Speaking to Bloomberg, Smith claimed Trump has shown little regard towards international automakers that build vehicles in the U.S.
“The scary thing is there seems to be a lot of conversation around import-based companies and not even much realization that there’s a huge amount of vehicles produced here by international companies,” Smith said.
“The whole tariff conversation isn’t around, ‘Well, we’ll produce here in the United States and everything’s fine.’ It’s more about, the international companies seem to be being targeted.”
Smith recently met with Trump in the White House in May alongside nine other auto executive. Shortly after this meeting, the Commerce Department commenced investigations to see if imported cars are a threat to U.S. national security. Reports state that the U.S. administration could slap imported cars with tariffs of up to 25 per cent.
Like many other international automakers, Hyundai produces many of its vehicles in the United States. In fact, over half of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. are produced there.
The Department of Commerce claims that passenger vehicle imports have grown from 32 per cent of all the cars sold yearly in the United States to 48 per cent in the past 20 years. Additionally, there are 22 per cent fewer automotive production jobs in the U.S. than there were in 1990.
It would have been nice if we had a breakdown of those figures, as just one number isn’t enough to accurately assess the situation. For example, the number of premium U.S. cars sold 20 years ago and today. As it stands, though, this Department of Commerce number plays right into the POTUS’ hands, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him slap imports with heavy tariffs, which can easily escalate to a trade war with Europe and Asian countries like South Korea and Japan.