Trump touts Ford investment -- but deal was agreed to in 2015

WAYNE, Mich. -- The White House drum roll began early on Tuesday with a tweet from President Trump.

“Big announcement by Ford today. Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to U.S.  JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” he wrote.

And it happened just three weeks after Mr. Trump met with auto industry executives, as Press Secretary Sean Spicer was quick to point out.

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Kristin Dziczek

CBS News

“This adds to the growing wave of positive jobs news under the president,” Spicer said on Tuesday.

But the automaker says that its billion-dollar investment at three facilities is really more about plant modernization, and that actual new production jobs come to about 130.

The new investment was actually agreed to during 2015 labor negotiations, when Barack Obama was president.

So is the announcement big news?

“Well they are big investment dollars, but they are dollars we’ve know about since 2015, by and large,” said Kristin Dziczek with the Center for Automotive Research.

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Joe Hinrichs

CBS News

“Largely what we have seen this year is re-announcements or finalized announcements that have been previously made,” Dziczek said.

After seven years of solid growth, production jobs in the U.S. auto industry have reached a peak.

But Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president of Ford, says news of any growth is still liable to get a warm welcome.

“Clearly we know there is a microscope around auto investments and manufacturing jobs. And we’re proud of the fact that we made more cars in the U.S. than anyone else,” he said.

The company says further expansion will depend on how successful the White House and Congress are in passing tax reform and a big infrastructure bill. An executive told CBS News that Ford will be watching those efforts very closely.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.