Toyota Worries Tariffs Could Hurt Car Sales

First Up 12/06/18

Toyota Worries Tariffs Could Hurt Car Sales
Toyota Motor Corp. executives still fret that proposed auto tariffs could come to pass and cut U.S. auto sales by about 2 million cars a year, reports Bloomberg. Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America, told the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday that Trump’s proposed use of section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to put 25 percent tariffs on foreign cars would jack up car prices and undercut sales. The move would especially hurt foreign carmakers like Toyota, he said. Trump already cut a deal with Mexico and Canada that essentially keeps the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement in place. But Toyota still worries about tariffs because the company gets 71 percent of its U.S. sales from cars made in North America and the rest from elsewhere. About a quarter of the parts on its U.S.-made cars are imported. “I have to be hopeful,” Lentz said. “I think the president will do what’s best for the economy. I don’t think a 232 tariff on cars is in the best interest of the economy.” Read more here. 

Battle Begins Over New NAFTA Deal
Donald Trump’s push to get Congress to quickly pass his NAFTA replacement trade deal – a crucial deal for the auto industry – will require the president to take an uncharacteristic approach in negotiations: seek compromise while resisting strong-arm tactics. So far, though, Trump is sticking with his coercive instincts, threatening to nullify the existing agreement a day after signing the new accord on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, reports Automotive News. The threat, intended to spur lawmakers to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, illustrates the challenge his administration will face as it negotiates with a Democratic-led House and sets limits on changes sought by lawmakers from each party. Signed in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30 after more than a year of intense negotiations, USMCA is the biggest achievement in Trump’s trade agenda and its survival depends on whether the president can steer the agreement through fractious domestic politics. Even though it’s been signed by all three countries, it still must be ratified by each nation’s legislature – and particularly in the U.S., that’s where it can go sideways. Read more here. 

Volkswagen May Build Cars at Ford's U.S. Plants, CEO Says
Volkswagen is talking to Ford about using some of its excess U.S. manufacturing capacity to build future VW models, VW CEO Herbert Diess told reporters Tuesday after meeting with White House officials on trade. Fox News reports that Ford and VW have been in preliminary discussions about creating an alliance focused on commercial vehicles built on shared platforms, but specifics on where they would be made have not been pinned down. Volkswagen currently runs its own manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., where it produces the Passat sedan and Atlas SUV, and VW North America CEO Scott Keogh revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week that the company is scouting locations for a potential second factory that would build electric cars. Diess did not say if the use of Ford facilities would take the place of the second plant or be aimed at additional production. Read more here.

Barra Stands Firm on GM Austerity Plans in DC Meetings
General Motors Co. Chairman Mary Barra stood firm on plans to idle five plants as she met Wednesday with Ohio's U.S. senators and several of Michigan's newly elected U.S. members, reports The Detroit News. Speaking with reporters after a closed-door meeting with Barra at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman said the GM chief committed to trying to expedite negotiations with the United Auto Workers union on the future of the company's recented "unallocated" plants, including the Lordstown Assembly plant in northeast Ohio. But they said Barra did not reverse course on the decisions as they would have preferred. "Both of us want to be sure that both the company and the UAW expedite that as much as possible and get to a decision to provide some potential certainty," said Portman, a Republican. "She agreed that's a potential opportunity. Also, she has said to us that she is going to keep an open mind, but she does not want to raise expectations." Read more here. 

Jim Ellis Automotive Group Enhances Toys for Tots Partnership
The Jim Ellis Automotive Group wants everyone who comes to one of their showrooms to be in a giving mood like company leadership, reports Auto Remarketing. Jim Ellis is again partnering with the Marine Toys for Tots program, but the relationship has been amped up a few notches with the automotive group offering the chance to win gas cards and a grand prize shopping spree to individuals helping the dealerships bless children at Christmas this year. All 17, Jim Ellis family owned and operated dealerships in Atlanta, Buford, Kennesaw, and Marietta serve as collection sites for Toys for Tots and will be collecting toys through Dec. 15th at close of business. Each year, the Jim Ellis dealerships also partner with the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association (MAADA) as the association works with Toys for Tots to equip each of the Jim Ellis dealerships to serve as collection sites for this program. Read more here. 

It's Great to Be a Part of a Company That Hires Veterans
After Brian Bottorff served in the U.S. Navy, he noticed there wasn’t much to help veterans transition to civilian life. He’s grateful for the programs Wells Fargo offers team members who served in the military. 

Ever since he was a kid watching Navy ships go by outside and watching “G.I. Joe” on television, Brian Bottorff wanted to serve his country and enlist in the military. As an adult, he served in the U.S. Navy as an operations specialist aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau from 2004 to 2006. Read more here.

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