Fiat Chrysler’s CEO indicated Monday that the automaker is hesitant to make further production decisions regarding Mexico without further direction from President-elect Donald Trump.
Sergio Marchionne says Fiat Chrysler and other automakers need “clarity” not only in regards to Mexican investments, but on auto regulations as well. Marchionne made his comments on the same day that Trump praised Fiat Chrysler in tweets for bolstering its U.S. plants.
“We will adjust, but I think it’s impossible for me to tell you whether we would consider additional investment in México,” Marchionne told reporters at the North American International Auto Show here “We need clarity, and we need rules.”
Marchionne’s comments come one day after the automaker announced plans to invest $1 billion at its plants in Warren and Toledo and add 2,000 jobs. The company confirmed plans on Sunday to make the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer at its Warren Truck Assembly plant by 2020 and to make a new Jeep Wrangler pickup at its Toledo Assembly South plant in Toledo.
That was has been in the works for more than a year, and had nothing to do with Trump or his policy ideas, Marchionne said.
“It has been part of the discussion going back to 2015 with Dennis Williams and the UAW,” Marchionne said.
Nevertheless, Trump praised the Jeep investment in a tweet on Monday.
Trump has frequently suggested he would push a 35% border tariff on goods imported from Mexico and wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump made the revision of free trade agreements, and specifically NAFTA, a centerpiece of his campaign.
On the campaign trail, Trump frequently took aim at Ford for deciding to move its small car production from Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Mich., to Mexico. Last week, Ford reversed course and canceled plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and said Trump’s “pro-business policies,” along with declining car sales, were factors.
While Trump largely ignored other automakers during the campaign he criticized General Motors for making a version of the Chevrolet Cruze in Mexico and selling it in the U.S. and Toyota for its plans to build a $1 billion plant in Mexico to make the Corolla.
“I think we will adjust whenever the rules get changed, if they get changed. We have no choice in this. We are not policy setters,” Marchionne said. “I am not sure exactly what the rules are. Let’s wait.”