Trump doesn't appear to understand that German automakers don't just build their vehicles in Germany.
President Donald Trump allegedly wants to ban imports of German-made vehicles or at least that's what he is telling foreign leaders. German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reports that during French President Emmanuel Macron visit to Washington D.C. in April, Trump said he wanted to exclude German models from America. The publication cited several unnamed diplomats from the United States and Europe as the sources for its story.
Germany is the top auto exporter in the European Union. The country sent 657,000 vehicles to North America in 2017, according to Automotive News citing figures from Germany's auto industry association.
Given President Trump's past statements, we can't simply write this ban off as an idle threat. “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the US. Terrible. We will stop this,” Trump said last year. After being elected but before he took office, Trump also pledged to place a 35 percent tax on every German car brought into the U.S.
However, it's hard to imagine how Trump could ever implement such massive ban because German automakers have factories all over the world. For example, Mercedes-Benz builds the latest G-Class at Magna-Steyr's plant in Austria and the forthcoming Audi E-Tron Quattro is a product of Belgium. Without singling out imports from specific brands, the President's plan wouldn't keep models like this out of the country. In addition, Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen already have plants in the United States. German automakers built 804,000 vehicles in the U.S. last year, according to Automotive News.
President Trump would also look like a hypocrite if he bans German cars. Before being elected, he reportedly owned several Mercedes, and photos have shown him driving a Rolls-Royce – a product of BMW.