President Trump Threatened German Automakers With More Strict Fuel Economy Standards, Even Though He Can't Do That

Illustration for article titled President Trump Threatened German Automakers With More Strict Fuel Economy Standards, Even Though He Can't Do That
Photo: BMW

The American President, one Donald J. Trump, has a knack for throwing a giant wrench in the works of the automotive industry with worldwide implications. He’s proposed huge import tariffs, crazy rollbacks of emissions standards, bonkers threats to remove GM’s electric car subsidies, and has said he wants to see German automakers disappear from American roads, despite many of them actually building cars here in the U.S.


The most recent threat to leave his lips, a half-baked threat to crank up fuel economy standards for German car makers alone, came to light as a footnote in a New York Times piece released yesterday providing details on the turmoil of Trump’s first half of his term as President.

From the New York Times: During a meeting with German car executives this month, Mr. Trump threatened to impose higher fuel efficiency standards on their imported cars than required on American vehicles even though aides told him he could not do that.

Earlier this month, representatives from Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, and BMW all met in the White House with President Trump with a joint message to attempt to stymie his proposed 25 percent import tariff. While the tariff appears to have been temporarily abandoned, the President is looking for new ways to retaliate against his biggest foe, the trade imbalance with other nations.

For the same reason Trump can’t just single out GM’s EV subsidies, he also can’t create new EPA regulations specifically for German manufacturers. Even if he could, and had the backing of other branches of government for such a move, it doesn’t seem that he’s at all concerned about the ripple effect ramifications of such a move. He does know that BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, and Porsche employ thousands of dealership salespeople, service technicians, and after-sales support folks here in the U.S., surely?

I’m curious what the President might have to say about my German-built Buick-badged Opel. Does he even know it exists? Nobody else seems to.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.


Still Deadpan Andre Braugher

One wishes more strict emissions standards could be applied elsewhere.