The president looks determined to curb car imports into the US.
Not for the first time, President Donald Trump isn’t happy with Germany. During a NATO summit, the president told EU leaders that “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to German news outlet Der Spiegel. His ire is focused on Germany’s trade surplus. Speaking with EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk, Trump reportedly said of the Germans: "Look at the millions of cars they’re selling in the US. Terrible. We will stop this.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has vented over German car sales, or indeed foreign carmakers in general. Earlier this year, he announced that he wanted a 35 percent import tax on BMW models assembled in Mexico with the aim of encouraging manufacturers to move their assembly plants to the US. “I would say to BMW if they want to build a factory in Mexico and sell cars to the US without a 35 percent tax, they can forget that,” Trump said at the time. On the campaign trail, Trump said that tax would be applied to any car imported into the US. After initially stating that it would move its small car production to Mexico, Ford later scrapped plans for the $1.6 billion plant after Trump threatened GM.
While plenty of German cars are imported into the US, the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen all have significant manufacturing facilities in the US. Prior to winning the presidency, Trump had a penchant for BMW-built Rolls-Royces, but must now be content with riding around in his new armored limousine.