Trump reportedly told French President Emmanuel Macron that he would continue to pursue tough trade policies, with the goal of stopping Mercedes-Benz models from driving down Fifth Avenue in NY, according to a WirtschaftsWoche report translated by CNBC.
Daimler declined to comment on the proposed ban, but a spokesperson pointed out that the company supports more than 150,000 jobs here, and 22.8 percent of Daimler's shareholders are from the US.
Macron's workplace mentioned in a press release Friday that the 2 presidents spoke by cellphone after Trump's administration introduced the choice Thursday to impose 25 % tariffs on metal and 10 % tariffs on aluminum.
German manufacturers control 90 percent of the premium auto market of America: BMW owns Rolls-Royce and the same brand, Daimler - Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen in control of Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche and Audi. Volkswagen controls Bentley, and Bugatti. Shares of Daimler (DAI-DE), Porsche (PAH3-DE) and Volkswagen (VOW3-DE) were all trading off around 1 percent on the news.
Trump has railed against German carmakers before and in early 2017, in an interview with German newspaper Bild, had said he would impose 35 percent tariffs on imported cars. If he were to restrict the direct import of cars from Germany, this would still leave a number of exclusions. And last week, the Trump administration did, in fact, begin investigating the possibility: the administration began a so-called "Section 232 trade investigation" into European vehicle imports.
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The European Union imposes a 10 percent tariff on cars imported from the U.S. The U.S. tariff on European made cars is now 2.5 percent.
The phone call between the French president and his United States counterpart came after the USA announced the steep metals tariffs would be imposed on the European Union, Canada and Mexico as of midnight (0400 GMT Friday).
BMW sold 73,835 cars and light trucks in the United States in the first quarter.
The initial tariffs were announced in March by the US President Donald Trump, who claimed that the US had been treated unfairly by its trade partners for years.
The possibility of punishing German automakers comes amid an escalating trade war that began with China and has now extended to Canada and will soon extend to Europe.