By on July 5, 2018

BMW SAV assembly plant South Carolina - Image: BMW

The fresh threat of new automotive and parts tariffs from the United States has everyone up in arms. We recently published an exhaustive list of comments manufacturers and local governments made to the U.S. Commerce Department. They, along with suppliers, universally despise the idea and are doing everything in their power to convince the Trump administration to reconsider. Many are even discussing the grim prospect of layoffs and suspending investments.

However, the president remained firm on doing whatever it takes to bolster domestic production and U.S. automotive exports while the world tried to make sense of his strategy. Was this a madman playing hardball and gambling with the industry’s future, or the work of a master dealmaker forcing others to come to the table? Perhaps a little of both?

Earlier this week, the U.S. ambassador to Germany told German car executives that President Donald Trump would suspend threats to impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union if the European Union lifts duties on U.S. cars. But the wildest part of all of this is that both the automakers and the German government seem to be in support of it. 

According to Handelsblatt, Ambassador Richard Grenell told executives from Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW during a secret meeting on Wednesday that Trump wanted the EU to eliminate duties on U.S. cars imported to the bloc. In exchange, America would suspend plans to impose new tariffs on European-made vehicles and parts.

Currently, the United States imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on European cars and a 25 percent tariff on light trucks, while the the EU has a 10 percent tariff on imported American cars. German automakers began pushing for a zero-tariff deal after news of the tariff threat circulated.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the issue by saying she would support lowering European Union tariffs on U.S. car imports. “When we want to negotiate tariffs, on cars for example, we need a common European position and we are still working on it,” Merkel said. “I would be ready to support negotiations on reducing tariffs, but we would not be able to do this only with the U.S.”

Automotive News is already reporting that Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), which represents Germany’s car manufacturers, is stoked over the notion of lowered trade barriers. “But it is clear that the negotiations are exclusively being held at a political level,” the group included in its statement.

[Image: BMW]

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110 Comments on “U.S. Gives German Auto Industry Zero-tariff Proposal, Merkel Receptive...”


  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Now WHO could be against that ?
    Oh, I can think of someone…someone who calls themself Big…

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I see what you did there.

      Does this cover the VW other countries of assembly in europe?

      • 0 avatar
        Manic

        It covers whole EU, and BMW, MB, VAG asked exactly the same thing couple of weeks back, from the EU via their (German) gov.
        I just can’t see what american cars would be threat to EU OEMs at their home markets and I’m sure they see it too. Removing the tariffs would be good for them, Made in USA SUVs (X4-7, MB SUVs) can be sold cheaper in EU, a win for Germans.
        Huge trucks have so few buyers, even if they’re 10% cheaper and the rest of Made in US vehicles? Ford has factories in EU, GM completely left, Fiat sells their Italian cars but is mainly van co. nowadays.

  • avatar

    3d chess

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    People underestimate Donald Trump. Trump uses words as a weapon. His words are not the end, they are just a tool to use to get what he wants. Watch what he does, not just what he says. How did he red-pill people about Mrs. Clinton ? He called her Crooked Hillary. Jeb Bush ? Low Energy. CNN ? Fake News. Unlike recent politicians, Mr. Trump does not talk just to hear himself blab. He is working on you. And he is WINNING !
    (Trump reaches into his suit jacket pocket and pulls out two small objects. He throws two Starbursts on the table and says to Angela Merkel “Don’t say I never gave you anything.”.) Google it…

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      He’s not popular and probably going to lose Congress in the fall. You call it winning, I call it Carter 2.0.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        Don’t count your chickens before Tuesday, November 6th.
        BTW- due to expected heavy voting, Republicans are to vote on Tuesday Nov 6th, and Democrats are to vote on Thursday Nov 8th
        note to certain someone- not referring to the ‘chicken tax’ -cool your jets

        • 0 avatar
          TheTruthAboutRob

          “BTW- due to expected heavy voting, Republicans are to vote on Tuesday Nov 6th, and Democrats are to vote on Thursday Nov 8th”

          That damned lie is an attempt to corrupt the democratic process via voter suppression: Election Day 2018 is Tuesday, November 8—regardless of party affiliation.

