Fight Over Tariffs on Auto Imports Approaches a Deadline in Washington

First Up 04/10/19

Fight Over Tariffs on Auto Imports Approaches a Deadline in Washington
The auto industry is desperate to learn soon whether the Trump Administration will impose threatened tariffs of as much as 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts, but there’s no telling at this point what the precise outcome will be, reports Forbes. The auto industry expects to hear by May 18 what action the Administration proposes, based on the results of a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation. The Trump Administration last year cited a previously little-used rule for Commerce to investigate whether imported autos and auto parts constitute a threat to U.S. national security. On similar grounds, the Administration has already imposed tariffs on some steel and aluminum imports, which also hit the auto industry. Read more here. 

Auto Industry Hit By U.S.-Mexico Border Dispute
The U.S. auto industry is bracing for impact, as border delays with Mexican auto parts deliveries are currently experiencing "serious delays" into our country, reports The integrated North American auto industry – where parts often cross the border several times before finally being installed in an automobile – is now threatened by policy shifts for the business of automakers and suppliers on both sides of the border. This industry generates $1.7 billion in trade per day, but gridlock has dwindled the number of shipments reaching their destinations by roughly half. The Trump administration has transferred 750 border agents away from commercial processing to deal with growing immigration realities at the southern border, where a new influx of families prepare to cross into the U.S. from various troubled countries in Central and South America. Read more here. 

'Opportunity' Abundant in CPO, But There's a 'Learning Curve' for Consumers
In the Used Vehicle Outlook report from Edmunds is a graph with Google Trends data showing relative search interest for certified pre-owned vehicles since 2013, reports Auto Remarketing. While there have been ebbs and flows throughout the past six years, the general trend line has been a gradual climb in CPO relative search interest, according to the Google Trends data shared by Edmunds in the report. In its report, Edmunds said: “We’ve seen growing interest in certified pre-owned vehicles, but there is a need to educate consumers as many are unfamiliar with the benefits of CPO vehicles and their differentiation from the rest of the used-vehicle market.” Of course, there could be a big opportunity here for the industry. “Many shoppers are unaware of the benefits of CPO vehicle programs, but given the tough financial conditions in the new market, it’s never been a better time to look into them,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of industry analysis. Read more here. 

Volvo is Exploring Closer Ties with Shareholder Geely in China
Volvo AB is exploring closer ties with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. in China, in a sign the Swedish truckmaker and its largest investor are taking steps to collaborate, reports Bloomberg. “We see a lot of areas where we feel that Geely can add both insights and competence,” both in its domestic market and “certain technologies,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Lundstedt said in an interview. The CEO’s comments offer the first clues into the truckmakers’ plans since Geely became Volvo’s largest shareholder in a 3.25 billion-euro ($3.7 billion) deal in December 2017, adding to Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s growing global footprint. Li is the biggest shareholder in Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG, owns the Volvo Car nameplate and controls Lotus sports cars. Geely plans to make Lynk & Co. branded cars in Europe from 2020. Read more here. 

BMW Appoints Brand Management Expert as Mini Boss
BMW executive Bernd Koerber is the new head of the automaker’s Mini brand, reports Automotive News. Koerber, 44, succeeds Sebastian Mackensen, who now has responsibility for BMW Group sales in Germany, BMW said in a statement. Koerber takes charge of Mini as the UK-based brand readies its electrification plans with the launch of the first full-electric Mini, the Cooper SE, next year. The EV will be built at Mini’s home plant in Oxford, England. BMW also plans to build electric cars in China in a joint-venture with Great Wall Motor. He takes charge at Mini as the brand begins its push into electrification. Koerber first worked for Mini in brand management in 2003. He held a number of roles in marketing planning and product management. Read more here. 


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