President-elect Donald Trump today blasted General Motors and threatened to impose a "big border tax" for making its Chevy Cruze model in Mexico. However, the automaker reiterated that Cruzes built there will mostly go to the domestic market and that it will continue to build the compact in the U.S.
Trump didn't mention anything about vehicles built in Canada.
"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!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.
GM responded in a statement: "General Motors manufacturers the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in Lordstown, Ohio. All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM's assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S."
In March, the automaker said it would invest US$350 million to produce the next-generation Cruze at its plant in Coahuila, as part of US$5 billion investment in its Mexican plants announced in 2014. At the time, GM said it will continue manufacturing the Cruze in Lordstown.
However, with demand for the Cruze sedan waning, GM announced in November that the Lordstown, Ohio, plant will lose its third shift on Jan. 23. The cutback affects 1,202 hourly and 43 salaried jobs. Through the first 11 months of 2016, Cruze sales were down 18 percent.
Mexico Cruze production began last year; 52,631 models were built vs. 319, 536 in the United States. Prior to GM's March announcement, the Cruze had been imported to Mexico from the company's plant in South Korea.
On Tuesday, Trump did not mention anything about vehicles built in Canada. Trump officials did not immediately respond an email Automotive News Canada sent asking about whether Canadian exports to the United States would be slapped with a similar tax.
General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Toyota all manufacture vehicles in Ontario and the majority of them are shipped to the United States.