          • 0 avatar
            TheTruthAboutRob

            I meant “Tuesday, November 6.″ Luckily, a calendar is all that is needed to set that straight.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Nope, his approval ratings are going up and are now over 50% in some polls. You need to step outside the mainstream media because they don’t want you to know that.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Trump uses words as a weapon.”

      Looks like they got their moneys worth out of Cambridge Analytica.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        It’s still a choose-your-own adventure: Cudgel, club, rapier, and stiletto are all found in the category of weapon.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        The term is “Lack of Due Care and Diligence.” Facebook’s legal department should get familiar with it as they will hear it a lot in future class actions.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lou,
        Have a read of the aricle in Handelsblatt English edition.

        I read it differently than reported by Matt.

        There’s might be more to it than meets the eye.

        1. Macron stated Trump dumped the Paris Accord and changed course with Iran so he’s thinking of giving SFA away.

        2. Trump wants EU manufacturers to invest in more plants and increase US jobs. I see this as a no go.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Great idea. Zero auto tarrifs. Now let’s homogenize the mandatory auto equipment, smog controls and safety regulations too. How great would that be, to buy a European car and import it directly into the U.S. without DOT interference?
    Has BMW had to pay the 10% tarrif to bring their U.S. manufactured cars into Europe??

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I suspect the Spartansburg plant being SUV heavy, doesn’t send much volume to Europe, even when it did produce passenger cars those were likely sold in the US anyway. The German buyers actually read the VIN.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        I don’t know what the proportion of US Made X5s to German made X5s is, but the two BMW X5 I bothered to look at while in Europe last month were made in USA.

        • 0 avatar
          barksdale

          Up until recently, all X series vehicles (except the X1) were made in SC and exported. BMW is ramping up production in China and South Africa to meet demand however.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Now if Trump can get Europe to drop their fuel taxes down to US levels you will start to see boatloads of F-150s, Mustangs, Corvettes, and Hemi Chargers heading to Europe – power to the people.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      I’m getting anxious just thinking about trying to drive an F150 around a European city.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        F-150 size isn’t as scary as it sounds. A little more coordination, checking of the mirrors, back up camera’s, etc, than a typical midsize car or minivan.

        The Opel Vivaro and Renault Grand Traffic, LWBs are just 3 inches narrower than the F-150, an 1.5 inches on each side, not counting mirrors, and wheelbases within 8 inches of the Crew Cab short bed F-150.

        F-150s aren’t designed for major US cities either, and a hassle if you’re not used to it. But totally worth it if you’re a fan, or consider the pluses.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I drove a 70 Olds Cutlass around Naples Italy for a year and a 32 ton vehicle in the heart of Baghdad. You really get used to the size, however there were streets in Naples my Cutlass just wouldn’t fit down but then agai, the Lancia I got next wouldn’t fit either. Nor the Alfa. Finally my Autobianchi A112 could take that shortcut.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Don’t worry, Thatkat09. The Europeans are a lot more devious than that. They will add no duty, no tariffs, but ENVIRONMENTAL fees for cars with engines more than 2.4 liters or some other thing that will only apply to American Cars. I wouldn’t count the Europeans out just yet to capitulating. They are a lot more deviant than you think.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Top Gear did a hilarious bit a few years back on trying to drive an old Rolls coupe and a Mercedes 600 “Grosser” around central London. For the record, a 600 is about the same length as something like a four-door full size pickup.

        youtube.com/watch?v=5GFNxvauy28

        Something that big isn’t all that difficult to handle in traffic. The problem is parking. Hell, finding a parking spot for my old LeSabre in downtown Denver was a bummer. I couldn’t imagine it in some full size truck. For better or worse, big trucks are mainly for folks who live in the suburbs or the country.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “For better or worse, big trucks are mainly for folks who live in the suburbs or the country.”

          @FreedMike – I prefer driving my truck *to* Vancouver as opposed to driving it *in* Vancouver. It is a nightmare to park or find a place to park since real-estate is at a premium, parking lots and spaces are small.

          I’d like to see the EU drop all tariffs if for no other reason than to show some of the dudes on this site that not everyone on this planet wants to drive a 20 foot long F150.

