Volvo Boss Hits Out At Trump’s Proposed Tariffs During Opening Of U.S. Plant


Volvo chief executive Hakkan Samuelsson has expressed his displeasure with the foreign car tariffs that President Donald Trump could impose.

Speaking during the opening of a Volvo plant in South Carolina, Samuelsson said a company like Volvo must stand up for free trade. He says a 25 per cent tariff on imported cars to the U.S. will hurt the country’s economy, not help it, The Independent reports.

“If we go back to the 19th century when everyone wanted to protect their own market that is definitely not good for the wealth of nations. That would really be bad – not just for Volvo,” he said.

“Cars would be more expensive. We’d probably sell fewer cars – and that would generate less growth in the economy. The whole growth in the economy in the last 100 years has been based on comparative advantage. If we stop doing that – that’s not smart.”

Samuelsson isn’t alone in this belief. In fact, almost every economist you ask will tell you that protectionism hurts an economy and doesn’t create the prosperity promised by Trump.

Volvo’s South Carolina facility will be the sole manufacturer of the new S60 sedan and is tipped to build the next-generation XC90 too. Half of the S60s produced here will be for the U.S. while the remaining cars will be exported.

“This factory is a good example of free trade. We want to build cars for America, but we also want to build cars for export. I think what we are demonstrating here is how we can prosper from free trade.”

Tariffs on imported vehicles would harm Volvo significantly. Last year, all of the 82,000 vehicles it sold in the U.S. were imported and even when production in South Carolina commences, it will still only account for 10 per cent of local sales.

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  • Nordschleife

    As a man who doesn’t even drive American cars regularly I find this to be rather inane. but lots of people seem to love him which makes me feel some sort of way.

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    Free trade is not the issue. Fair trade is the issue. Make all tariffs equal…problem solved.

    • pxsupply

      Good Point. But remember that tariffs are simply a tax that in the end will cost the consumer.

      • FactChecker90803

        Well the consumers have a Choice, pay the Tariff on products from Nations that have there own HIGH TARIFFS on our products, or select products from DOMESTIC manufacturers or from nations that we dont TARIFF..There your problem is solved.

        • pxsupply

          Yes but remember tariffs are applied to parts as well.
          If you look at the “content” of a car that is assembled in the US (not using the word “Made” anymore), then most likely more than 50% of those parts are from outside these borders. Those parts will be subject to these new tariffs if passed. So in the end everybody loses

          • FactChecker90803

            Changed the rotors on my Sierra pickup, they said Made in Mexico, I changed the brakes on my son’s GF’s Honda Pilot, all the items Rotord, Calipers and hoses were Made in Indiana.

          • pxsupply

            Love Made in Indiana! And also both Honda and Subaru have assembly plants in Indiana!

      • Auf Wiedersehen

        Yes but tariffs are a way of life….we pay them anyway. If they were fair, we’d all pay less. At least in the US, they say. I don’t pretend to know about global economies or the amount of tariffs anyone pays or doesn’t pay but it would make sense if all tariffs we equal, everyone would get what they want. If we only charge them 10% to ship stuff here, we should only be charged 10% to ship stuff there. Simple. Consumers would benefit who are paying more now, whoever that may be. Unless those countries have been paying much less or nothing, then, well, hey, it’s time to pay your way in this global economy everyone says is necessary and vital to all economies. It’s not WWII times anymore. Most large world economies can fend for themselves and shouldn’t need our subsidizing.

  • Marty

    His name is ”Håkan” (pronounced like “Hokan”).

  • JGreen

    In a year from now we need to check on this and see who is right…

  • pxsupply

    Import duties on US cars to Europe is totally different from each country in Europe.
    It is way more than 10% to most European countries. Far is the same on both sides. And the best is zero!

  • pxsupply

    European Union’s import tariff on US Made cars: 10%
    United States import tariff on European cars: 2.5%
    He does have a point when it comes to fair trade.

  • Tostik

    Håkan also said the solution to these trade tensions would be for everybody to lower their tariffs to US levels. I appreciate the honesty.

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