"Since US President Trump had already mentioned the possibility of higher car import tariffs on several occasions, it was to be expected that the US administration would be officially tasked with investigating this issue. As a result, the inquiry now initiated by the US Commerce Department, and which could well last several months, comes as no surprise.
German carmakers, which are following current developments closely and with concern, are of the opinion that tougher trade barriers should be avoided. Around the globe, Germany’s automotive industry has always advocated open markets and the dismantling of trade barriers.
While we have strategically expanded production in the USA for several years, exports from Germany have fallen. German automakers exported some 494,000 cars to America last year. That's 25 per cent less compared to 2013.
At the same time, we have increased our production at US sites since 2013 by 180,000 units, taking the total to 804,000 vehicles. That's equivalent to a 7.4 per cent share of the entire US production market (10.9 million light vehicles).
German manufacturers currently employ some 36,500 people in the USA – 5,700 more than in 2013 – while German supply companies provide jobs for around 80,000. These high employment figures are due to the fact that suppliers not only work for German OEMs but also for other manufacturers that produce in the USA or NAFTA area. In all, the German automobile industry has created some 116,500 jobs at its US plants.
German manufacturers also contribute significantly to the US balance of trade in cars. Almost every second car that our manufacturers produce in the USA is exported to Europe, Asia or the rest of the world. That's around 430,000 vehicles. Consequently, at 25 per cent, our share of total US exports (light vehicles) is three times as high as our share of the US market (8 per cent). In 2017, German group brands sold 1.35 million light vehicles in the USA."