Major automakers worry about Trump ‘grenade’ – auto tariffs

Donald Trump

Significant automakers are hopeful on the outlook for the U.S. economy and auto sales, but a huge concern remains – will President Donald Trump throw a “grenade” into the auto sector by imposing sweeping tariffs of up to 25 percent on auto-related imports?

The industry is in “wait-and-see mode,” however the tariffs would be a problematic, Bob Carter, head of U.S. sales at Toyota Motor, informed Reuters on Wednesday.

“If the tariff happened on the auto industry, quite frankly that’s pulling the pin out of the grenade,” he stated in a conference on Tuesday held in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show. “I don’t believe the U.S. economy can run out of the room fast enough if that occurs.”

Carter stated in an interview he was hopeful that the Trump administration would decide against tariffs, yet “uncomfortable” because of the president’s decision in 2018 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump ran for office in 2016 on a protectionist platform intended at shoring up U.S. manufacturing jobs. He stated in the past he was thinking about imposing tariffs on autos and auto parts of up to 25 percent.

In February, the U.S. Commerce Department sent recommendations to Trump, which automotive officials expect to include at least some tariffs on fully assembled automobiles or on critical technologies and components associated with electric, automated, connected and shared automobiles.

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