DEARBORN (WWJ) – Ford is moving production of the Focus and C-Max out of its Michigan Assembly plant, leaving workers at the Wayne, Michigan plant in limbo.

“We will move production of the next-generation Ford Focus and C-MAX, which currently are built at Michigan Assembly Plant, beginning in 2018,” read a brief statement from Ford. “We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations.”

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Ford is not saying where the next generation Focus will be produced, but there are reports quoting UAW sources that the product is being moved to Mexico. Many car companies have adopted a strategy for making lower profit vehicles, like small cars, in places where costs are lower.

Sales of the C-MAX hybrid are down 16 percent in the first half. The Focus–which is an updated product–has seen its sales off 3 percent year to date.

“With relatively low prices, people are not demanding small vehicles,” said Jay Baron, CEO of the Center for Auto Research.

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Talks between the UAW and Ford will begin July 23rd. UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, in a Facebook post, saying this will be a major topic of those talks.

“We are extremely confident that a new product commitment will be secured during the upcoming 2015 negotiations and that the Michigan Assembly Plant will maintain a full production schedule,” read the post.

In spite of this announcement, we want to ensure both the membership of Local 900 and the community that UAW members will continue to produce world-class quality vehicles with pride and passion now and beyond 2018, which remains a tradition of all United Auto Workers.”

Ford recently eliminated the third shift at Michigan Assembly, cutting 700 workers.

The plant used to be called Michigan Truck. It was converted to small car production using part of a $5.9 billion federal loan. That change was hailed by President Obama in a visit to the plant earlier this year.

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