Earlier this year, President Donald Trump took a renewed interest in European tariffs after deciding he didn’t like what he saw. He argued it was time for the United States to consider a fresh tax on vehicles manufactured in the European Union to level the playing field. “If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a tax on their cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he wrote in March.
A few months later, America floated the ridiculous-sounding proposal of abolishing all automotive tariffs between the U.S. and EU. Surprisingly, Europe was highly receptive. German Chancellor Angela Merkel even directly addressed the issue by saying she would support lowering EU tariffs on U.S. car imports. The European Union now seems willing to pursue a zero-tariff solution on automobiles.
However, Trump has since changed his tune. The new rhetoric coming from the White House is that the deal, which was originally pitched by the U.S., is no longer good enough.
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.
Today we step back in time over 50 years to check out a little beige truck. Imported across the sea, it fell right into the hands of a caring buyer — one who cautiously stepped away from the American pickup truck norm. What we have here is the very beginning of a Japanese manufacturer’s truck offerings in North America; a 66-horsepower genesis moment.
It’s a Toyota Stout, from 1966.
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump
Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.
At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.
But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with [s]no[/s] limited commentary.
After years of covering the automotive industry, I’m still amused by the enormous gulf between auto enthusiasts and “real people.” (I’m talking to you, B&B!) We get excited when Honda decides to offer a manual transmission in the V6 Accord, despite the tens of buyers who will come running for it, or General Motors’ confidence to sell the Chevrolet SS here at all. “Real people” like it when there’s a less expensive way to get into a BMW M product, as well as the ability to go into a showroom and walk out the same day with the same nameplate they know and trust.
A great example of this chasm/schism is the Buick Cascada. Here’s how we imagine the reaction of each affinity group:
Auto enthusiasts/press: “Buick’s decided to rebadge an aging Opel and try to pass it off in the United States as The New Thing in the segment abandoned by the Volkswagen Eos and Chrysler 200 convertible?”
Real people: “There’s a convertible Buick now?”
It’s been another exhausting day and, after wasting precious time trying to write some sort of clever introduction, I’ve realized that there just isn’t any point in beating around the bush.
The windmill I set out to topple is thoroughly defeated and the Town and Country looks smart sitting in front of the house tonight wearing its new set of permanent Japanese plates.
I wish I could say it was a cake walk, that the Town and Country sailed through its Shaken without any difficulty, but, as usual, there were last minute problems.
Want to know more? Hit the jump for another episode of your favorite reality program: “Man Meets Bureaucracy.”
General Motors announced Thursday it will import a Buick crossover from China to the United States by the end of 2016, much to the UAW’s disappointment.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the crossover in question, the Envision, is currently produced at a facility in the Shandong province. The Buick brand itself is doing well for itself in China, where it’s GM’s best-known brand, and in the U.S., where the brand is experiencing rapid growth as of late. In both instances, the main draw for Buick is its small and medium crossovers and SUVs.
Since the last installment in this series, my attempt to get the family Town & Country officially licensed here in Japan has slogged relentlessly forward.
After a week of such little progress that I saw no need to report upon it (action was limited to the receipt of my official approval from the recycle bureau), I can begin this by saying that over the past week important things are once again happening. Notice that I didn’t write: “Important progress has been made…”
It’s Friday and once again it’s time for an update from Japan where my efforts to get my Town & Country licensed and street legal continue unabated.
Last week’s baby steps have led to modest results. My visit to the local police station netted me a parking permit on Tuesday and, although I am immensely self-satisfied at the results, I am aware that the permit’s issuance has started a 30 day countdown clock. If I cannot complete the entire registration process within that window, I will have to repeat this step of the process.
Naturally, I would rather avoid that.
The quest to complete the importation of my 2013 Town & Country continues and, if the important successes I reported on last week were great strides towards the ultimate goal, this week’s progress has been limited to a frustrating series of baby steps.
Still, progress is being made.
As most government offices were closed on Monday as Japan paused to celebrate “Sports Day,” this week’s story begins bright and early Tuesday morning when I took the certified results of the emissions and noise tests, along with my completed application for title, to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Yokohama.
Merkur? ZOMG SANJEEV Y U NO LS1-FTW?
No surprise, the auto journo that insists on everything LS-swapped is actually a big ol’ fraud. Do as he says, not as he does with TTAC’s Project Car — a 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia previously reviewed with the promise of more to come.
This 1989 Toyota Soarer Aerocabin is a rare bird, especially in the U.S. With only 500 units built, all in April 1989, the Japanese droptop is the holy combination of a lengthened Supra chassis and bippu style for those wanting to feel the wind through their hair without sacrificing privacy.
This particular example, shot in Los Angeles by Keith Charvonia of Speedhunters, is owned by Bird DePrez and his girlfriend Corinne. While it may look fairly bone stock, DePrez has given it a TTAC Approved™ mechanical massage.
Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.
Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.
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- ToolGuy "Having the dual sliders has been amazing as it let's me and my wife have our own "sides" of the van to prep for rides/races."Who goes on the traffic side??
- ToolGuy "I caught a little bit Saturday, but Sunday it seemed impossible to find on my cable. I think it was streaming on Peacock, which I have, all weekend, so I could've watched it that way. I'm not complaining, to be clear, since I could've popped Peacock on and yet I chose to watch something else."Being you sounds like a real chore. 😉
- ToolGuy If it is the longer-wheelbase version, good. (If not, it isn't.)
- ToolGuy "circumvent(ing) dealerships" should be illegal.Does "circumventing" mean spending my money there?
- ToolGuy If my head gets flatter I might consider this.