          • 0 avatar
            Tele Vision

            @ Lou

            Better yet, try driving a Suburban with Alberta plates in Vancouver. I had to pick the lane I needed several miles before I needed it, as no one would let me in. The moment I hit an indicator they floored their little rust-buckets into a wall of shoddy metal to keep me from changing lanes. I soon adopted the ‘HMS Queen Mary’ style of lane-changing: Indicate for a few seconds, then start easing over. It worked well, if you enjoy honking and fury and tailgaters. This happened from Chilliwack all the way to Horseshoe Bay.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            “I’d like to see the EU drop all tariffs if for no other reason than to show some of the dudes on this site that not everyone on this planet wants to drive a 20 foot long F150.”

            My gosh I actually agree with something you say, LOL! Level the playing field. Let everybody sell everywhere and see how it shakes out – well, everybody who agrees to play fair and give true access to each other’s markets.

            And while we’re at it, let’s level it for used cars. Drop the restriction where cars have to be 25 years old to import from out of the country into the U.S. He will have me at hello if he does that.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Exactly. People love to tout “Europeans dont want American cars” Yeah right! Hmmm, Bmw M4 or a Mustang GT350R that costs less and will still be worth something 10 years from now. Not a hard decision! Hmmm E63 AMG or a Charger Hellcat that will do 200mph down the autobahn – for HALF the price. Again, not a hard decision. Remember when Mustangs sold out when they started selling them in the UK? Now remove the tariffs and duties and watch how they’ll do over there.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        MoDO: You are correct. Even at today’s crazy prices people have been buying gray import American cars.

        People are also growing tired of cars like BMW getting more expensive, soft, and only offering 4-cylinder engines all the way into _very_ high price points. Americans are the better sports ‘sedans’/family man’s car (or second car) nowadays with less focus on interior surface materials and more focus on actual sports equipment like LSD’s, chassis and naturally aspirated cubic inches!!

        • 0 avatar
          rushn

          MoDo, Lockstops, what in the cracking world are you talking about?

          Besides the Mustang, which is already some of the cheapest horsepower in Europe, which American car would you promote in Europe? I was buying all the horsepower I could afford here, and still one of my main criteria was: WILL THIS FIT IN MY GARAGE?! Or down any one of the streets, be it in the cities or mountains.

          You two must have traveled to Europe through postcards on your friends’ fridges.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Crossovers my friend. They wont be selling cars in America much longer…forget Europe. But Crossovers are catching on over there and we build a ton of them with already Euro tax friendly engines to boot.

          • 0 avatar
            rushn

            @Art Vandelay

            Sure, they are catching up here (your over there) but not nearly at the pace and also, which American company’s crossover are you betting on?

          • 0 avatar
            MoDo

            rushn – if your roads can handle S-class, E-class, 7-series, 5-series etc you can handle Dodge Chargers & Challengers, Camaros and Mustangs.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          The only American sports sedans on sale now are the ATS/CTS; both of which are abject failures precisely because of this misguided focus. The SS was canned because it was unsustainable for future crash regs and fuel economy. All the Cadillac Alpha platform sports sedans are outsold by the warmed over Fusion called the Lincoln MKZ.

          It is true that, for example, the Mustang is the top selling sports coupe in Germany, but just as Americans like American cars, Europeans like European cars… the idea that an ATS would do well in Europe with lower prices is laughable.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            That’s why I wrote sports ‘sedans’: cars like the Challenger and Camaro are huge enough to fit kids in the back and therefore can be rationalised with some good old-fashioned man-math. Many are bigger than 4- and 5-door cars here.

            Every American brand has some great sports car or muscle car offerings from Corvette, Mustang, Cadillacs to the Camaros and Challengers, even Chargers.

            Lots of people would in fact find the Pacifica cool too, a certain niche would love the huge US SUVs, and you’d be surprised how many people are willing to pay a premium to piss off other Europeans by driving an American pickup truck. And remember that Europe is tax-crazy and that means that there are also chances for big tax deductions and therefore some people are able to afford big pickup trucks when they buy them for their company.

