By on June 14, 2019

Image: FCA

Large U.S. companies hoping to side-step the 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods by appealing to the government aren’t having much luck. Since July, the U.S. has imposed the tariff on billions of dollars worth of goods from the People’s Republic, leading to financial fallout for automakers heavily invested in the region.

And it seems no one complained more than General Motors. Tesla, Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, and Uber also sent in official gripes in the hopes of receiving an exemption, only to have the door hit them on the way out.

According to Reuters, GM sent more than 50 requests to the U.S. Trade Representative. The automaker’s appeals fell on deaf ears, however, with the USTR rejecting efforts to remove import levies on such things as electronic controllers for high-voltage battery controls, ignition switches, and electric motor components.

Recently, the USTR turned down requests from Tesla for an exemption on its Model 3 computer, touchscreen, and Autopilot “brain.” The trade rep’s office said the components were “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025,’ or other Chinese industrial programs.”

If you’re no fan of Uber or its rentable electric bikes, you’ll be pleased to learn those two-wheeled mobility devices couldn’t wrestle themselves away from the tariff, either. Nor could Nissan, which reportedly sent in dozens of requests.

For FCA, the tariffs imposed on things like wire harnesses and the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler’s electrical power steering pump could end up costing customers more at buying time. The company said, in one request, that it will be forced to “reduce its margins, pass the additional cost onto consumers, or some combination of the two.”

Tesla, which finds itself in a far more perilous financial situation that its rivals, offered up a similar refrain. Choosing a non-Chinese supplier would have pushed the Model 3 timeline ahead by a year and a half, the automaker said.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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30 Comments on “Can’t Get No Tariff Relief: Tesla, GM, Nissan, FCA, Uber Appeals Denied...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Maybe they should stop buying all that Chinese-made junk. Notice who’s missing from this list? Toyota.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    +1. China is a hostile dictatorship. GTFO.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Good on Trump.
    Use tariffs as a tool to change Evilchina’s beheavior and join the family of civilized countries. They must stop:
    Slave labor Camps
    Child labor.
    Stealing technology
    Stealing patents.
    Devaluing their currency
    Staggering pollution.
    Spralty Islands.
    I could go on but you get the idea.
    Evil Evil country.
    Do everything you can to boycott.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      +1 Winning! MAGA. GM cars are nothing but Chinese knockdown kits slapped together in Mexico or un-happy UAW workers in the upper midwest. Sorry, Arlington, I know you are not Yankees. China is in a pickle. They can not survive with out the ability to dump their stuff at Wal-Mart. If they truly make a self supporting economy, they will produce a middle class and that will not spell well for the communist party. Its 5% elite and 95% peasants. That is what makes a dictatorship go round.

      Heck, you cant even drink the water in their Tier 1 cities.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Thank you, redapple, exactly MY thoughts too.

      There are only three things that come from China: 1) the annual flu, 2) great tasting chinese food, and 3) cheaply-made goods for those living the Wal-Mart lifestyle.

      Come to think of it, I live in Wal-Mart life-style and fashion…..

      Uh-oh.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      Waitaminute. So, prices will go up on these, which *Americans* will pay for. But not on German or Japanese manufacturers.

      So, yay? North American manufacturers trying to make cars with cheaper parts so they can compete on price but still build in the US get shafted while the foreign manufacturers get a pass?

      Meanwhile to get around tarriffs the US manufacturers look to building vehicles outside the US for the rest of the world instead of within the US.

      And, um, yay, you’re really showing China, I guess? Lots of disposable income from Americans though, so it’s probably a wash.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Did Ford apply for relief? Didn’t see them on the list so I’m curious.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          They import Lincolns TO China, and pay the retaliatory tariff to China. There’s no sense in complaining about it to the US gov’mint.

          They’re in the process of opening a Lincoln assembly plant in China, but now they can kiss off shipping any of them to the US.

          A bigger deal than importing Buicks from China is auto parts. Fortunately, automakers learned to spread around work to different suppliers, domestic and foreign. It’s just that the Chinese made parts are so inexpensive.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      China (esp. under Xi) is a hostile dictatorship, but that didn’t stop Drumpf from having his and his daughter’s cheap wares made there.

