Republican presidential nomineeDonald Trumptried to score part cheappolitical points last weekwhen he claimed -- falsely --that Ford motor plans come "fire all their employees in the united States and also ... Move to Mexico." mark Fields, Ford"s chief executive, wouldn"tlet him get away through such nonsense, though, telling CNN,"It"s really unfortunate once politics gain in the method of the facts."

What Ford does plan to do isshift manufacturing of small carsout the theU.S. To Mexico because it can"t do a profit on them at U.S. Job rates. Nobody"s obtaining fired. American workers instead will construct higher-profit trucks and also SUVs.

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Buthere"sa legitimate questionTrump -- and every American -- need to be asking instead:Whatever occurred to the $5.9 billion taxpayer loan Ford obtained from the U.S. Department of energy in the throes that the great Recession to develop fuel-efficient cars?

Ford likes come say that "didn"t take it the money" becauseunlike general Motors and also Chrysler, it didn"t need a taxpayer bailout to endure the 2008-2009 credit crisis. Yet don"t forget:Ford tapped right into a various pool of government money set aside because that the auto industry throughout those desperate times. (And those low-cost accumulation were crucial to Ford"s survival because no other funding sources to be available.)

Hoping to create "thousands of environment-friendly jobs" in the U.S. And reduce the nation"s dependency on foreign oil, the DOE under the bush Administrationestablished the$25 billion loan regimen in 2007 come encourage breakthrough of advanced an innovation vehicles that would burn much less fueland, importantly, be manufactured in the U.S. Congress sponsor the programin 2009, after chairman Obama take it office.

Ford applied for and received $5.9 billionin June 2009 (the very same month GM filed for bankruptcy) to help pay for investments in an ext fuel-efficient engines, hybrids and electric cars and also to transform two truck plants to production of cars.

One the those plants, in Michigan, switched indigenous makingFord Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators to creating fuel-efficient compactFord focus cars and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. The project, do possibleby theDOE loan,cost $550 million.Now, simply six years later,Ford states those small cars are relocating to Mexico. Beginning in 2018, the factory"s 1,200 workers are expected to buildFord Ranger pickups and a next-generation Ford Bronco SUV instead.

Ford"s decision is not inexplicable -- FiatChrysler currently gave increase on little car production in the U.S., and many other global automakers are building cars in Mexico as well. And Ford has actually been telegraphing that intentions because that months, including in talks v the UAW a year ago.

But the fact that the DOE loan came withvery particular strings bound tobuilding fuel-efficient cars in the U.S. Pipeline some with a negative taste, provided that Ford still owes the federal government $3.5 billion and also isn"t scheduled to pay it off till 2022.

But the money Ford obtained was to fund advanced modern technology projects in ~ 12 tree in six states -- not simply to produce small cars and EVsat a single plant in Wayne, Mich. Because that example, the fundshelped pay fordevelopment the Ford"snow ubiquitousEcoBoost family of engines and its use of brand-new lightweight, high-strength aluminum in the body of that is best-selling F-series pickups.

And simply last week, fields shared an ext details ofFord"s plan to spend $4.5 exchange rate on electrified vehicles through 2020, including progressed battery breakthrough and a greater focuson electrical vans and other advertisement vehicles."We desire to end up being a top player in electrified solutions, and I speak to it moving from a compliance perspective to one ofleading wherein we have the right to win such just like our advertisement vehicles."

So if Ford might be shifting manufacturing of "compliance" cars choose the plug-in C-Max come Mexico, the is doubling down on electrification for use in business fleets such as delivery trucks or commuter vans, which room builtin the U.S.

One the the requirements to obtain ATVM funding was that the project must produce a 25 percent development in fuel economic situation over 2005 levels.Ford"s passenger car fleet fuel economyimproved 27 percent, from 28.6 mpg to 36.4 mpg, between2005 and 2014, the latest numbers available, according to NHTSA"s coffee shop Public info Center. Light truck fuel economic climate improved 15.7 percent, from 21.6 mpg come 25 mpg, during that period, but that doesn"t reflect the development from Ford"s aluminum F-150, i beg your pardon debuted in ~ the finish of 2014. For 2017, the F-150 featuresan enhanced Ecoboost engine and a brand-new 10-speed transmission, enhancing the fuel economic climate even further. EPA-estimated numbers will be released later this year.

A Ford spokeswoman detailed that each individual project had actually to show a 25 percent development in fuel economy, and also that fleetwide cafe (Corporate mean Fuel Economy)ratings room not relevant to the ATVM program. She also detailed that the Michigan tree will proceed building little cars and plug-in vehicles with 2018 and also that Ford will pay turn off the loan, through interest, as required under the terms.

"As component of the loan requirements, Ford offers semiannual progression reports come the room of Energy," claimed the Washingt0n-basedspokeswoman, Christin Baker. "Our metrics have actually consistently shown that our 12 projects have actually exceeded the 25 percent enhanced fuel economy levels over 2005 levels."

The department of power doesn"t seem an especially concerned. "As the does with all its borrower (the DOE) will ongoing to work closely with Ford to recognize what influence this may have on the loan and also ensure taxpayer interests are protected," an agency spokeswoman said.

Ford to be one of five companies that received loans under the ATVM program in 2009, but two of castle didn"t work out also well. Fisker Automotive, which developed $100,000 plug-in hybrid sporting activities cars, went bankrupt after drawing $193 million of its $529 million ATVM loan, and also was later sold come a Chinese manufacturer, saddling taxpayers through a $139 million loss. Automobile Production team (VPG) planned to sell organic gas-powered vans for handicapped drivers, but additionally went bankrupt after ~ receiving a $50 million federal government loan. DOE recovered just $8 million on that investment.

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Nissan north America got $1.5 exchange rate to build an advanced battery plant in Tennessee and also produce the plug-in Nissan sheet nearby. It"s quiet paying off the loan and also won"t disclose the balance owed. California-based Tesla motors repaid the whole $465 million it got to construct its plug-in model S sedan and also related batteries.