The Association of Global Automakers plans for a “drive-in” demonstration on Thursday on Capitol Hill to showcase the number of cars built in the United States, and highlight what auto tariffs could do to American-made vehicles.
Automotive News reported on Tuesday a number of lawmakers from states home to auto plants will participate in the demonstration, and will then drive to the Department of Commerce for a hearing over the potential for 25 percent tariffs on automobiles and auto parts. In addition, seven trade associations penned an open letter to President Donald Trump and the administration detailing reasons not to impose tariffs.
The letter reads in part:
Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles — whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance
President of the Global Automakers Association John Bozzella added, “You cannot find a company that has asked for this protection, you cannot find a group of employees that has requested protection.”
The Trump administration believes the potential new tariffs will help automakers concentrate output in the U.S., but automakers argue they will lead to job cuts and higher prices on vehicle components and cars themselves. GM previously warned the administration what the tariffs risk for U.S. manufacturing and jobs.
Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the tariffs could lead to 1.2 million job losses initially and new-car prices could rise up to 21 percent. Automakers have reportedly received a broad questionnaire asking for confidential information, which has led many to believe the administration hasn’t found a case for the tariffs yet.
The administration first raised the idea of tariffs after declaring auto imports may threaten national security.