      Ironically, many manufacturers have moved their operations to Vietnam (being lower cost is a major incentive).

      Yeah, Vietnam is also ruled by an authoritarian regime, but their interests comports more w/ that of the US.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Does Uber make car parts or cars!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      There are now Uber bicycles popping up in San Diego to compete with the Bird scooters and others. The bicycle I saw was made in China, and the electronic controls that allow you to “rent” it with your smartphone are also made in China.

      A lot of our electronics are made in China, including computer chips. It looks like there will be higher prices for those chips and the devices that need them, until Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ramp up production. American hardware companies like Apple and Intel should be looking to create American production too.

      In the meantime, a shortage of electronics and higher prices will force automakers to offer more models without all the bells and whistles. Who knows – some of the cheaper models may have to go back to manual linkage instead of drive by wire for a time.

  • avatar
    Robotdawn

    Good for them. It would defeat the whole purpose to give waivers to the exact people we want to move their business out of Red China.

    The Envision can’t die fast enough. It embarrasses me GM imports such a vehicle. Pass the new NAFTA already Congress! I’d much rather this stuff be made in Mexico than China.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    As unfair as these companies claim that the tariffs are (and this could be open to discussion), an even worse unfairness would be to selectively grant exemptions to a cherry-picked roster of companies.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The last administration gave them healthcare waivers to prevent them from suffering what everyone else has had to deal with. No surprise they think they deserve special treatment.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Can’t Get No Tariff Relief: Tesla, GM, Nissan, FCA, Uber Appeals Denied”

    Gee, too bad. It’s working. Find other, non-communist sources.

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    I concur. This is good.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I wouldn’t buy Chinese made-goods from a nominal US company which ditched its US workers to make more profit by building in China, giving away their IP in the pursuit of a fast buck. Straight Chinese goods made and designed there, if they suit me, are just fine.

    But your average US citizen, judging by the comments above, blame China for what its own companies did to it.

    The logical disconnect is breath taking. But typical of people lacking in logic skills. Blame someone else for your own faults and you feel so much better. I get it.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I’m sure you already do Chinese made-goods from a nominal US company which ditched its US workers to make more profit by building in China, but it would be nice to have the option not to. The fact that politicians felt this was ever a good idea is insane. I don’t blame China for taking advantage of our stupid, corrupt and short sighted leaders.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not insane to them, it’s globalism. Build a world of interdependence and no one will want to blow each other up, or so they say.

        The cost is lower wages in the developed world and national sovereignty. Not to mention the environmental devastation in places far enough off our radar that few people here ever notice…but they couldn’t get away with it in the developed world.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          To be fair, there’s always been third world and second world pollution. The Chinese don’t burn or bury their trash, for centuries they just threw it in their rivers and it floated away to the ocean.

          The difference is that it’s no longer biodegradable trash, but man-made materials now. Five major rivers in China are responsible for over 90% of the plastic in the Pacific.

          We respond with bans on plastic straws that would end up in our landfills, while the source in China goes unchecked. Nothing is more ineffective than measures by well-meaning people who don’t have accurate information.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I don’t believe that they are stupid. They are actually carefully planning the financial well-being for them and the elites they serve.

    Corrupt? In spades, my friend, in spades. And wholly unpatriotic.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Self-interest by itself isn’t corrupt. Self-interest at the expense of others is unethical, if it isn’t specifically illegal. Short-term thinking is stupid, but lucrative.

      When executives let the quarterly results rule over the long-term health of a company, they’re rewarded by stockholders who don’t realize their investment is suffering long term harm.

      That doesn’t bother stock speculators who trade frequently on the ups and downs, but it does a disservice to those who buy and hold, and that includes institutions like retirement funds. What the exemption seekers want is protection from their own short term decisions.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ” Self-interest at the expense of others is unethical..”

        Does this mean you’d take a bullet for someone? Or would you willingly lose money in the stock market and other investment because of your concern for your fellow human being?

        IMO, self-interest is what has ensured the survival of mankind.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    All to please a bunch of idiots who won’t even buy American made products and have foreign iron sitting in their driveway.

    But eh, MAGA!

    Fools.


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