The auto industry is warning that US sales declines, which have been consistent over the past year, may continue thanks to tariffs US President Donald Trump plans to slap on steel and aluminum imports.
Toyota Motor, which plans to build a new $1.6 billion factory in Alabama with Mazda Motor, said the administration's decision will "adversely impact" car companies by raising costs and prices of cars and trucks sold in the US. That's even as more than 90 percent of the steel that Asia's biggest carmaker uses in the US is from that country. Trade groups representing automakers including General Motors Co and Toyota, plus parts suppliers like Robert Bosch GmbH, tried to warn the Trump administration of unintended consequences. That's before the president said Thursday he plans to order tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
Asian automakers' shares declined in response to the announcement while US carmakers – already slipping because of weak February sales – extended their falls. Honda Motor Co, which declined to comment on the administration's move, led the drop in shares of Asian carmakers. Five of the six biggest car manufacturers on Thursday posted lower February US deliveries than a year ago. General Motors shares slumped 4 percent in New York, while Ford Motor dropped 3 percent and Fiat Chrysler fell 2.8 percent. The average car includes about $830 of steel and $400 of aluminum.