According to chief executive of Toyota’s North American operations, Jim Lentz, the automaker is analyzing how tariffs could affect each of its models.
“If it winds up being 10 percent or 25 percent, almost on a series-by-series basis, we’ve got to evaluate what we’re going to do. In some series, we may raise prices. On other series, we may stop imports, and then consumers will have less choice,” Lentz said.
While the Japanese automaker is in the process of building its 11th factory in the United States, it still imports many vehicles into the country. In fact, more than half of the 2.4 million vehicles it sold in the U.S. last year were imported from overseas.
Toyota’s most popular model, the RAV4, is imported into the United States from China and Canada. Additionally, Canada also supplies 95 per cent of the Lexus RX models sold in the U.S.
A host of models are built and sold in the United States in high numbers. Most notable is the Camry, which sold 387,000 vehicles last year, 90 per cent of which were built in Kentucky.
Nonetheless, potential tariffs are a matter of critical importance to Toyota and Lentz admitted that the carmaker may have to produce additional models in the United States.
“Could politics play into that? Could we decide, even if we could build them cheaper somewhere else, to build them in the U.S.? It could happen, but you don’t want to do too much of that – you’ve still got to run a business”, he said.