President-elect Donald Trump held his first news conference since July yesterday and he had bountiful praise for both Ford and Fiat-Chrysler for their recent moves to invest in the U.S.
“You saw yesterday, Fiat Chrysler — big, big factory going to be built in this country, as opposed to another. Ford just announced that they stopped plans for a billion dollar plant in Mexico, and they’re going to be moving into Michigan and expanding very substantially an existing plant. I appreciate that from Ford. I appreciate that very much from Fiat Chrysler.”
The president-elect then turned his attention to General Motors stating, “I hope that General Motors will be following. I think they will be.”
However, the facts were slightly misstated by President-elect Trump. FCA is not building a new factory but is investing in existing facilities for Jeep production, which will create 2,000 jobs. Furthermore, Ford did indeed renege on its upcoming Mexico plant, but will still be sending small car production to an existing Mexico plant. No jobs will be lost in the process.
According to The Detroit News, GM product chief, Mark Reuss, commented on Trump’s calls for GM to invest in the U.S., despite pouring $5.4 billion of investments into American manufacturing a year and a half ago.
“We’re looking at everything as we always do,” he said. “This is a very fluid allocation of production process that we’re in all the time.”
Reuss went on to state the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant would not support additional production should it also be tasked with building the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback, calling it “pretty full.” The hatchback, which sells in low numbers, is currently produced in Mexico.
As always, the GM product executive reiterated product production decisions are typically made two to four years in advance. Moving Cruze production out of Mexico is “not an overnight decision,” he added. GM CEO Mary Barra also stated production would not be shifting from Mexico.
Trump has threatened a 35 percent “border tax” for companies building products in Mexico and bringing them back into the United States. However, he has stated on two occasions it could be as low as 10 percent. A tariff on Mexican-made goods would require congressional approval.