President Trump wants to impose a total ban on the imports of German luxury cars, according to a new report from German magazine WirtschaftsWoche. German companies point to their sizeable manufacturing investments in the United States and BMW has repeatedly pointed out that it is the largest vehicle exporter - by value - from the US.
Tariffs would presumably have a negative impact on German auto sales in the U.S., though Mercedes-Benz and its peers already manufacture some of their US-market vehicles in American factories. Previously, he promised to put an end to the "very bad" German cars.
"That German cars are a thorn in the side of US President Donald Trump has been known for some time", a Google translation of the WirtschaftsWoche article says. The report cited unnamed USA and European diplomats.
Germany's auto industry association VDA says its members exported 657,000 vehicles to North America past year, with total exports of vehicle components, cars, engines, as well as second-hand vehicles totalling 31.2 billion euros in 2016.
The report comes a week after Trump ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate auto tariffs and probe whether vehicle imports are a danger to national security. Once the dominant players in the American luxury market, they are now tier-two players behind a range of European and Asian imports, German brands in particular.
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"Most of the jobs I've seen at those temp services are those jobs provided at Mercedes pretty much if he takes those away it's going to affect a lot of people around this area", said Dajuan White, who lives in Tuscaloosa. Japanese automakers export almost three times as many vehicles to the USA, at about 1.7 million in 2017, compared to 657,000 German cars, trucks and crossovers, according to German auto trade group VDA. Make no mistake about it, that claim is nothing more than an attempt to levy upwards of 25% tariffs just as Trump has with imported steel and aluminum.
A large tariff on German luxury auto imports could reorder the ranking of sales in the United States. Another 80,000 work for suppliers, according to German auto industry group VDA.
Trump has railed against German carmakers before and in early 2017, in an interview with German newspaper Bild, had said he would impose 35 percent tariffs on imported cars.