agreement and the jobs he says it allows U.S. companies to outsource to Mexico. His stance of “build here or pay big tariffs” has certainly given pause business across American. Whether Ford’s decision to cancel its investment into Mexican manufacturing was in response to Trump, no one outside of the automaker knows for sure.

In light of this, Hinrichs’ comments about a Trump presidency being good for F-Series sales seem surprisingly honest. It would be easy for Hinrichs to hold a grudge and to skip giving Trump any credit. Then again, any sort of boom in construction on a national level is sure to make truck makers happy, regardless of politics.

Source: Automotive News

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