By announcing plans to cut 15,000 jobs in two swing states - Ohio and Michigan - General Motors thumbed its nose at President Trump (and his generous tax-cut plan) for insisting on imposing his protectionist agenda over the objections of automakers and virtually every other sector of corporate America. But while a furious Trump has ordered federal agencies to find a way to punish GM, Ford announced that it's planning a "restructuring" of its own that - but the carmaker was careful to point out, won't involve any job cuts.
The automaker announced on Wednesday that it would move 500 workers to its Kentucky truck plant, from its Louisville Assembly Plant to the same truck plant to help it increase Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator production by 20%. But the restructuring won't include any layoffs.
Ford is also planning some shift reductions at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant as part of the restructuring. However, the automaker has already struck a deal with the UAW to ensure that displaced workers will have opportunities elsewhere.
That news follows a Bloomberg from earlier detailing Ford's plans to accelerate production of its Lincoln brand in China to try and avoid painful tariffs on US-made cars. Meanwhile, the company also plans to increase domestic production of vehicles destined for the US market to avoid US tariffs - which sounds like validation of Trump's argument that tariffs should benefit domestic producers. The company is hoping to fast-track its expansion in China in a gamble to help improve sales of its Lincoln brand, which have slowed thanks to the tariffs after soaring 66% in 2017.
The automaker has rolled out an electric model called the Ford Aviator that has lower door handles, stringent emissions controls and the capacity to use a smartphone as a key - all features designed to entice Chinese buyers.
Ford's decision to go all-in on Lincoln in China is effectively a gamble on the Chinese luxury market - a gamble that recent economic data suggest is looking increasingly risky.