By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday will push the chief executives of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to increase production in the United States and boost American employment.
“I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!” Trump said in a tweet ahead of the breakfast meeting with automakers, saying he would discuss U.S. jobs with the chief executives.
Trump has criticized automakers for building cars in Mexico and elsewhere and has threatened to impose 35 percent tariffs on imported vehicles.
The meeting is the latest sign of Trump’s uncommon degree of intervention for a U.S. president into corporate affairs as he has repeatedly jawboned automakers and other manufacturers to “buy American and hire American.”
It will be the first time the CEOs of the big three automakers meet jointly with a U.S. president since a July 2011 session with then-president Barack Obama to tout a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Fiat Chrysler is the Italian-American parent of the former Michigan-based Chrysler.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said Trump “looks forward to hearing their ideas about how we can work together to bring more jobs back to this industry.”
U.S. and foreign automakers have been touting plans to boost American jobs and investments in the face of Trump’s comments. The Republican president made attacks on Ford’s Mexico investments a cornerstone of his campaign.
Automakers have praised Trump’s policies, but emphasized that the recent employment moves were the result of business, not political decisions, that had mostly been in the works for a long period.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)