White House presses German automakers to boost U.S. investments

Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler logo

President Donald Trump pressed senior executives of top German automakers to boost their investments in the United States as the White House thinks about imposing new tariffs on European-made vehicles.

German automakers stated after the meeting they informed Trump they planned to increase U.S. investments, but cautioned they would not be able to do so if the administration imposed new tariffs.

Volkswagen and Daimler executives have stated they thought the chances that new tariffs will be imposed had been decreased following the meeting.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess stated the company was “considering building a second car plant” and was talking with Ford Motor about a broader alliance. He stated it could include VW using unused Ford space to construct cars.

“The president has a point,” Diess stated, saying officials “tried to convince us to invest more into America and we are prepared to do this.”

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche informed reporters that extra U.S. investments are contingent on conditions remaining the same. Zetsche stated the “implicit potential threat” of new tariffs had been decreased after the meeting.

BMW AG stated that it plans to invest additional $600 million at its Spartanburg plant located in South Carolina through 2021 for future generations of the BMW X models and will generate 1,000 more jobs by 2021.

Diess stated he thought the firms had “made a big step forward to avoid the tariffs”.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow were one of of those who met with the executives.

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