Trump's Favorite Auto CEO Will Keep Making Vehicles in Mexico

(Bloomberg) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV isn’t abandoning Mexico for Michigan, even if that’s what Donald Trump keeps suggesting.

“By the way, thank you, you’re moving to Michigan! From Mexico,” the president said to Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne on Friday during a White House summit with a dozen auto industry leaders.

Marchionne responded in the affirmative. “That’s what we like,” Trump said. “Right now, he’s my favorite man in the room. Big announcement. And I’ll tell you, the people in Michigan very much appreciate it. It’s a big deal: leaving Mexico, going to Michigan. That was very well received.”

The Italian-American automaker isn’t leaving Mexico. It’s re-purposing a truck factory to build commercial vehicles in Saltillo, one of three Fiat Chrysler assembly plants in the country. It also has three vehicle manufacturing facilities in Michigan, one of which will take over production of heavy-duty Ram pickups from Saltillo in 2020.

Fiat Chrysler announced the manufacturing shift in January and said the $1 billion investment in its Warren, Michigan, plant near Detroit was made possible by the U.S. tax cut passed a month earlier. The factory will add 2,500 new jobs.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.