Car giant Ford Motor company will shift production of its new Ford Focus to China, despite intense pressure from President Donald Trump to bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

The carmaker said its new Ford Focus model for the US market will be built at an existing Chinese plant, with production starting in the second half of 2019.

The move comes after the US firm said in January it would cancel plans to build a new $1.6bn (£1.3bn) plant in Mexico, deciding to instead invest at an existing Michigan factory.

Currently, Ford makes its Focus cars in Michigan, Germany and in China.

Trump has strongly criticised major US firms for moving jobs outside America to areas with cheaper labour markets to boost profits.

But Ford said its expansion in China would not hurt US jobs. It said: "No US hourly employees will be out of a job tied to the new manufacturing plan for Focus."

The carmaker added it would save $1bn in investment costs by building the Focus in China together with cancelling plans for a new plant in Mexico.

It said the Michigan plant that will lose the new Focus production, will begin building a new Ranger midsize truck in 2018 and a Bronco midsize sports utility vehicle in 2020.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump "wants to create a tax system so that companies want to come back and bring back jobs in manufacturing here in the United States."

The move is the first major manufacturing investment decision made by new chief executive Jim Hackett, who succeeded Mark Fields in a surprise reshuffle in May.

The US auto market has seen sales for smaller cars fall in recent years, while demand for trucks and sports utility vehicles has held up.

Cars accounted for more than 50% of American auto sales as recently as 2012, but have fallen to just 37% of sales this year.