Auto Executives Speak on President Donald Trump
Published February 14, 2017 by Elizabeth Jeneault
Donald Trump was officially sworn into office on January 20. He now goes by President Trump and with the new title, comes a lot of power. Automakers are fully aware of that newfound power and have long been paying close attention to what Trump has had to say about the auto industry for that reason. We previously reported on Trump’s feud with Ford. Trump targeted Ford throughout his campaign over its prior plans to invest $1.6 billion in expanding production of small cars in Mexico. The company said it was doing so to further increase its competiveness. That money was going to be used to build a new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. But after Trump repeatedly called on Ford to change those plans, the company announced it was doing just that. Instead of investing that money in Mexico, Ford announced it was expanding its Flat Rock, Michigan facility. That factory will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles as well as the Mustang and Lincoln Continental, creating 700 direct new jobs. Ford isn’t the only company to fall into Trump’s direct line of fire. He has repeatedly threatened to impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported by any automaker to the U.S. market. Most recently, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were criticized by the new president. “If you want to build cars in the world, then I wish you all the best. You can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay 35 percent tax,” Reuters reports Trump said in an interview with German newspaper Bild. "I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 percent tax, then you can forget that," said Trump. Despite the threat, BMW told reporters that it was sticking to its plan to open a factory in the same location Ford was planning to. An executive said the company will invest around $1 billion in a new plant in San Luis Potosi. The factory is set to build the BMW 3 Series beginning in 2019. The company says the investment will create at least 1,500 jobs. While BMW is holding its ground, one thing is clear: Trump won’t let up. That’s why Motor Trend magazine set out to interview the top executives of several automakers at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Here’s a look at what some of them had to say.
∗ Monthly payments are only an example shown for convenience. Estimated monthly payments based on 3.9% APR, 60 month financing, and 20% down payment. Taxes and other fees are not included in price or payment. Subject to approved buyer credit. Actual purchase terms may vary. Payment calculations may not reflect actual financing terms. Down payments subject to availability, approved buyer credit and lender requirements.