Ford denied a report that it planned to build its next-generation Fusion sedan in China and ship it to North America.
Reuters reported that the automaker was to consolidate global production of midsize sedans in China in 2020 and export them to the United States and Europe.
Ford now assembles the Fusion in Hermosillo, Mexico. Fusion’s European counterpart, called the Mondeo, is assembled in Valencia, Spain.
“We have no plans to export the next-generation Fusion/Mondeo from China to North America and Europe,” Ford said in a statement.
The Ford Focus and Fusion are battling in shrinking segments as Americans continue to prefer larger trucks, SUVs and crossovers to passenger cars. Despite strong November sales, Focus sales are down 7.2 percent from last year through November. Fusion sales have fallen 22 percent so far this year.
Ford already makes the Focus for sale in China at two plants owned by its Changan Ford joint venture in Chongqing, where it also produces Mondeo and a Chinese-market version of the Taurus.
All automakers in the U.S. are considering alternatives if the Trump administration withdraws from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dissolving the 25-year-old deal could result in the U.S. levying tariffs on vehicles and parts produced in Mexico or Canada.
Last month, Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of global operations; General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne met with Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to think through the impact of ending NAFTA. Last week, Ford announced that it would shift production of a future battery electric vehicle from Flat Rock, Mich., to Cuautitlan, Mexico, in 2020. That would enable the Michigan factory to build self-driving vehicles in 2021, and another as-yet-unnamed future vehicle.