While the prospect of President Donald Trump initially sent Wall Street tumbling on Nov. 8 and put a collective chill on the U.S. automotive industry, things have since calmed down and there are signs of optimism for manufacturers.
Trump vowed during his campaign to halt U.S. participation in the Paris Accord, an international climate treaty signed by virtually all nations. He said he would renegotiate major trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. He talked about tariffs on cars made in Mexico and imported to the United States.
Closer to the inauguration, his rhetoric and pace have slowed somewhat as the enormity of presidential responsibility descends. Trump has to gain support from a large chunk of Congress that he snubbed or marginalized during the campaign if he wants to accomplish many of his campaign promises.
On the good news front, domestic automakers in a letter to Trump’s transition team expressed support for relaxing the Obama administration’s fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Trump’s election is thought to be good news for Southern states worried about jobs slipping south of the border. Before Trump was elected, Mexico had been projected to build 25 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States by 2020, according to IHS Automotive.
There’s still plenty to sort out and billions of dollars of investment in Southern manufacturing plants and supply chains on the line. Automotive executives will likely keep their heads down until more is revealed as to which Donald Trump will go forth after the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Meanwhile, here are some upcoming events for 2017 to consider as we turn the calendar toward a new year of Southern automotive manufacturing.
- Feb. 9: Cyber Risk and the Impact on Automotive Manufacturing, at the Mercedes-Benz Training Facility, Birmingham, Alabama
- Feb. 20-22: South Carolina Automotive OESA Summit, organized by the SC Automotive Council, at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. Topics include innovation, supplier development, workforce development, financial management.
- March 9: Southern Automotive Quality Summit, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama.
Text by Dave Helms