AutoJournal March 2017
The March 2017 issue of AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
The Trump Effect
Whether you like him or not, there’s no denying that U.S. President Donald Trump is making waves, and big ones at that. Not a day goes by without my inbox lighting up with news alerts about something Trump said, an executive order he signed, or a phone call he made.
It’s always controversial and, more often than not, it’s something unexpected or outside the norm. My inbox was nowhere near as busy when Obama was in power.
So what does that mean for the auto industry here in Canada? How will Trump change the way we do business? How will he change NAFTA? And will the changes mean the death of the auto industry in Canada?
Already, we’ve seen a number of manufacturers commit to building or expanding assembly plants inside US borders. The Washington Post recently published an article listing the manufacturers that are investing in vehicle production in the USA: GM will spend $1 billion to expand vehicle production in the United States.
Fiat Chrysler plans to invest $1 billion. Ford plans to abandon a $1.6 billion production facility in Mexico, investing instead $700 million to expand manufacturing in the United States. Toyota said they will invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years.
As much as we’d prefer to see manufacturers investing in plants here in Canada, we also understand where they’re coming from. With Trump threatening a 35 percent tariff on vehicles and parts, you can imagine the conversations taking place in boardrooms around the world.
The good news?
Traditionally, this is the point in an editorial where the author begins to present the silver lining. This is when he or she begins to share some good news with the reader. This is the point where the opposing view is presented to offer a balanced overall picture of the situation. But alas, this author is short on all of the above.
Why? Because the only thing that’s certain about Trump is that we never know what he’s going to say or do. We could argue that NAFTA would have to be renegotiated before anything would change, or that Canada isn’t on Trump’s radar — at least not as much as Mexico or China. But the fact is, we simply don’t know what to expect.
Case in point—look at the ban on immigrants. That took place in the blink of an eye. So much so that some people got on a plane to the States thinking all was good, only to find out that they were banned once they landed.
Could the same happen with the auto industry? Sure. Is it time to panic? Not yet. There are too many pieces to this puzzle for us to push the “red alert” button. But whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting four, or eight, years. Stay tuned to AutoJournal as we do our best to help you navigate the bumpy road ahead.