Ahead of his inauguration on Friday, US president-elect Donald Trump has taken on the Mexican car industry, saying that cars built in Mexico and imported into the US will face a 35% import tax.
Mexico has experienced a considerable boom in its car industry in recent years, as manufacturers look to take advantage of cheaper labour and ease of trade access into the US, which, according to some - including Trump - is to the detriment of American car-building jobs. The decline of the city of Detroit is a prime example of this.
Manufacturers have responded in a variety of ways, and as Trump carves his way into American history, the car industry looks for the moment to be his biggest target.
Trump v Hyundai
Trump’s vow to introduce a 35% import tax came shortly before Hyundai raised its investment in the US from just over $2 billion, to $3.1bn (£2.5bn) over the next five years, says Reuters.
Currently, Hyundai builds more than half of its US model range domestically, and has facilities in Alabama, Michigan and California.
Statement from Hyundai to come.
Trump v BMW
BMW has been more troublesome for Trump; the president-elect took on the car maker directly, criticising the Munich-based brand for its current Mexico plant and plan to expand its manufacturing operations there.
A German news site reported that Germany’s deputy chancellor advised the US to “build better cars,” when asked how the US could ensure more American cars are bought in Germany.
BMW said: “The BMW Group is very much at home in the USA. We have a deep level of localisation and employ both directly and indirectly almost 70,000 people in the US. Our US production last year hit 411,171 X [SUV] models. This makes the plant Spartanburg in South Carolina the BMW Group’s largest factory worldwide."
"The BMW Group plant in San Luis Potosí will build the BMW 3 Series Sedan starting from 2019 on. The production is planned for the world market. As such, the plant in Mexico will be an addition to existing 3 Series production facilities in Germany and China.”
Trump v Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz’s future plans to share assembly in Mexico with Renault-Nissan caught Trump’s attention; Mercedes was lumped in with Trump’s criticism of German brands, as well as Germany on the whole.
Mercedes hasn’t backed down on the plans, as Germany’s deputy chancellor appears to be defending the German car industry – and immigration policy - overall.