GM says United States import tariffs could mean ‘smaller’ company, fewer jobs

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In comments expressing concern over Trump's proposed 25 percent tariffs on imported cars, GM was joined by numerous auto and auto parts industry representatives anxious about the direct and spillover effects.

The administration in May launched an investigation into whether imported vehicles pose a national security threat, and US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose a 20 per cent vehicle import tariff.

The Trump administration has provoked many an eye roll by justifying a threat to impose auto tariffs based on national security, but the North American subsidiary of Toyota (TM) warned Friday that Trump tariffs on autos would actually undermine national security. "Even the Toyota Camry, the best-selling auto in America, made in Georgetown, Kentucky, would face $1,800 in increased costs", Toyota said in a statement.

"We believe the resulting impact of tariffs on imported vehicles and vehicle components will ultimately harm U.S. economic security and weaken our national security".

For example, the UAW said the auto industry's huge influx of investment in Mexico has siphoned and "weakened our national economy", while the trade imbalance with Canada, a high-wage country like the US, is modest.In a statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department has fielded about 2,500 comments on the tariff investigation, with public hearings set for July 19 and 20. The president has cited national security concerns as the reason for slapping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, drawing retaliatory tariffs from the European Union, Mexico, Canada, Turkey and India.

According to industry sources, the Trump administration is hoping to complete an investigation into the national security implications of auto imports ahead of midterm congressional elections to be held in November.

GM also warned that the tariffs would hurt investment, undermining the U.S. role in the global industry.

The company said that Trump has repeatedly praised the automaker for investing in the U.S., including a new US$1.3 billion joint venture assembly plant in Alabama with Mazda Motor Corp.

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The proposed tariff has already prompted widespread criticism from various organizations and manufacturers of the North American auto industry. Flavio Volpe, the president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, said the tariffs would cause "carmageddon" and see the industry "grind to an immediate halt".

In an interview with Maria Baritromo that aired Sunday morning on Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures", Trump said his political supporters are a close mirror of Harley's customer base - and they are unhappy with any plan to expand overseas production.

If GM were to try to absorb the additional costs, it would have less money to invest in popular vehicles that sustain manufacturing jobs, or toward pivotal technologies including electric and self-driving cars.

Studies estimate that tariffs could increase the price of an imported $30,000 vehicle by about $6,400 and cause up to 195,000 US workers to lose their jobs, JAMA said. That same day, the largest nail manufacturer in the U.S.

Among the US vehicles that GM builds overseas are the Buick Cascada, which is assembled in Poland, and the German-made Buick Regal.

GM issued the warning in comments filed with the U.S. Commerce Department Friday.

The US Commerce Department did not immediately comment Friday.

"America does not go to war in a Ford Fiesta", the group said.