Achtung baby: Trump wants German cars out of America

According to the German publication, which says its report results from talking to several unnamed USA and European diplomats, during French President Macron's recent visit to Washington Trump told him that he would "maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in NY".

Citing several unnamed European and US diplomats, the magazine said on Thursday that he told Macron in April he would stick to his trade policy for long enough until no Mercedes-Benz models were rolling down New York's Fifth Avenue.

A new report from a German magazine states President Donald Trump aims to push Mercedes-Benz, and other German luxury auto makers, out of the US market.

Germany is the biggest European Union exporter of vehicles to the US, and automakers based there - among them BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen's Bentley, Porsche and Audi brands - account for 90 percent of premium new auto sales in America.

The top German carmakers also own several brands not necessarily always thought of as "German" cars.

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. "I love free trade, but it must be a smart trade for me to call it fair". Within the EU, Germany is the biggest exporter of cars to the United States.

German Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, responded to Trump's 2017 claim by telling US automakers to "build better cars".

German automakers assembled 804,000 cars in USA plants past year but exported another 657,000 to North America from Germany, according to the VDA industry association. Make no mistake about it, that claim is nothing more than an attempt to levy upwards of 25% tariffs just as Trump has with imported steel and aluminum. German carmakers control 90 percent of the U.S. premium auto market.

The president has shown he's not afraid to get into trade wars with even America's closest allies. Among automobile manufacturers under attack are Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen.

  • Rogelio Becker