Ford Gets Cold Feet, Pulls Plug on Multibillion-Dollar China-Backed EV Battery Plant

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The Ford Motor Company announced Monday that it is pausing construction on a massive electric battery plant in Michigan that involved a Chinese EV battery company. Notably, the plan had been originally considered for Virginia, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin opposed it due to China's potential influence in the plan, arguing that "CATL and the Chinese Communist Party would have full operational control over the technology."

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had no such qualms, however, and welcomed the plant with open arms as her state government pumped $1 billion into the project.

It’s not clear why Ford got cold feet:

Ford said in a statement to FOX Business that work on the factory had been paused and spending would be limited, but declined to pinpoint the exact considerations that factored into the decision. The Detroit-based company also said it hadn't made a final decision about the project despite repeatedly defending it for months.

"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," Ford spokesperson T.R. Reid told FOX Business. "We haven’t made any final decision about the planned investment there."

Ford had initially planned on spending upwards of $3.5 billion on the project in Marshall, Michigan. It was hoped it would produce at least 2,500 jobs.

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Concerns had been raised by multiple groups, including the House Ways and Means Committee, about the wisdom of partnering with the Chinese on such a critical project. A group of House Republicans wrote a letter earlier in September to Ford CEO Jim Farley blasting the plan:

"While Ford has labeled this project a 'commitment to American manufacturing' and asserts it will create 2,500 new American jobs, we are concerned that Ford’s partnership with a Chinese company could aid China’s efforts to expand its control over United States electric vehicle supply chains and jeopardize national security by furthering dependence on China," they stated in their letter.

"Should China gain control of domestic electric vehicle production, the United States would be exposed to serious national security risks at a time of escalating geopolitical tensions."

Not surprisingly, the United Auto Workers Union, which is currently on strike against General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford, was infuriated by the news:

Here's the rest of the tweet:

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This is a shameful, barely-veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs. Closing 65 plants over the last 20 years wasn’t enough for the Big Three, now they want to threaten us with closing plants that aren’t even open yet. We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom.

Although Ford has thus far not given an exact reason for the shutdown, one has to ask why such a plan was considered in the first place. The People's Republic of China is our number one competitor in the world, and should relations deteriorate further, it's not wise or strategic to put them in a position of such power in our crucial automobile industry. 

Couldn't they find an American company that could do the job? 

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