American auto industry investments down, despite Trump's promises

Posted Sep 27, 2017 by Karen Graham
Despite President Trump's threat to heavily tax cars shipped in from abroad, investment by global automakers in 2017 has fallen short of projections, underscoring a market that is shrinking for the first time in eight years.
Both as a candidate and as president  Donald Trump has launched repeated fusillades against firms th...
Both as a candidate and as president, Donald Trump has launched repeated fusillades against firms that manufacture abroad, vowing to punish them with massive tariffs. But Ivanka trump branded clothes continue to be made in China.
President Trump's "Made-in-America" campaign was supposed to spur American industries to focus on manufacturing products at home instead of outsourcing work to other countries, and this campaign was especially focused on the auto industry.
A number of companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., Volvo Cars, and Daimler AG have announced $5.5 billion in new American factory investments so far this year, shy of the $10.2 billion in investments seen annually in the last 10 years. In the meantime, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. are cutting shifts and scheduling factory down-times as sales continue to slow.
Despite the challenges, some automakers have issued statements, more to appease the president than anything else, about investments that were already planned years earlier.
“A lot of what made headlines earlier this year were announcements that had previously been known,” Kristin Dziczek, director of industry, labor, and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, said by phone. He added the announcements were nothing more than “political expediency” in response to Trump's Twitter tirades criticizing automaker investments in Mexico.
Automaker assembly line
An employee works on an assembly line inside a Ford plant.
Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rates to fall short
The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) did a survey of nearly four dozen economists, and according to this latest survey, which remains unchanged from June 2017, the U.S. economy will grow by two-percent in 2017 and 2018, falling short of the three-percent target that President Donald Trump and his administration were aiming for.
Even though the economic outlook has improved overall, a weak start at the beginning of the year will be enough to keep the country from reaching a three-percent GDP goal. Actually, according to the NABE, reaching three-percent growth would only show a slightly below-average increase since World War II.
In August 2017, U.S. small car sales fell 8.5 percent, based on year-over-year (YoY) data. The sharp fall is a continuing trend. And so far, this year, U.S. auto sales have fallen 2.7 percent YoY to 11.4 million vehicle units.There is speculation that Hurricane Harvey may be partially responsible for lower sales in August.