Trump Angers the Germans; BMW Won't Pull a Ford With Its Mexican Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
trump angers the germans bmw won t pull a ford with its mexican plant

After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.

In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.

The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing.

“If you want to build cars in the world, then I wish you all the best. You can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay 35 percent tax,” Trump told Bild (via Reuters), before singling out an automaker with future Mexican plans.

“I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 percent tax, then you can forget that.”

Trump’s latest warning comes after similar remarks to U.S. and Japanese manufacturers. BMW plans to build the next-generation 3 Series at a Mexican plant starting in 2019. The facility, not yet built, carries a $1 billion price tag.

However, unlike Ford, which recently kiboshed plans for a $1.6 million facility south of the border, BMW isn’t about to be swayed by threats.

“Trump’s comments aren’t really a surprise,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, head of BMW’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brand, told media at a Munich press conference today, according to Bloomberg. Schwarzenbauer said he saw “no reason” to pull a U-turn on the company’s plans.

German auto industry association VDA president Matthias Wissman took a similar tone, stating, “We take the comments seriously, but it remains to be seen if and how the announcements will be implemented by the U.S. administration.” The industry head said he anticipates pushback from U.S. Congress on any tariff proposal, given the long-term consequences of such a move.

While industry types kept things civil, the government was having none of that. In the same Bild report, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the U.S. should focus less on attacking the competition, and more on building cars that people might actually want to buy.

Oh no he didn’t!

No doubt, German automakers are playing the waiting game while keeping an eye out for concrete policy from the incoming administration. Meanwhile, BMW already plans to boost production at its Spartanburg, South Carolina SUV plant to 450,000 vehicles per year, up from 411,000 last year.

[Image: BMW Manufacturing Co.]

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  • Ect Ect on Jan 17, 2017

    Now, now, schmitt trigger, don't judge too hastily. He gets intense competition from mtmmo....

  • Russification Russification on Jan 18, 2017

    the only people who are going to have money left to buy cars are where governments have space on their balance sheets to widen out consumer borrowing. that would be the asia region. and before they have sucked all the water out of the ground to support non performing housing capacity expansion, they'll need to painstakingly groom those taxpayers and borrowers to the finer qualities of stealing money with a generous upfront advance on their development. the game hasn't gotten old yet, but they are sure cycling through at a faster clip.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird In 1986 the Yugo was listed as $3990, which was the lowest priced car in America at the time. The base Hyundai Excel was listed at $1k more at $4995. I knew someone at the time who purchased a base Excel hatchback in red with a four speed. I think he added an aftermarket stereo. He was trading in a Renault Alliance that he purchased a few years earlier for about $5k.
  • SCE to AUX Good summary.I still think autonomous driving should be banned until some brave mfr claims Level 5 capability, and other distractions like games and videos should only be available for stationary vehicles.As for the A/C, I just turn a knob in my Hyundai EV.
  • MrIcky My bet is flood.
  • Lou_BC "A Stellantis employee recommended the change after they had a near-miss with an emergency vehicle they couldn’t hear."I was at a traffic light and the car next to me had the stereo cranked. My whole truck was vibrating. A firetruck was approaching lights and sirens. They should have seen it since it was approaching from their side. Light changed and they went. It was almost a full on broad-side. People are stupid. A green light at an intersection does not mean it is safe to go. You still have to look especially at a "fresh" green. Idiots run the light, an emergency vehicle is coming, or it's icy and vehicles can't stop.
  • Lou_BC My kids drove around in a 2 wheel drive Chevy Colorado crew cab I bought off a neighbour when they were moving to Alberta. We kept it 4 years but sold it recently due to various engine codes popping up and the engine sounding more tired. It was one of the inline 5's known to have soft valve seats. All I had to repair was new front brakes and rotors, a wheel bearing and a battery. Both kids wrecked a tire clipping a curb. My oldest backed into it with his pickup which required a grill and headlight replacement. We bought a 2008 Corolla as a replacement for my 19 year old. It came with 4 new summers and a set of decent winter tires on rims. We'll run that until it looks like it will implode/explode. My oldest currently has 3 Cherokees (2 for parts), an F150 "Jelly bean", and a Mercury Grand Marquis. Insurance is very expensive for young drivers. That's why beaters can save some money. I haven't put them on my new truck's insurance since that would add around 90 per month in costs. I'll add my oldest to it temporarily so he can use it to get his "full" driver's license.