GM says US import tariffs could mean 'smaller' company, fewer jobs

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A 25 percent tariff on auto imports would cost American consumers $45 billion per year, according to The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group of the leading carmakers, including Toyota. President Trump has ordered that department to investigate imported cars and auto parts as a national security threat, which could lead to new tariffs.

Toyota Motor filed separate comments opposing the tariffs on Friday saying they would "threaten United States manufacturing, jobs, exports, and economic prosperity".

It plans two days of public hearings on July 19-20 and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week he aimed to wrap up the probe into whether imported vehicles represent a national security threat by late July or August.

Fox News Automotive Editor Gary Gastelu on General Motors' efforts to make Buick more appealing to millennials and the impact of tariffs on GM. Earlier in the year, the president announced that his administration would impose tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel.

"Engaging in trade wars with our allies would diminish, not enhance, US national security, jobs, and prosperity".

Although GM remains committed to the American market, where it operates 47 manufacturing facilities and 25 service part facilities, employing over 100,000 Americans, tariffs undermine the automaker's ability to compete globally. Hearings are now scheduled for July on the issue, with June 29 being the last day to file comments on the proposed tariff.

The move outraged Japanese automakers, which have invested billions of dollars in United States plants that employ tens of thousands of workers.

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And as the president continues to ratchet up the rhetoric on imposing tariffs to "make America great again", and protect our "national security", the noose is tightening around the necks of large and small companies across the country and the globe.

As GM alludes to in its letter, the threat of more tariffs comes at a sensitive time for the company. Trump blasted Harley-Davidson's plan to move production of European-bound motorcycles offshore as waving the "white flag".

Now, the Detroit-based maker of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles is warning that additional tariffs - on top of those recently slapped on steel, aluminium and Chinese products - could hurt GM and ultimately its customers. The company said that overall US auto sales could fall by 2 million cars if automakers pass on the cost of the tariffs.

Still, 30 per cent of the vehicles GM sold on the United States market in 2017 were manufactured overseas, according to the Michigan-based Centre for Automotive Research.

Both GM and Toyota warned that USA consumers would bear the brunt of increased costs.

Friday was the deadline for comments on the proposed tariffs. Detroit's "Big Three" and other manufacturers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, export vehicles from US factories to overseas markets.

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