Donald Trump targeted Japanese automaker, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) saying he would execute a heavy fee if they construct its Corolla vehicles for the U.S. market at a plant in Mexico.
Trump tweeted: “Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.” This was his first fight against a foreign automaker. According to Reuters, the attacks on investments by companies in Mexico have cast a shadow over cross-border production networks central to more than $583 billion a year in trade between the two countries. The value of the Mexican peso has skidded amid fears that Trump’s policies would harm Latin America’s second-biggest economy. Toyota, which announced its plan to build a new Mexican facility in April 2015, said the plant in Guanajuato city would not take away from U.S. employment. Trump’s tweet confuses Toyota’s existing Baja plant with the planned $1 billion plant in Guanajuato city. Baja produces around 100,000 pick-up trucks and truck beds annually. The plant in Guanajuato will build Corollas and have an annual capacity of 200,000 when it comes online in 2019, shifting production of the small car from Canada.
“Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry,” Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said.