            Size of the car doesn’t matter in many parts of Europe. And not all European cars nowadays are tiny. Audi Q7s, Range Rovers, big station wagons are everywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Americans like American cars, Europeans like European cars”

            @sportyaccordy – I’d have to agree with that statement. Recent immigrants to Canada tend to prefer the vehicles that they are familiar with. I have neighbours that are German and their yard is full of BMW’s(son and dad autocross),and the wife has a Volvo SUV. The only “domestic” concession is an old beat up 3/4 Chevy 4×4 with 2 Honda dirt bikes in the box.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “MoDO: You are correct. Even at today’s crazy prices people have been buying gray import American cars.”

          as if the dozen or so people who do that are indicative of anything.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            You’re right, there is a niche for almost anything. That isn’t proof. But it’s impossible to know for sure. I’d say that having a very large proportion of people (IMO) buying those US vehicles for an exorbitant price and in most countries with very high effort to get them registered, most often with high risk in that regard too is indicative of demand in at least some sense.

            Remember: in most European countries the taxes are incredibly high and therefore it is rare for anyone to be willing to take a hit on high prices or especially more taxation. So with even that many people going for US cars there is a message there. Compared to how few people care at all about cars, most only wanting the best deal to fulfil their needs, the number might not be so low after all.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Lower European fuel taxes would help, but the would need all of the member states to repeal their displacement regulations and also homogenize fuel economy requirements.

      Even then many US cars would be too big, and the government would probably establish some sort of size-based tax.

      I don’t know if they will ever buy big vehicles that are quintessentially American, but you’d certainly see more American muscle cars and also more US-built BMW’s, Mercedes, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Stingray,
      The EU are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions. I can’t see the EU with US pricing.

      The EU has the most advanced transport network in the world. That will cost more to maintain than US transport infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Big Al, The EU had high fuel taxes well before there was any concern about CO2 – and if they were really concerned about air quality they sure were slow in implementing unleaded fuel, catalytic converters, and sure were wrong to promote diesels. Air quality concerns are just a cover for what the EU is really most concerned about: which is how to tax citizens to support the lavish welfare state – and high fuel tax is very popular due to its inelastic demand (i.e. people still buy it when the price is high)

        • 0 avatar
          tinbad

          Lol, I have lived in the Netherlands for 20 years and now 7 years in the US. It’s true that fuel tax is higher in Europe, actually a lot higher in the most progressive countries like NL, but other than that the taxes you pay average to about the same in the US, especially if you include “hidden” taxes like tips (really, you won’t pay your service people a wage they can live off?) or special interests (you need a lawyer for anything because your laws are so complicated and there’s 3-4 levels of them: local, state, federal). Being a business owner can be a complete pain here because of this. In NL, I can start a business and do taxes digitally without needing an accountant or lawyer. The biggest difference IMO is that in Europe the common man gets a lot more back from the money they pay in, the US seems all about subsidizing big industries and corporations who lobby the most.

          • 0 avatar
            lon888

            Coming from a person that works in international trade – Amen tinbad. Keep spreading the word.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Tinbad, Of course it helps that NATO lets the US pay for most of its defense, but you are absolutely correct that US taxes and regulations are crazy subsidy for lawyers and accountants.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Stingray,
            Why would countries torn apart by Wars within the life time (still) of many want to militarise?

            Think about it. We put alot into defence, but we profited from it.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Auto Tariffs are quite possibly the biggest threat to the auto industry right now. Anything that stops them from happening has my support.

  • avatar
    arj9084

    Wait, Trump is bad, Trump proposed huge tariffs/trade war, and now Trump proposes no tariffs, so are Tariffs good again?

    Zero tariffs, and standardized safety regulations (and fuel eff.) would be an incredible win indeed, if it could be possible. I’m not sure though, as we’ve moved away from the silliness the Euro’s are intent on driving with respect to fuel efficiency and pedestrian safety standards (and I have no idea what fresh stupid ideas Brussels has dreamt up with over the past 5 years).

    Maybe a future SCOTUS can rule CAFE standards unconstitutional too in a few years.

  • avatar
    TW5

    This is good news, but tigers don’t change their stripes overnight. Even if Germany successfully convinces the EU to drop import tariffs, the European economy and mindset will still be geared towards perpetual trade surplus. Import tariffs will become industrial subsidies, as they have in Japan, and the global race to the bottom will continue unabated (but now at taxpayer expense).

