Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is unveiled during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, on Jan. 13, 2018. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

DETROIT: The Detroit Auto Show kicks off Sunday, with pickup trucks and SUVs expected to take center stage in a sign of their growing might in the US car market.
Sunday’s agenda for the 30th instalment of the annual show includes an appearance by US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, a Ford vehicle launch and panels and presentations with industry technology experts and gadflies.
General Motors got things off to an early start Saturday night, unveiling its revamped 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickups, billed as the “next generation of strong.”
A short video with twangy music and upbeat testimonials from Silverado owners was followed by the introduction of four of the eight Silverado models at different price points and with slightly different styling.
The Silverado was the second best-selling US vehicle in 2017 after the Ford F-series and ahead of the Ram 1500, in third position. All three are pickups.
“Everything’s just bigger here, so I think that’s what makes us just love our trucks,” said Chris Luce, 24, a Silverado owner from Brighton, Michigan who attended the launch.
Other carmakers seen unveiling pickups, SUVs and large “crossover” vehicles include Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota’s Lexus.
The show is expected to be light on electric cars and to be dominated by spiffed up versions of the bread-and-butter vehicles that dominate the US market.
US car sales fell modestly last year for the first time since the financial crisis but came in at a still-solid 17.2 million, well above the 16 million that many analysts consider good.
While the show is primarily an opportunity to ogle what’s coming next from Motor City, politics is certain to enter the discussion as well.
US carmakers are eyeing negotiations to revamp the North America Free Trade Agreement following President Donald Trump’s vows to cut a better deal for US companies and workers.
The just-enacted US tax cut bill, which will boost corporate profits and includes measures intended to encourage capital spending, will also be in focus.
The show is expected to draw some 700,000 people to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, opening to the public on January 20 following press and industry days.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.