Trump is getting heat for his threat to impose tariffs on "imported" cars in order to help American car companies. But what about all the "American" cars built outside America?
And what about the "import" brands that build their cars here?
GM and Ford and FiatChrysler have plants in Mexico. The American 1500 series trucks they build there are shipped here. They are objectively imported. Should they be tariffized?
Toyota has a yuge operation in California. Nissan builds its trucks in Tennessee. Honda has plants in Ohio. BMW builds SUVS in South Carolina. Are these "imported" cars? Should they receive protection from the "foreign" competition – even if the brand in question happens to have its corporate HQ here?
The fulsome scurvy truth is there's no such thing as an "American" car – or an "imported" one. Not anymore.
Not as they used to be.
People outside the business don't realize how international not just the car companies have become but also the cars – most of which wouldn't run without common parts from Bosch (injectors) and Denso (electronics) and ZF (transmissions) and a bunch of others, regardless of the brand on the fender.
Cars are built to a global standard nowadays. Like it or not, it is what it is.
The current Ford Mustang, as a for-instance. It was specifically designed not just for America but also for Europe and other export markets. The influence of this works both ways. One way – in the case of the Mustang – is that it remained rear-wheel-drive. American Mustang buyers demand this – would revolt if Ford changed this to the more common front-wheel-drive layout. So, that stayed. But the Mustang also got a standard four cylinder engine – with a turbo – which was done to make the car more agreeable to European/export market buyers who have to deal with (among other things) gas prices twice as high as what we pay.