    This could also be a feint. Germany takes the issue to Brussels, knowing it will be shot down, and then they pretend the US is unjustly targeting German industry after Germany tried to do the right thing. It’s not Germany’s fault, don’t take it out on us. Typical trade cartel gaslighting.

    Anyway, I should give Germans the benefit of the doubt, but there is a long way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      “Anyway, I should give Germans the benefit of the doubt…” echoes of 1939.
      Tigers don’t ever change their stripes. You are thinking of Leopards…LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      I hope the US ties this in with joint trade negotiations with China or some kind of an agreement between the US and the EU on what the minimums they’ll have for Chinese imports. Otherwise the European manufactures will just sell their tariff-free pipeline into the USA to the Chinese and screw over their people and the USA that way while enriching themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Correct TW5, or the Germans will tell the EU to implement 0% tariffs but suggest that they can charge “Environmental fees” for the good of the children on any engine 2600 cmc or bigger and non turbo or some other totally BS factor. So that would keep all gas V6 engines out of Europe again, all pick-up trucks. Since it will be done in the name of the children’s health, who can be against such a measure? Again, not a tariff, but a small 15% environmental Polar Bear endangerment fee, or some other non threatening, warm and fuzzy term such as Polar Bear Dreamer fees.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I do not think Europeans will want American (read cars we sell in America…They buy plenty of Ford Fiesta’s for example though) cars in significant number.

    I do think they will be fine buying American Crossovers…a market that is growing over there. Furthermore the decline of the Diesel and the proliferation of small (under 2.0 Liters) motors now in US cars makes them more competitive.

    If the US wants to get a foothold in the meat of the European market it will be with crossovers. And the timing is good…for 2 of the big 3 at least. Not sure where GM would sell them.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Yep, I think a Ford Escape (that little 1.5L is pretty peppy) for a Chevy Bolt would stand a pretty good chance. It also increases the chances they’d make more small vehicles in the US if the same investment can be used to sell cars overseas.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    My prediction: zero tariffs will substantially increase the number of European import cars in the US, while adding a dozen or so American products to European roads. Be careful what you wish for.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Surprised Trump offered that ,s as would mean dropping tariff that US levies on trucks…. I’m sure there is math to work it out, either that or Rex was right ?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      As someone who can’t believe Trump got elected…

      I’m not surprised. He’s a doodle, but he was pushing for a balance. Bringing all tariffs to zero gets us closer to that balance.

      While there’s good competition to be had with imported trucks, that’s not very true with full size pickups. US full size pickups are well ahead of any competition.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Right! The US will lose zero by dropping the useless Chicken tax, but can only win when Europe drops their Chicken tax. Europe has no pickup trucks to offer the US anyway.

        Except it’s clear why Europe’s policy makers are have been throwing a gigantic tantrum.
        Europe has nothing to gain from zero tariffs, but added competition for Europe’s automakers and more choices for European consumers.

        We already have all the cars Europe has to offer that are worth a darn.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          The EU has the Dmax Izuzu, Mitsubishi Triton, new Navara, Amarok.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Big Al, yes I think we’ll see competition in mid-sized.

            Ford (Ranger), GM (Dmax = Colorado), and Dodge are more than capable of competing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

            Full size, the US is way ahead.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    “Was this a madman playing hardball and gambling with the industry’s future, or the work of a master dealmaker forcing others to come to the table? Perhaps a little of both?”

    Trump’s been beating people over the head with his basic dealmaking strategy for 30 years and still many can’t (or won’t) see it: Take a hard line on a seemingly ridiculous position he no real expectation of getting and force the other side to come his way to “compromise” on a position that was his end goal all along.

    It should have been obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature that the tariff threats were intended to spook other other countries into loosening their own protections to create more balanced trade. Sounds like Germany blinked first.

    All the mouth breathing in the press about how Trump was going to destroy the economy over this. You really don’t think he understands how this stuff works?

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      He’s lost more money than he’s made. ‘Dealmaking’? He’s a whoring, multiple-divorcee who’s so horrible at business that he’s declared bankruptcy THREE TIMES. He’s an idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ……All the mouth breathing in the press about how Trump was going to destroy the economy over this. You really don’t think he understands how this stuff works?….

