Car maker to end U.S. production of Focus sedans as demand for small cars fades. The auto industry’s attempt to build small cars profitably in the U.S. has hit a pothole. Ford Motor Co. said a Michigan factory that assembles its small Ford Focus and C-Max wagon will end production of those vehicles in 2018 in a new setback to efforts to create a market for small cars made in the U.S. Production of the Focus will be moved outside the U.S. The move could put pressure on the United Auto Workers union to temper demands for wage increases in upcoming contract negotiations. Ford, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, although profitable, are struggling to keep pace with lower-cost Asian auto makers that now have the added advantage of weaker currencies compared with the U.S. dollar. Small cars like the Focus deliver far lower profit margins than the pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles the Motor City is best known for, but they are essential to helping car makers meet stringent fuel economy mandates. In a contrasting news announcement, Subaru is moving a parts distribution center out of Japan and into Oregon. Read more: Ford to Shift Work Abroad , Subaru selects Gresham for major distribution center
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