US President Donald Trump will visit a Ford Motor factory in Michigan on Thursday as part of his campaign tour in the state as the carmaker gears up to resume manufacturing of cars.
According to the White House, Trump is expected to take a tour of the carmaker’s Rawsonville manufacturing plant in Ypsilanti, which has been building ventilators and other medical equipment to help in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is also expected to address the workers on collaboration between Ford and General Electric. In a statement, Ford Motor said the White House asked to visit as part of the president's tour thanking businesses producing personal protective equipment. "We’re proud to assemble more vehicles in the US than any other automaker and welcome Thursday’s visit as part of Ford’s longstanding history of hosting sitting presidents and senior government leaders," the Ford statement added.
Trump's visit comes as he seeks his re-election for a second term as the US President. His visit to Ford is significant because they symbolise the industrial engine that Trump is pushing to get restarted after the coronavirus economic shutdown. Last month, Trump’s rival for presidential race Joe Biden visited Michigan and was endorsed by the United Auto Workers union for the top job. The UAW said it chose to endorse Biden because of his experience under the Obama administration during the 2009 auto bailout and 'anti-worker federal appointees' by the Trump administration.
Recently, Donald Trump had to step in to iron out differences of opinion between Tesla, the Governor of California and the Alameda County over resuming work at carmaker's Fremont factory. (Read detailed report here)
In March, Trump had slammed General Motors for failing to start production of ventilators for healthcare workers. Trump had to invoke emergency powers to force the carmaker to produce the equipments under the Defense Production Act.
Trump later shifted gears in praise of General Motors saying, "General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don't think we need to worry about General Motors."
Trump's upcoming visit comes at a time when the Big Three carmakers of Detroit - Ford Motor, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler - are preparing to resume car manufacturing after a long suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak. All three carmakers are facing an uphill task as well as cash crunch as they aim to revive the sector after a forgettable first half of the year.
(Also see pics: With 'safety first' motto, car makers rev up engine of production again)
The resumption is expected to kickstart fresh economic activity across states in the midwestern United States, a key swing area in the upcoming elections. It also comes as the US economy continues to bleed millions of jobs in the wake of coronavirus shutdowns that have dimmed expectations for auto sales in 2020. Though recent auto sales figures are something the carmakers can cheer about, it remains to be seen if they are able to sustain the growth as they tackle the challenges.
(With inputs from agencies)