New Straits Times
Hyundai may rethink US production
CHICAGO: Hyundai Motor Co warned it may rethink how many vehicles it builds in the United States, joining the world’s largest carmakers in speaking out against US President Donald Trump’s crackdown on steel and aluminum imports.
“Changes to the existing tariff structure could negatively impact our current US production and further expansion,” said Jim Trainor, a Hyundai spokesman.
“Imposing tariffs on steel could increase production costs, which could lead to higher prices for US consumers, and, potentially, decreased demand.”
Trump said on Thursday that the US plans to order tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, with a formal order to be signed next week. Hyundai’s comments go a step further than Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co, which have cautioned that the tariffs would make vehicles costlier while stopping short of saying the levies could impact production plans.
The South Korean carmaker builds Hyundai Sonata and Elantra sedans and Santa Fe Sport crossovers at a plant in Alabama.
Honda Motor Co on Saturday called the administration’s move “imprudent”.
Toyota, which plans to build a US$1.6 billion (RM6.4 billion) factory in Alabama with Mazda Motor Corp, said the administration’s decision will “adversely impact” car companies by increasing costs and prices of cars and trucks sold in the US. That’s even as more than 90 per cent of the steel that Asia’s largest carmaker needs in the US is from the country.
Trade groups representing carmakers including General Motors Co and Toyota, plus parts suppliers like Robert Bosch GmbH, had tried to warn the Trump administration of unintended consequences before the president’s announcement on the tariffs.