      No, I don’t. He does not think things through. He shoots from the hip.

      Actually, trying to be objective, compare his speech patterns from the 90s to how he talks today. Something has happened to him. He sounds like a blithering idiot in comparison.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Having said all that about crossovers above though, the Europeans stand to benefit in the short term for sure. They have many more cars subject to our tariffs then we do to theirs. If this really did trickle down to the sticker price of your average BMW or Benz, Does this put another nail into the US luxury marques like Cadillac and Lincoln? And if Japan is left out what about Lexus. They have much to gain almost overnight.

    The US stuff going the other way…well that is a long game. I see no reason vehicles like the Escape and others of its class wouldn’t sell in Europe but it will take time and if there is one thing, as much as it pains me to say that our industry has demonstrated they do not do well, it is the long game. So I am concerned. Then again, if Ford could just import some ST variants from Europe rather than having to build a plant in a NAFTA country to build cars they already build somewhere else then that could work out too. Again though, im not optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Art, the Ford Escape sells well in Europe under a different name. Ford Kanga I believe and they are made in Europe ( not sure if Germany or Belgium). So no, USA will not export too many Ford Escapes to Europe. May be some Chevy and GMC small CUVs with the 1,5 liter diesel?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s the Ford Kuga, FYI.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        There are plenty of others and it is a growing market. Point taken though, but again it is about the long game. Maybe in a couple of generations the Euro Escape is built in Louisville and exported to Europe. We still need the standards to fall into line.

        • 0 avatar
          rushn

          You do know that some of the US built European cars are exported to Asia and back to Europe?

          I asked above, but it might not be so noticeable: besides Kuga (already produced in EU as mentioned), what other American manufacturer’s SUV/crossover do you see making it over here?

          “Long game” is not a good answer for a situation where the main claim that tariffs right this moment are making it impossible for American companies to sell cars.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It seems Matt Polksy been drinking too much Trump Juice.

    Merkel stated she’s more interested in ALL manufacturers playing the same game or nothing will occur. This includes the Asian manufacturers.

    Her interest are for a lowering of tariffs, but a multilateral arrange is what is sought.

    I’ll wait thos one out.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Well I’m relieved you will wait it out. I figured a bigwig like you would be able to take some action and get the wheels moving, but apparently you are just an ordinary old $#!TBIRD dropping more crap on us from the sky.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Ford has factories in Europe, has since 1911. GM just gave up Opel that it acquired in the 1920s. Am I supposed to believe that crack Detroit executives wouldn’t have built pickup trucks there, or Mustangs or Chevrolet Caprice Clasdics

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    People who think Europeans are just salivating at the thought of tariff-free American cars are deluding themselves.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Lowering fuel prices is not going to make the big American pickups or sports cars sell any better here. American cars suffer from the gas-guzzler stigma and thus will be penalized by the upcoming CO2 tax. The enormous length and width of these cars will generally not be a problem during city driving, but finding a parking space which can accommodate them is next to impossible. I cannot even park my massive 2007 GL320 CDI in some parking spaces, which is why I have a beater Renault Twingo for urban usage.

    American sports cars and pickups are niche products in Europe and they appeal to niche buyers. These buyers have other priorities and fuel economy is most likely not on their list. The V8 Mustang outsells the 4- and 6-cylinder Mustangs in Europe because the consumers buying them are presumably enthusiasts who want that classic V8 character in their pony car. These consumers tend to have a well-paying job and often own two (or more) cars, one of which is perhaps a smaller and more efficient daily driver type of vehicle. Hence the fuel economy of their sports car is irrelevant since most of their driving will be done in the more efficient car.

    The average European is still conservative, practical and sensible-minded when it comes to their car buying choices. Personally I do not see a reason to buy a Dodge RAM or Ford F-150 when I can pretty much do the same job in a smaller, cheaper and more efficient (yet easier-to-park) pickup sich as a Mitsubishi L200 or Volkswagen Amarok. This once again leads us to my earlier claim that the majority of American cars sold in Europe are niche products for specific niche buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      No one is thinking anything beyond “niche” as “Mainstream” would be far fetched. US specialty vehicles, North American exclusives are fish out of water, but Europe is huge market.

