GM tells Trump administration tariffs could force downsizing, less investments

WASHINGTON — General Motors on Friday said it could shrink at home, jeopardizing its ability to invest in technologies of the future such as autonomous and electric drive vehicles, if tariffs on imported autos and components are imposed.

In comments to the Department of Commerce, which is investigating whether auto tariffs of up to 25 percent are justified to preserve domestic industrial capacity in the name of national security, GM said U.S. tariffs and countermeasures from trading partners would undermine its global competitiveness. The potential burden is made worse when combined with the impact of recent steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as back-and-forth tariffs between the U.S. and China related to a dispute over improper technology transfers.

“If import tariffs on automobiles are not tailored to specifically advance the objectives of the economic and national security goals of the United States, increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American company, and risk less — not more — U.S. jobs,” GM said.

The automaker warned that “steep tariffs on vehicle and auto component imports” risks undermining its competitiveness against foreign automakers — particularly in lower wage countries.

“The penalties we could incur from tariffs and increased costs will be detrimental to the future industrial strength and readiness of manufacturing operations in the United States, and could lead to negative consequences for our company and U.S. economic security,” it said.

Automakers have been unusually blunt in pushing back against the national security investigation and separate threats of tariffs directed at Europe after taking more conciliatory tones in previous debates over the steel and aluminum tariffs and the renegotiation of NAFTA.

Tariffs will raise the cost of building vehicles, leading to reduced vehicle sales, and threatening jobs at GM plants and suppliers, GM said, echoing comments by other automakers.



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