Because he wants to tax the German automaker.
Not long ago, we reported that BMW would shift production of US-bound 3 Series models to Mexico starting in 2019. At the time, we noted that this could affect buyer's perceptions of the car's "German" quality if it was assembled in Mexico. Now, however, BMW may have much bigger problems than whether or not people care about where their German car is assembled. In an interview with German newspaper Bild, President-elect Donald Trump said that BMW should build its new factory in the US because this would be "much better for the company."
As we have seen, Trump has already targeted several automotive brands that intend to do business in Mexico. Ford has already scrapped its plans to build a factory in Mexico, and Trump's battle with Toyota has spilled over to impact Nissan even more. Now, BMW is the latest car company to face Trump's 35 percent border tax on cars built in Mexico. For those who don't read German, Automotive News Europe helped translate the interview with the President-elect. Trump was quoted saying that he liked Mercedes-Benz cars, having seen many of them in New York. However, he said that Germans do not buy Chevrolets at the same rate, making the business relationship one-sided.
Trump said that he supports free trade, but not at any cost. We would be quick to point out to President-elect Trump that Cadillac would be a more appropriate competitor to Mercedes than Chevrolet, and that models like the ATS-V and CTS-V consistently rank below German competitors in comparison tests, despite being very impressive cars. Trump later tweeted out "Car companies and others, if they want to do business in our country, have to start making things here again. WIN!" A BMW spokesperson said that the company is "very much at home in the US," already employing nearly 70,000 people. We will see if Trump's plans have any major consequences for BMW or any other auto manufacturers.