Published: Fri, January 27, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Fiat Chrysler, Under EPA Attack, Jumps After Trump Vows To Ease Rules

President Donald Trump met with major automaker executives in the White House Tuesday morning as part of his push to increase manufacturing jobs in the US. He was included in a meeting on Monday with other business leaders such as Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors.

The meeting did not include representatives of other auto companies with usa factories, which include Nissan, Honda and BMW.

Others, including Volkswagen AG and Kia Motors Corp., did not respond for comment.

Consumers also may pay a price, even on US -built cars, if imported parts are taxed.

"They're using Trump as a marketing channel", says Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, the traditional Big Three Detroit automakers, have brought a lot of jobs back since the industry bottomed out in 2009. Several Japanese makers, including Toyota and Nissan, have expressed interest in upping their US manufacturing presence.

In total, FCA US has committed investments of more than $9.6 billion in its USA manufacturing facilities and created 25,000 new jobs to date since 2009. In November, however, GM laid off a total of 2,000 hourly workers at two United States plants. FCA US has committed to $9.6 billion in investments in the home base.

Representatives of the United Auto Workers were not at the meeting. Some of that work promised to the UAW in recent years has come from Mexican suppliers.

Since winning the election, Trump has posted on Twitter criticizing automakers including Ford, Germany's BMW AG and Toyota for building cars or factories in Mexico. Spicer mentioned the GM jobs announcement at the start of the press conference Monday, saying that it happened "through his [Trump's] actions".

Despite the hiring and investment plans announced in the USA, most of the automakers' Mexican operations are due to stay in place. Ford Motor Company has cancelled its investment of $1.6 billion in Mexico and instead will invest $700 million at its Flat rock assembly plant in MI which is likely to create over 700 jobs over next 4 years.

GM and Ford last built new United States assembly plants in 2004, while Fiat Chrysler opened a new transmission plant in IN in 2014.

Trump also targeted Ford Motor Company during the campaign for moving production to Mexico.

For Mexico, Ford's decision meant the loss of 2,800 direct jobs in San Luis Potosi, where the plant was supposed to begin operations in 2018.

The President also threatened these companies to impose a 35% tax on the vehicles which are being imported into United States from Mexico.

"We didn't cut a deal with Trump", he reportedly said.

While Ford took into account a drop in demand for small vehicles that would have been built at the plant, Guajardo said the company was also influenced "by its particular situation" with regards to Trump.

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