Ford's Farley strongly hints that future models might not be built in UAW plants

Ford's Farley strongly hints that future models might not be built in UAW plants

The massive strike that the United Auto Workers (UAW) organized against Detroit's Big Three in 2023 cost carmakers billions of dollars. While the agreements signed were largely seen as a win for the UAW, Ford warned the strike will have long-term ramifications for the union.

Speaking at the Wolfe Research Global Auto Conference, company boss Jim Farley said that his team will "think carefully" about where to build upcoming vehicles, which is a hint that some future cars may not be manufactured in factories whose workers are represented by the UAW. He cited an example, according to the Associated Press. Ford builds pickup trucks, including the highly profitable and perennially popular F-150, in the United States rather than in Mexico like some of its rivals. Labor costs are higher on this side of the border, so each truck costs more to build, but Farley explained that Ford made this choice because it considered the tradeoff was the "right kind of cost."

The strike cast this cost and a once-amicable relationship in a different light. "Our reliance on the UAW turned out to be we were the first truck plant to be shut down. Really, our relationship has changed. It's been a watershed moment for the company. Does this have business impact? Yes," he said.

UAW President Shawn Fain quickly responded to Farley's comments. "Maybe Ford doesn't need to move factories to find the cheapest labor on Earth. Maybe it needs to recommit to American workers and find a CEO who's interested in the future of this country's auto industry."