Analysis: Domestic Brands Would be Hit Hard by Import Tariff

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Aug. 1, 2018—While President Trump has said his currently delayed, 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles is a way to level the playing field for U.S. automakers, industry analysts don’t all agree. According to analysis by Cox Automotive, the 25 percent tariff could have unintended consequences, and Dodge, Chrysler and Buick would be among the OEMs hit hardest by a tariff on any model assembled outside the U.S.

Trump and European Union president Jean-Claude Juncker declared a truce on July 25 on their developing trade war, and the 25 percent tariff is currently on hold. However, if talks with the European Union break down, the tariff could certainly come back into play, as noted in a recent Forbes article.

The following brands were most dependent on imports for their U.S. sales during the 12 months that ended May 31, 2017:

  • Chrysler (93% imports)
  • Lexus (86%)
  • Dodge (82%)
  • Volkswagen (73%)
  • Infiniti (71%)
  • Kia (69%)
  • Buick (67%)
  • Mercedes-Benz (64%)
  • Lincoln (52%)
  • BMW (52%)
  • Subaru (51%)

Conversely, the OEMs that appear to be least at risk to be hurt by the proposed tariff would be:

  • Tesla (0% imports)
  • Acura (1%)
  • Cadillac (11%)
  • Ford (19%)
  • Jeep (24%)
  • GMC (36%)

As Forbes noted, perhaps last week’s announcement by Trump and Juncker was an indication that calmer moods are starting to prevail among the key players in the trade battle. Yet, the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement appears to be more precarious than ever.

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