It appears the Trump touch – the President’s ability to browbeat individual companies into cancelling planned factory closures or expanding production in the US – is beginning to fade. To wit, General Motors on Friday openly defied President Trump, who has criticized automakers for building cars abroad, by revealing that it’s going to move ahead with plans to build the new Chevy Blazer SUV in Mexico, according to Reuters.
Trump has been pushing car companies to build more vehicles in the US as negotiations with Mexico and Canada over NAFTA have continued, despite increasing concerns on all sides that a deal to preserve the trade agreement might prove illusive. A spokesperson for GM said the company remains “committed” to working with the administration. “We remain committed to working with the administration on a modernized NAFTA,” GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said, adding the decision was made years ago.
The new Chevy Blazer
Way back in January 2017, before Trump’s swearing-in, the then-president elect instigated a fight with GM, accusing the company of shipping Mexican-made cars into the US tax free, to be sold to US consumers.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
In a tersely worded response, GM later explained that all Cruze sedans sold in the US market are built in the US, while Cruze models intended for global markets are manufactured in Mexico. Automakers have opposed the Trump administration’s push to renegotiate Nafta (after all, they’re the primary beneficiaries from the status quo). If certain of the Trump administration’s priorities are enacted – for example, stiffer content rules – these changes could prove immensely disruptive to automakers’ supply chains.
Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers Union said GM’s decision was “disappointing.”
The United Auto Workers union called the decision disappointing. “This is all happening while UAW-GM workers here in the U.S. are laid off and unemployed,” the union said in a statement.
Automakers have called NAFTA a success, allowing them to integrate production throughout North America and make production competitive with Asia and Europe.
The company unveiled the revival of the Blazer, which it hasn’t made since 2005, during an event in Atlanta on Thursday, CNNMoney reported. The car will go on sale next year.
We now wait to see if President Trump – who has been preoccupied lately with the collapsing push for immigration reform in Congress, a burgeoning trade war with China, and public outrage over his “zero tolerance” migrant detention policy – offers a response on twitter.