Auto Dealers Object to White House’s Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) on Thursday expressed opposition to President Donald Trump’s plan to place a 25-percent tariff on steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports. Both metals are crucial to the production of cars and trucks and would raise the sale prices of those vehicles substantially, according to AIADA.

In addition to paying more for their vehicles, American consumers and workers can also expect to bear the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs other countries will almost certainly place on goods manufactured and exported from the United States, according to AIADA.

“These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Cody Lusk, AIADA president and CEO. “Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America. The burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer. Car shoppers looking for a deal will instead find that they are paying a new tax to transport themselves and their families.”

Steel and aluminum tariffs could directly counteract any benefits American manufacturers have seen from tax and regulatory reform. An analysis of tariffs on steel imposed in 2002 found that the Bush steel tariffs cost 200,000 jobs, including 30,000 in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania alone, according to AIADA.

America’s 9,600 international nameplate auto dealers, the majority of which are family-owned businesses, employ more than 577,000 Americans, resulting in a payroll of $32 billion and an additional 527,000 indirect jobs, according to AIADA. Last year, they sold 8.4 million vehicles to American consumers, 59 percent of total U.S. retail vehicle sales.

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