Trump Says He Wants a Tariff on Foreign Cars. These Brands Would Be Hardest Hit.
We’ve heard Donald Trump threaten 20% tariffs on imported cars in the past but never follow through. Maybe that’s exactly what will happen again following the latest move by the administration, which included an investigation into the foreign content in automobiles on the U.S. market.
However, U.S. auto dealers from Delaware to Texas were bracing themselves for what could become the equivalent of a border tax for automakers — and, eventually — U.S. consumers. Because of the nature of the car market, every automaker from Detroit to Tokyo would take a hit.
According to Bloomberg data, these 10 car companies would get hit the hardest, including three American brands (Nos. 2, 5, and 6).
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 287,000 cars (46%)
Out of Hyundai’s projected 627,000 U.S. vehicle sales in 2018, almost half will come from imports in 2017. That means models like Sonata midsize sedan and Santa Fe Sport crossover would become more expensive.
But other brands, especially those who make the most popular cars, will suffer much more.
Next: This driver’s brand would have prices going up across the board.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 334,000 cars (100%)
Since Mazda has no U.S. factories, every single one of the automaker’s cars would get a price hike (likely around 20%). As a result, the popular Miata roadster would cease being a bargain.
Meanwhile, the popular CX-5 SUV would also get a significant tax slapped on top of the $24,150 sticker.
Next: Just over half of this New Jersey-based company’s vehicles come from overseas.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 345,000 cars (53%)
A little over half of Subaru’s U.S. sales will come from overseas plants, Bloomberg reported. That means the Forester, Crosstrek, and WRX models would all get pricier.
These tariffs may also have an impact on U.S.-based workers. According to one study by Trade Partnership, 157,000 Americans would lose their jobs. Subaru’s U.S. headquarters, located in New Jersey, may end up absorbing part of that hit.
Next: Almost 70% of this brand’s sales will be imports in 2018.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 373,000 cars (68%)
In Kia’s case, just under 70% of the vehicles sold in America are considered imports. The Soul, Sedona, and Optima Hybrid are three examples of popular cars that would get more expensive.
Economic models like the Kia Rio would also become costly, forcing buyers in the budget segment to keep looking or buy used.
Next: This old Big Three brand imports over 85% of its vehicles now.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 390,000 cars (86%)
While Dodge’s cars used to come exclusively out of the Midwest, these days some 86% are considered imports. The list includes Journey, Ram Promaster, and Ram heavy-duty pickups.
Even the Dodge Charger Hellcat only has 51.5% U.S. content, which would likely qualify it as an import.
Next: America’s top-selling brand has about 20% qualifying as imported vehicles.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 460,000 cars (19%)
Even though about one fifth of Ford sales are projected to be imports, the automaker would have a huge share (460,000 cars) getting taxed. That would have an impact on some of the brand’s most affordable vehicles, including the subcompact Fiesta ($14,205).
An import tariff would push the Fiesta over $18,000 and also hit the popular Fusion sedan — at least until these models disappear from the U.S. market.
Next: This popular import brand would see two fifths of its vehicles hit with a tax.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 570,000 cars (40%)
The powerhouse Honda brand makes the popular CR-V and Ridgeline pickup at U.S. factories. However, the automaker still imports about 40% of its cars for American consumers.
That would lead to about 570,000 cars getting taxed if the Trump administration’s plan goes through. The Civic and HR-V would be two vehicles affected, as would the all-new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.
Next: This brand’s wildly popular crossover would get a price hike.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 763,000 cars (56%)
American consumers can’t get enough of the Nissan Rogue crossover these days. In 2018, it leapfrogged the Toyota RAV4 and Camry as the most popular vehicle that’s not a pickup truck.
Even though it is assembled at a U.S. plant, Rogue’s mostly made of imported parts, which would open it up to the Trump tax. Nissan Sentra, Armada, and 370z are three other models that would be affected by a tariff.
Next: Under the proposed Trump policy, some 40% of Chevy vehicles would qualify as imports.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 783,000 cars (39%)
Just because it’s a Chevy doesn’t mean it’s made in Detroit. Consumers learned that years ago, and it’s still the case in 2018, when about 40% of the bowtie brand’s sales here will qualify as imports.
The Chevy Cruze, Bolt EV, and Silverado crew cab pickups would all get higher prices under this plan.
Next: American consumers would be hit hard if Trump policies taxed this brand’s imports.
- 2018 forecasted import sales: 999,000 cars (49%)
While Toyota has some of the most American-made vehicles consumers can buy in 2018, the brand’s massive worldwide business will include about 1 million import sales in the U.S. That’s about half the sales Toyota makes here.
For consumers, that would mean higher prices on (among others) the RAV4, Prius, and 4Runner — three of the most reliable cars of this decade.
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