Early on Tuesday morning, unprompted, President-elect Donald Trump attacked General Motors on Twitter, claiming that the company is importing its Chevy Cruze from Mexico to the United States and will have to “pay a big border tax” if it doesn’t move production to the U.S.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
But Trump may not have had all the facts straight when he sent the tweet. The company quickly responded to his assertion, saying that all of its Cruze sedans sold in the United States are built here. It did add that it sells “a small number” of Cruze hatchbacks in the United States that are manufactured in Mexico — but they come to just 2.4 percent of all Cruzes sold in the country, according to CNBC.
Trump’s tweet was enough to send GM’s stock down 3 percent in pre-market trading, although it appeared to recover after the markets opened.
Trump has already promised “consequences” such as border taxes on companies that produce goods abroad and import them to the United States. But so far he’s offered up incentives, not penalties, for companies that have threatened to move jobs to Mexico. His high-profile deal with air conditioning and heating giant Carrier to keep about 800 jobs in the country, with 1,300 still leaving, included a package of state tax incentives and a promise of corporate-friendly tax reform.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Trump didn’t mention the fact that GM has announced it is laying off about 3,3000 people at three plants, including the one that manufacturers the Cruze, and reducing production for a number of weeks to deal with its high inventory of sedans.