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Ford Motor Company: An Exporting Powerhouse


Forty years ago, nearly all Americans purchased their cars from three, or perhaps four, manufacturers, all based in the U.S. Foreign manufacturers were just beginning to show signs of growth. There was competition among the major automakers in those days, but nothing like today, where more than a dozen carmakers compete aggressively in the market.

Data published on April 1, 2015 by the Wall Street Journal showed U.S. market share as follows: General Motors at 16.2 percent; Ford with 15.2 percent; Toyota at 14.6 percent; Chrysler at 12.5 percent; Nissan with 9.4 percent; and Honda at 8.2 percent. While those six manufacturers accounted for about three-quarters of the market, a large number of other brands divided the remaining quarter of sales.

While Ford was second on that list, the company is pleased with its position in the global marketplace. Ford is an exporting powerhouse, having shipped 370,000 to 400,000  automobiles from the U.S. in recent years. From 2009, in the depths of the recession, to early 2014, its exports rose by 50 percent.

Yet, it was not until early 2015 that Ford began exporting Mustangs. Produced by 3,000 employees working two shifts in the Flat Rock, Michigan plant, the Mustangs will eventually be shipped to 100 different markets. Ford Trading Company has added 100 jobs in Portland in part to facilitate shipping these vehicles to Asia. European-bound Mustangs will ship from Maryland.

As with all auto exports, Ford will certify that the Mustangs meet requirements in the markets of end-use, and will complete necessary customs documentation.

Ford has had some success exporting to China, the nation that accounts for an outsized share of the U.S. trade deficit. In 2014, Ford sent 9,000 Ford Explorers to China from a plant in Chicago.

Ford believes that the proposed TransPacific Partnership trade agreement is important to securing a fair playing field for international trade, and combating foreign currency manipulation. The company says that currency manipulation in certain Asian nations makes U.S.-made goods less competitive in the global marketplace, a view that is fairly broadly shared among business leaders, labor unions, and even many policymakers.

While continuing to seek improvements in public policy, Ford has shown every indication it will continue to be aggressive in pursuing growth of its U.S. exports.