Ford pauses $3.5B electric vehicle plant despite $1.7B subsidy

(The Center Square) – Despite $1.7B of promised taxpayer incentives for the plant and site readiness, Ford Motor Co. says it’s not confident about its ability to competitively run its Marshall electric vehicle plant.

Lawmakers and Ford said the plant would create 2,500 jobs paying an average wage of $45,136.

“We’re pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we’re confident that we’ll be able to competitively operate the plant,” Ford spokesman T.R. Reid told The Center Square in an email. “There are a number of considerations. We haven’t made any final decision about the planned investment there. There’s nothing to add, at this point,”

The Detroit News first reported the story.

The $3.5 billion factory aimed to drop the cost of EVs via lithium-iron phosphate batteries and pump out 2 million vehicles globally by 2026. Michigan has 34,380 EVs registered statewide, while Minnesota has 41,417 and Illinois has nearly 80,000. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has touted the Marshal plant as the flagship of her economic development policy.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved incentives for the BlueOval Battery Park, including a $210 million Critical Industry Program grant from Michigan’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund; $772 million in Renaissance Zone property; and a real tax exemption over 15 years; and a $36 million loan.

On top of that, lawmakers approved $750M for site readiness.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation Communications Manager Otie McKinely told The Center Square in an email: “To date, Ford has not received any CIP funding. All funding thus far has been expended to support the development of the Marshall site, including assemblage of Ford and non-Ford parcels, which would be applicable for any prospective tenant of the site.”

Rep. Sarah Lightner, R-Springport, said Democrat policies including a 100% planned clean energy mandate are hurting businesses.

“Gov. Whitmer threw $1.7 billion in taxpayer dollars at Ford to bring its new EV plant to Marshall, but even that wasn’t enough to make the company turn a blind eye toward the anti-business climate the Democrat majority has created,” Lightner said in a statement. “Their far-left policies put more red tape and higher costs on businesses. The extreme energy mandate they’re currently pushing will raise costs even further while leaving large manufacturers like Ford worried about blackouts affecting their bottom line. If this keeps up, Michigan workers will pay the price as industries suffer and opportunities vanish.”

Lightner called on the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to claw back money given, if any, to Ford for the plant if it closes permanently.

John Mozena, president of the Center for Economic Accountability, a nonprofit organization for transparent economic development policy, said this is a “perfect example” that businesses locate factories based on business factors instead of one-time government subsidies.

“Michigan’s taxpayers are supposed to be putting more money into this one plant than the legislature appropriates for the state’s public universities in a year, but that’s still not enough to overcome the realities of the automotive industry and Michigan’s broader business climate,” Mozena wrote in an email.

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