Monday, 15 October, 2018

Despite Trump Tweet, Ford says it Won't Make Hatchback in US

Trump: Apple could be tax free if it makes products in the US Ford will not build new Focus cars in US, despite Trump tariffs tweet
Laurie Berry | 11 September, 2018, 01:16

On August 31, Ford announced it was canceling plans to ship the Focus Active to the USA from China - citing new tariffs on Chinese imports.

The US President said he would levy additional taxes on $267bn (£206.28bn) of goods over and above planned tariffs on $200bn (£154.52bn) of Chinese products.

Apple Inc said a "wide range" of its products including the Apple Watch would be affected by proposed USA tariffs on Chinese goods but gave no sign of an impact on its iPhone.

Ford last month said it was scrapping plans to import the Focus Active crossover from China because of the steep 25 percent tariffs Trump has imposed on China, where the vehicle is built, would make it impossible for Ford to hit its profit targets. But it is running out of room to match them dollar-for-dollar, raising concern it will resort to other measures, such as weakening the yuan or taking action against USA companies in China. It stopped making Focus sedans at a Wayne, Michigan, plant in May. Make your products in the United States instead of China.

President Trump has cast a formidable shadow in the days leading to Apple's big iPhone event on Wednesday.

According to industry analyst Ed Kim from AutoPacific, there was a strong chance the Focus Active would have been sold in the United States if it wasn't for the tariffs.

Trump Administration To Close Palestine Liberation Organization Office In D.C.
The Trump administration is poised to declare the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague "illegitimate". Presiding Judge Robert Fremr, centre, stands in the ICC courtroom in The Hague, Netherlands, on August 28.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the USA will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower United States growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers", Apple said in its letter.

Demand for small cars in the U.S. has been waning for years with relatively low petrol prices and a shift from cars to SUVs and trucks.

"This forces Ford to forfeit the sales they would have had if they could continue to import that low-volume niche vehicle", Gabrielsen said. "Even if you had demand and volume, it's still very hard to build a small auto in the United States profitably, which is why you find very few of them".

For the Focus Active, the tariffs on Chinese vehicles changed everything.

China's exports to the United States have been unexpectedly resilient, rising by double digits in July and August despite the USA tariff hikes. On 6 July the U.S. began imposing a 25% tax on $34bn in Chinese imports, including motor vehicles. The Trump administration is poised to decide whether to extend that to another $200 billion of Chinese goods.

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