Belfast Telegraph

Donald Trump threatens car giant GM with 'big border tax' over Mexico imports

US President-elect Donald Trump has launched a social media attack on General Motors, threatening to slap a tax on the US car giant for importing compact cars from Mexico.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said the owner of Chevrolet, Cadillac and Vauxhall would have to stomach a "big border tax" if it failed to make cars in the United States.

GM makes the vast majority of compact Chevrolet Cruzes at a factory in Lordstown, Ohio, but imports hatchback versions of the Cruze from a plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

Mr Trump said on his route to office that he would impose punitive tariffs of 45% on goods from China and 35% on goods from Mexico as part of a package of economic measures designed to boost and protect America's manufacturing industries.

Writing on Twitter, the incoming US president said: "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!"

GM shares fell by about 1% in pre-market trading immediately after the tweet, but bounced into positive territory when the US stock market opened on Tuesday.

A spokesman for GM said the Cruze hatchback is built in Mexico for global distribution.

The company sold about 4,500 hatchback Cruze cars in the US last year, but recorded sales of 172,000 Cruzes through November.

Glenn Johnson, president of the United Auto Workers union at the Lordstown factory, said the union was not protesting against the move to build the hatchback in Mexico.

In response to Mr Trump's tweet, he said: "It makes for news, that's all."

Last year Mr Trump went after Ford for plans to shift production of the compact Focus to Mexico.

The controversial property tycoon has also voiced his opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership - the world's largest free-trade deal - while vowing to make changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) between the US, Mexico and Canada.

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