Does Donald Trump Want to Ban German Luxury Cars from America?

Automotive News 219 May 31, 2018 by

Donald Trump’s latest trade target may just be in your driveway. According to German outlet WirtschaftsWoche, the US President is seeking a full-on ban of the country’s luxury automobiles.

WirtschaftsWoche cites several unnamed US and European diplomats as sources, all of whom were present during French President Macron’s recent visit to Washington. There, Trump allegedly stated he would “maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in New York.”

The move isn’t without precedent. Just last week, Trump asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate any potential national threats posed by imported cars (source: Ars Technica). Going further back, he singled out Daimler in January 2017, according to a Wall Street Journal translation of comments in Bild:

“When you walk down Fifth Avenue, everybody has a Mercedes-Benz parked in front of his house. You were very unfair to the U.S.A. It isn’t mutual. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not many, maybe none, you don’t see anything at all over there. It’s a one-way street.”

Word is that the 45th President is also considering a massive 25-percent tariff on all imported vehicles. It’s a strange move by a man with a car collection that has at various times included a Rolls-Royce (British but owned by BMW), Lamborghini Diablo (Italian but owned by Audi), and a Mercedes McLaren SLR (very, very German).

The White House has not issued a statement about the matter yet. No word on any particularly offensive colors, either. Meanwhile, the stock market responded with drops for Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen.

German car makers currently employee thousands of Americans on US soil. This includes plants like BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina location, which built nearly 400,000 crossovers last year alone.

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