Following the announcement that Ford will invest $1.6 billion into a new vehicle assembly plant in Mexico, Automotive News reports that the plant could build a new hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) to compete with the Toyota Prius.
Ford will spend $1.6 billion on a small-car assembly plant in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, which is expected to build the next-generation Ford Focus. The Focus is currently built at the Michigan Assembly Plant alongside the C-Max, though Ford has already announced that it will cease production of both vehicles at the facility in 2018.
The new plant in Mexico is expected to create about 2,200 jobs by 2020.
In addition to the Focus, Ford could also build a next-generation hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV at the new assembly plant. Ford has pledged $4.5 billion to bring 13 new hybrids and EVs, including a plug-in hybrid truck, to market over the next few years.
This may include the “Model E,” which could offer a conventional hybrid drivetrain, as well as a plug-in hybrid and fully electric drivetrain, on the same chassis. The Hyundai Ioniq, which launched earlier this year, is the first consumer vehicle to offer all three drivetrains on a single chassis.
The Model E would replace the slow-selling C-Max. Ford applied for the Model E trademark in late 2013 and had that trademark extended earlier this year. It had been rumored that Tesla sought the Model E trademark for the car now known as the Model 3.