      Cheaper fuel would promote US vehicles, including North American spec Toyotas, Nissans, etc. But I guess no one in Europe wants to pay less for fuel.

      Gas guzzlers aren’t for everyone, not even in the US, but Europe has its share too.

      Just for reference, the size of the F-150 Crew Cab short-bed for example is within 3 inches of the over all width of the Opel Vivaro and Renault Grand Traffic LWBs, not counting mirrors, within 8 inches of their wheelbase, and at least 2 ft longer.

      Not great, not terrible, but park-able in the same parking spots, mirrors folded. That’s optional, but courteous.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        To add to what DenverMike said, a Ford F150 Regular cab shortbed or a Ram 1500 with the 6’4″ bed are both 209 inches long, about the same length as an A8. Why would sensible and sophisticated eco-conscious europeans bother with boastful and wasteful American crewcabs when perfectly usable single cabs that can seat three across are available? That’s only 7 inches longer than a GL! And having driven some of the available pickups in Europe, the Rams will blow the pickups there out of the water in ride comfort department.

        There are also the Colorado and Canyon which are a bit shorter than that.

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          Well, that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone say that an Audi A8 shopper should cross shop a RCSB RAM pickup. I don’t see it happening over here, why would it over there?

          The Colorado and Canyon are similar in size to the next Ranger, right? And that one IS sold over there already. Not very often, it sells poorly, but it IS available. Chevrolet has a poor image over there as they used it to brand a few very entry-level Korean cars a few years ago and then pulled the brand a few years later after unsurprisingly poor sales. So it has the image of a failed brand. GMC is unknown and has zero brand equity. If anything it is lumped in with Opel with has next to no equity as well and was just basically given to the French last year.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        1. The European vehicle market is smaller than the US one, no matter how many times you say otherwise.

        2. Most people in Europe are actually ok with the fuel prices as in return they generally have excellent public transportation systems in return. They also in general have smaller houses, smaller garages and live closer to their employment. This is why they drive less. Not everyone in the world measures or displays success in everything by physical volume, that’s really more of an American thing.

        3. Extremely (next to none?) few families in Europe drive an Opel Vivaro or Renault Grand Trafic LWB so that’s not a great comparison vehicle for anything. The reason is that the vehicles are too large for much of the infrastructure to use them on a regular basis without hassle. For most people in the world driving is a chore, not something they look especially forward to, and something to be made as easy and efficient as possible.

        3a. The version of those vans that sell are for tradesmen over there that understand that a LWB van has WAY more cargo area than an F150 with the shortbed. For that matter most tradesmen in the US don’t buy the shortbed either if they actually use their truck for work. Most large vans in Europe are either real vans that hold stuff OR cutaways that have a tray on back with foldup sides that again hold way more stuff as well as making it much easier to access. Very few people in Europe buy a “bed full of mulch”. There is a very good reason that these vans have very short hoods, it’s the same reason their Semi’s are virtually 100% COE. That reason is space.

        4. Japanese cars don’t sell nearly as well over there as they do over here. Europe is much more inwardly focused and tend to choose their own brands over foreign ones (the same way Japan does, actually). The Japanese are not stupid, they could and can and actually do build anything that actually sells over there already.

        5. It does not really matter what Merkel and the German Automakers want or say. The tariff situation is not a country by country issue, it has to be decided by the EU as a whole, Germany can’t make the decision alone. The French for example couldn’t care less about the existing tariff as they don’t sell anything they build besides the Toyota Yaris over here and likely wouldn’t want any more cars over there to compete with theirs. There’s nothing in it for them.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The Euro vans I mentioned are just for reference, as most in Europe might not see too many US fullsize pickups upclose, much less ever driven/parked one.

          US fullsize pickups in Europe would just be an added choice, and by no means expected to set the market on fire.

          The 2+ million fullsize pickups, all brands, sold each year in the US (despite having similar to Europe, driving/parking situations in major US cities), wouldn’t translate to 500K or even 200K annual EU sales, but they should be a successful niche.

