DETROIT (WJBK) - Though the president-elect is nowhere near the Motor City during the car show, his presence is being felt.
The North American International Auto Show is taking center stage in Detroit -- the cars, the trucks, the glitz ,the glamour -- on display for the world to see as the country and this industry prepare for what a Donald Trump presidency will mean.
"Trump is definitely the elephant in the room at this auto show. The question is what sort of influence he is actually having as opposed to what people are talking about," said Paul Eisenstein of TheDetroitBureau.com.
The president-elect tweeted Monday:
"It's finally happening - Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs. This after Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford & Fiat C!"
Sergio Marchioni, CEO of Fiat Chrysler weighed in Monday at NAIAS Detroit.
"To be fair, and that's not to minimize the efforts that President-Elect Trump is expending in terms of reinforcing the U.S. economy, I think these are things that have been in discussions internally and openly with the UAW now for a number of months," said Sergio Marchioni, CEO of Fiat Chrysler.
Marchioni saying what Eisenstein had been saying all along as the president-elect takes credit via Twitter for decisions made by the automakers.
"We are not going to see the industry run by tweet. For one thing, key decisions on plants and products take months, and in some cases, years," Eisenstein said.
But that hasn't stopped the president-elect, who tweeted last week:
"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!"
"I can't understand exactly what he was doing -- picking on the Cruze, which is largely built in the United States with a handful of specialty models made in Mexico," Eisenstein said.
GM's Mary Barra said as it relates to trade, it's too early to comment.
"We're going to work very proactively with the administration and as I said, I think we have more in common than different," she said.
Barra is putting a positive spin on relations with the incoming administration.
Ford is doing the same.
"I have a good relationship with him and I talk to him quite frequently," Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said.
"We're encouraged that we have a president-elect that's focusing on the economy and talking about making the economy very vibrant. We share that same hope," said Ford CEO Mark Fields.