DETROIT -- President Donald Trump is headed to Michigan this week to speak at a Dana Inc. drivetrain parts plant one day after he's slated to sign a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Trump is expected to deliver the speech Thursday at Dana's facility in Warren, Mich., according to a company spokesman and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. Late Sunday night, a White House official confirmed the president’s plans to visit.
The Dana plant in the Detroit suburb is the former U.S. Manufacturing Corp. facility that the auto supplier bought in February 2017 in a $100 million all-cash deal. Reuters reported Friday that Trump will sign legislation authorizing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Wednesday at the White House.
The Dana plant is steeped in U.S. manufacturing and military history, having been an Arsenal of Democracy plant that pumped out tanks for Allied forces during Wold War II.
In September 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the former Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Dana spokesman Jeff Cole said Sunday. It was the last time a U.S. president visited the plant, Cole said.
The Republican president's planned visit comes amid his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate over soliciting foreign help in his re-election campaign this year.
"Politically, it's probably a very calculated move on their part, the timing of it," said Hackel, a Democrat who has been briefed on the president's visit. "It's a very wise decision to come to Macomb County."
Trump campaigned in 2016 on repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement and forging a new trilateral trade pact with the United States' northern and southern neighbors.
Dana's 800,000-square-foot facility in Warren employs 800 workers who manufacture vehicle axles and driveline shafts, housings and assemblies for vehicles produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.
"Dana has been supportive of the passage of USMCA and is looking forward to the president signing the legislation into law on Wednesday," Cole said in an email to Crain's.
Dana, one of the oldest suppliers in the auto industry, dating back to 1904, engineers axles, driveshafts and thermal products for conventional, hybrid, electric and off-highway vehicles.
The supplier is based near Toledo, Ohio, and ranks No. 33 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global auto suppliers, with worldwide sales to automakers of $8.14 billion in 2018.