Toyota Urges Dealers To Lobby Against Border Tax; BMW Calls For Free Trade

Wed, Feb 1, 2017 1,216

With President Donald Trump following through on some of his more controversial campaign promises during the first week of his term, automakers are ramping up lobbying efforts to prevent the implementation of a border tax.

Toyota sent a memo to its 1,500 U.S. dealers urging them to lobby against the tariff by reminding politicians it would lead to price increases for consumers, Reuters reported Tuesday.

“Cost is going to go up, as a result demand is going to go down. As a result, we’re not going to able to employ as many as people as we do today. That’s my biggest fear,” Jim Lentz, Toyota’s North America CEO, said, via Reuters.

Toyota isn’t the only company concerned a border tax could negatively impact consumers and workers, either.

A recent Center for Automotive Research study found the U.S. would lose roughly 31,000 manufacturing jobs if a 35 percent tariff was implemented, as Trump proposed. Since taking office, however, Trump has been much more vague about that figure, saying only that it would be a “big border tax.”

Trump specifically called out Toyota, the third-highest-selling automaker in the U.S., in January for its plans to build a new plant in Mexico.

BMW also came under fire from the president, despite the fact its largest production facility is stateside, it’s the country’s largest net exporter and it employs 70,000 people in the U.S, according to Bloomberg. The auto company’s CEO Harald Krueger said globalization and free trade have been instrumental in BMW establishing such a large presence in this country.

“Free trade has only made this success story in the U.S. possible — 70 percent of the automobiles produced here are exported,” Krueger said, via Bloomberg.

The two automakers’ message seems to have resonated with some, such as U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who reportedly emphasized how much manufacturers such as Toyota impact his state’s economy, via Reuters.

Thumbnail photo via Toyota