Trump tells automakers he wants them to build more cars in u.s. crain’s cleveland business electricity definition science


Before reporters were ushered out, Trump asked the group to go around the table and introduce themselves and explained that they would be discussing environmental regulations such as auto efficiency standards and trade — especially the North American Free Trade Agreement currently under renegotiation.

The automakers went into the meeting hoping to persuade Trump to cooperate with Jerry Brown, the Democratic governor of California, who invoked biblical references when calling the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back auto efficiency regulations "profoundly dangerous."

In attendance were representatives of the world’s biggest carmakers, including GM’s CEO Mary Barra, Ford’s CEO James Hackett, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, and Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America Inc.. That meeting also included Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the White House said in a statement.

"The president will hear from the automaker CEOs about the impact of the rulemaking on the auto industry and their efforts to negotiate a ‘National Program’ with the state of California," Lindsay Walters, White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

As a candidate, he repeatedly attacked Ford over its decision to build an automobile plant in Mexico. Three days before Trump’s inauguration, Ford announced that it would abandon the plant — even though construction was underway. The president-elect responded with tweets of praise.

"Their hand is a bit stronger than perhaps the administration realizes," Adam Jonas, an auto analyst at Morgan Stanley, said Friday on Bloomberg Television. "Those 10 CEOs might represent the better part of 1 million jobs in the United States and indirectly supporting many, many millions more, particularly in states that supported the administration, such as Michigan."

Jones said the automakers definitely want one standard. "And they don’t want this going to the Supreme Court and being dragged out in the media and somehow be in the public, affiliated with a kind of hostility toward the world’s fifth-largest economy, California," he said.

The Friday morning summit is a key milestone in the industry’s effort to win relief from the rules, a campaign that began in the first days of Trump’s presidency. Carmakers and their Washington trade groups lobbied the administration to reconsider mileage standards locked in by the Environmental Protection Agency during the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Trump granted automakers their wish in March 2017 while laying out an explicit quid pro quo: a promise to cut them a break on environmental regulations in exchange for more hiring in the U.S. Within days, two of the industry’s major trade groups published a full-page newspaper advertisement thanking Trump for reinstating a review of the rules.

The EPA completed that review last month and found that fuel-efficiency regulations for cars and light trucks are too stringent and must be revised. Yet a draft that recommended freezing the standards in 2020 showed the administration had something far more aggressive in mind than what carmakers expected, or wanted.