Trump urges more US investment during car chiefs talks

L-to-R: Mary Barra, Sergio Marchionne, Mark FieldsImage copyright
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L-to-R: GM’s Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne, and Ford’s Mark Fields speak to the media after meeting Mr Trump

US President Donald Trump has told the heads of the big three US car giants to build more vehicles in America.

During a White House meeting with the companies’ chief executives he promised to make investment more attractive through cuts in regulations and taxes.

“We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants,” he told reporters at the start of the meeting.

Mr Trump met General Motors’ Mary Barra, Ford’s Mark Fields, and Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne.

The president has criticised some carmakers via Twitter, warning them about expanding plants in Mexico and elsewhere and then expecting to import vehicles tariff free.

Tuesday’s meeting was Mr Trump’s first chance to meet the car chiefs face-to-face to press home his “buy American, hire American” policies.

According to news briefings in the US, the executives raised the issue of fuel efficiency rules, trade policy and other regulatory matters during the hour-long meeting.

Mr Marchionne told reporters after the meeting that the president did not give them specifics on what regulations he would cut.

Toyota jobs

GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, as well as foreign carmakers, have announced a string of new US jobs and investments in recent weeks.

Also on Tuesday, Toyota said it would add 400 jobs and invest $600m in an Indiana plant, aiming to boost production there by 10%. The Japanese company has already said it plans to invest $10bn in the UK over the next five years.

According to Reuters, US car manufacturers have collectively added more than 78,000 jobs since 2009, the year when GM and Chrysler – before it became part of Fiat – filed for bankruptcy protection as part of government bailouts during the US recession.

They have invested more than $40bn in US plants during that period.

Barclays’ car industry analyst, Brian Johnson, said in a research note on Tuesday that “automakers will be willing to make a deal that would bring back jobs to the US in return for a slower ramp of (fuel efficiency) targets and related state-level mandates.”

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