(Adds details of meetings, attempt to reach Trump spokeswoman)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON Oct 5 Ford Motor Co Executive
Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said on Wednesday he has met with Donald
Trump to talk about the Republican presidential candidate's
extensive criticism of the automaker's investments in Mexico.
Ford told the Economic Club of Washington that he thought
Trump's criticism of the No. 2 automaker's foreign investments
were "infuriating and "frustrating" because of the company's
extensive investments and employment in the United States. Trump
has threatened if elected to impose hefty tariffs on Ford
imports from Mexico.
Ford told reporters after the event that the session with
Trump was a "great meeting" that took place a few months ago.
"He was very thoughtful, asked good questions," Ford said of
Trump. "He certainly knows the facts." Asked if Trump had
changed his mind about his criticism, Ford did not directly
answer but said, "The campaign trail is a different animal than
anything I'm ever familiar with."
A person briefed on the matter said the meeting took place
in New York this summer at the real estate mogul's Trump Tower.
The automaker had previously invited Trump to visit its
headquarters at Dearborn, Michigan but he has not taken the
company up on the offer.
Ford rejected the criticism from Trump, noting that it
employs more U.S. workers and builds more vehicles in the United
States than its rivals. "We should be celebrated I think in some
ways as the great American car company," Ford said. "We make
more cars and trucks here than anyone else."
Ford announced last month that all of the company's
small-car production would be leaving U.S. plants and heading to
lower-cost Mexico, drawing another rebuke from the White House
Ford has repeatedly said no U.S. jobs will be lost because
of the move -- and it will produce two new vehicles at a Detroit
area plant that built the small cars. Trump called Ford's
decision "horrible." He has criticized Ford's Mexican
investments for more than a year and vowed to pressure the
automaker to reverse course if elected. "We shouldn't allow it
to happen," Trump said.
Trump has also repeatedly misstated Ford's plans at times,
wrongly suggesting last month Ford would "fire all of their
employees in the United States."
Many major automakers have announced big expansions in
Mexico, where labor rates are much lower than what U.S. workers
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately comment.
Last year, Ford said that chief executive Mark Fields had
written to Trump to explain its investments in Mexico.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alistair Bell)