The German Duel: BMW Stands up to Trump with Mexico Commitment
“Build them in the USA or face big border tax,” President-elect Donald Trump told carmakers on Twitter (of course) less than a month ago.
Since then, Ford and Fiat Chrysler announced big investments in the U.S and cancelling plans to invest in Mexico for fears of being heavily taxed. But BMW had a different response: the German carmaker has confirmed it is “absolutely” committed to a new plant in Mexico.
In an interview with Germany’s BILD Zeitung, published late Sunday night, Trump said BMW would “waste its time and money” building a plant in Mexico, because Trump would slap the Bavarian automaker with his infamous “35% border tax.".
Peter Schwarzenbauer, a member of BMW's Board of Directors, reiterated that the company is moving ahead with its plans to invest $ 1 billion in a new plant in the state of San Luis Potosi that will create at least 1,500 jobs from 2019, as reported in El País.
In the Bild interview, Trump complains that the Germans were “very unfair to the U.S.” After all, said Trump, “how many Chevrolets do you see in Germany?” With that, Trump once again demonstrated that he learned less about the car business than a 14 year-old reader of the Jalopnik carblog. The 14 yo knows that GM pulled Chevrolet from the European market in 2015, after an attempt to turn Chevrolet into a global car brand turned into, to steal Trump’s lines, a “total disaster,", reports Forbes. In addition, the Chevrolets weren't American, but made-in-Korea.
What Trump also failed to grasp is the fact that GM has a strong presence in Germany and Europe, reports Forbes. It is called Opel, and Vauxhall in the UK. Opel, and also Ford, are big in Germany. Last year, each sold a similar amount of cars in Germany as BMW. Ford Europe and Opel are unlikely to be looking forward to become collateral damage of a trade war between the U.S. and the EU.