          Europe is a fairly closed market for import brands and or models, thanks to aggressive EU tariff and non-tariff barriers. I don’t see how anyone would see that as a good thing, or good for European consumers. It has created some of the worst reliability cars, not fit for export outside their extremely well protected home market.

          Peugeot, Renault, Fiat, Citroen and others, while very successful in Europe, were laughed out of the US market. This while Japanese cars were worshiped.

          Euro resistance is expected, partly since US pickups are a symbol of “America”. And Europe is a van culture, since that’s what they grew up with, all they really know, even though pickups can often times do a better, more efficient job, and of course wear many hats.

          So it might take Europe a while to come around, even to midsize pickups, which aren’t substantially smaller nor offer much better fuel economy to speak of.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I can’t believe you’re going down this rabbit hole fantasy where not only does Germany completely capitulate to our demands, but the EU lowers fuel taxes substantially because we tell them to.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Walter,
          Merkel has stated Trump’s proposition will need to be multilateral. Macron is not hapy with Trump.

          I don’t understand Matt’s omissions of crucial information. He’s quite a poor journalist and needs a dose of integrity.

          I have been pulling Matt up on his poor standard of journalism on nearly all these “trade war” articles he put out.
          I really believe its more he’s a closet Trump man.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Pickups do not enjoy the status and fascination here that they do in North America. The typical sensible pickup buyer purchases them for working/business applications. Luxury, refinement and features tend to be irrelevant for the most part.

        Again, a Dodge RAM or Ford F-Series is a niche product here. A very small portion of the market will buy them for the reasons you listed; luxury, status, refinement and so forth. These buyers are also not concerned with fuel costs or parking space issues.

        The Europeans who drive large and expensive cars are generally not concerned with fuel costs or parking space problems. They own a house or apartment with a suitable garage and if they drive into the city they will use a smaller car. An esteemed colleague at my university for example has a Mercedes S-Klasse but for trips into town he and his wife use their 2nd generation Mercedes A-Klasse.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It didn’t just happen overnight. 30 years ago, yeah pickup wore many hats, but they were mostly used for work/industry, and not the “do it all” family hauler, “luxury car”, fashion/status statements they are today.

          The first 4-door 1/2 ton (true crew cab) came in 2001 and Lariat was the highest trim, aside from some limited editions. 3/4 and 1 ton pickups have always had “crew cabs”, but they were actually bought/used for “work crews”, with minor exceptions.

          Europe could “fastrack” to fullsize pickup’s, “mainstream acceptance”, possibly, but yeah they’d have to start with straight “work trucks”, with EU consumers eventually noticing and lured in their virtues, including extreme reliability with personal use, since they really are built for industrial use and abuse, plus unmatched resale value. Value all around actually.

          All this depends on a few things, most of which US fullsize pickup manufactures have zero control over.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I doubt there is anything more than a minuscule market for personal use American trucks in Europe.

      There *might* be a market for American trucks in commercial/industrial applications (especially with factory CNG/LPG options) but it would take aggressive marketing and pricing to be successful.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        ajla,
        FWD control trucks are needed for the EU.

        An Iveco with the same dimensions as a dual cab HD with a short bed will have 14′ tray on the back, 6’6″ long.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          We have regular cab HD chassis cab trucks and vans here too.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            FWD control and 2 times the load capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            They don’t have double the load capacity.

            rabbitsvehiclehire.co.uk/vehicle/7-5-tonne-dropside/

            This truck’s payload is 3600kg (7936 pounds), other “7.5t dropside” trucks had similar capacities.

            That’s nearly exactly the same as the payload rating on a F-350 DRW chassis cab and the Super Duty chassis cabs can go as high as 12,300lbs payload.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            ajla,
            With a 16′ flatbed? That would make an HD the size of a truck with a 22-24′ flat bed and 12 tonnes plus load.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So many people…so much bullSheite

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Here are the two facts to refer to when weighing this news:

    1) Trump says he wants unilateral deals.
    2) Merkel may be receptive but can’t act unilaterally per EU rules.

    Even if the EU agreed to it, Trump might still reject it because it would be multilateral.

    This is Kabuki theater no matter how it plays out.


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