(WJBK) - President Donald Trump hosted a breakfast meeting Tuesday with the heads of General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The meeting was mostly about bringing jobs back to the auto industry.
President Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning that he wants "new plants to be built here for cars sold here!"
Will be meeting at 9:00 with top automobile executives concerning jobs in America. I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2017
On Monday President Trump reiterated his warning to impose a "substantial border tax" on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States. He also promised tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically.
"We are going to be opposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in, which I think is fair," President Trump said. "So, a company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States and build some factory some place else and then thinks that that product is just going to flow across the border into the United States - that's not going to happen. They're going to have a tax to pay; a border tax. Substantial border tax."
The threat from the president to tax Mexican-made cars sold in the U.S. would throw the industry into disarray, analysts say, forcing automakers to make uncomfortable choices: Raise car prices or swallow the cost. Stop selling Mexican-made cars in the U.S. but risk losing customers. Move production to the U.S. but make less money.
"I don't think the auto industry would turn up its feet and die, but it would be a terrible shock. It would create mayhem with their profitability," said Marina Whitman, a business professor at the University of Michigan and a former vice president at General Motors Co.
The breakfast was scheduled for 9 a.m. at the White House. Among the attendees were Ford Motor Co. chief executive Mark Fields, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and General Motors chief executive Mary Barra.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.