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Trump asks Japanese automakers to do something they've been doing for 35 years

Greg Gardner, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Three out of four Japanese cars sold in the U.S. last year were built in North America, including Mexico and Canada.

Japanese-brand automakers operate 24 manufacturing plants and 43 engineering and design centers in 20 states. Collectively they have invested $43.6 billion in the U.S.

In August, Toyota and Mazda announced plans to invest $1.6 billion in a new jointly operated assembly plant to be built in the U.S.

Despite that presence, the U.S. still runs a trade deficit with Japan of about $69 billion. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler sell very few vehicles in Japan. That has been a point of contention for decades.

"The issue with Trump is that if you ignore some of the things he says, it might come back to bite you," said Hoyt Bleakley, associate professor of economics at the University of Michigan. "Every time there is a comment like that, you have to factor in another wave of uncertainty about future economic or trade policy."


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