Automakers Are Preparing For Trump’s Worst

Photo TIME Magazine
JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

This is a story about General Motors (GM) asking Trump for an exemption for one of it's vehicles, but I think we can draw certain implications from that.

GM is reportedly asking the Trump regime to exempt one of their Buick models from his tariffs.

General Motors Co is seeking an exemption to a 25 percent U.S. tariff on its Chinese-made Buick Envision sport utility, the automaker said on Thursday, in a move to prevent the key model in the brand’s U.S. lineup from becoming a victim of the U.S.-China trade war. [...]

GM said in a statement that it filed the request on July 30 with the U.S. Trade Representative. An official notice was posted on Thursday on the website, which is tracking requests for exclusions from the so-called Section 301 tariff on certain imported goods from China.

Trump hasn't actually imposed tariffs on cars or car parts yet or even formally announced that he will, so what does this tell us?

It tells me GM believes he's really going to do it. Why else would they ask for an exemption from tariffs that aren't publicly official yet?

Assuming Trump is going to impose tariffs on cars and parts against the wishes of virtually every industry, the next big question is which countries he'll impose them on. If Trump imposes a blanket tariff on all foreign cars and parts, then the fake agreement he recently reached with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will obviously be dead.

If he doesn't impose a blanket tariff, the next question is why not? Why exempt some automakers but not others? Moreover, why exempt the Buick Envision?

There's no good answer to these questions and that underscores how much of a bad idea all of this is.

  • muselet

    Trump’s Razor (formulated by Josh Marshall): “Ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts.”

    Yes, Donald Trump is going to impose tariffs on all imported cars and car parts. This will devastate the US car industry, from parts suppliers to carmakers to dealers (with banks and credit unions also taking hits because of the lower number of car loans). It’s the stupidest possible thing he could do, so it’s the likeliest thing for him to do.

    All because Trump hates seeing Mercedes parked in front of Trump Plaza. *headdesk*