Ford Motor Co. is halting construction of a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan that drew scrutiny from Republican lawmakers for its ties to a Chinese battery maker.
(Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. is halting construction of a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan that drew scrutiny from Republican lawmakers for its ties to a Chinese battery maker.
The proposed plant near Marshall, Michigan, would have employed 2,500 workers and produced enough batteries to power 400,000 electric vehicles a year. The plan was to license technology from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., which some lawmakers accused of being affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.
“We’re pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we’re confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant,” T.R. Reid, a Ford spokesman, said in an interview Monday. “We haven’t made any final decisions about the plant investment there.”
Ford said there are “a variety of considerations” about the plant but declined to say whether the political controversy surrounding it or the current strike from the United Auto Workers union had anything to do with its decision.
Ford is throttling back on ambitious electric vehicle production plans as sales growth slows due to consumer resistance to the high price of battery-powered models. Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley now says the company is aiming to quadruple sales of gasoline-electric hybrid models over the next five years.
The Detroit News earlier reported the pause in the plant’s construction.
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