Bob Lutz is back again doing what he does best: expressing his opinion in a good ol’ fashioned, take-it-or-leave-it kind of way. This time, in his column with Road and Track, Lutz took on politics and the state of the automotive industry in general.
The environment for automakers has changed a bit since Donald Trump added the “President” prefix to his name, becoming the 45th leader of the United States. As Lutz points out, automakers have long been used to sourcing from wherever goods are cheap and labor is inexpensive, working with the free market and letting capitalism do its thing. That’s not good enough for Trump, per Lutz.
However, what Trump may possibly take away, he will possibly give back. Although his rhetoric may make Mexico and other nations dirty words for automakers, the fact the same automakers may see the CAFE 54.5 mpg regulations torn away is a big win. Trump says he’s a negotiator, and for automakers, you win some, you lose some.
But, the moral of the story Lutz paints is this: automakers don’t move quickly. It takes years of development, engineering, planning and more to introduce a brand new vehicle. Cars are complex things that involve an incredible amount of facets to allow them to come together, quite literally.
This is where perception comes into play. Lutz calls it like he sees it. Every release touting U.S. jobs saved were going to be there anyway, and Mexico will continue to be home to plenty of manufacturing for automakers.
Announcements surrounding new plant investments in the U.S. aren’t because of today’s political climate; the investments have long been in the pipeline.