Now Trump Is Blasting Toyota Over Mexican Compact Car Production
“Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax,” the president-elect said on Twitter.
It seems Detroit's carmakers aren't the only ones on the receiving end of Donald Trump's Twitter wrath. Earlier today, the president-elect took to his favorite social media platform to blast Toyota over the company's decision to build a factory in Mexico to build compact cars for the United States.
"Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY!" president-elect Trump posted on Twitter at 1:14pm East Coast time. "Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."
While the factory may have been news to Trump, it certainly isn't to the rest of the world. Toyota announced it would be building the facility in Guanajuato, Mexico—roughly 500 miles from the Baja peninsula—back in April 2015, with the plant expected to come online in 2019. The company does have an existing plant in Baja that builds some Tacoma pickup truck models.
Toyota does build some Corollas in the United States; in fact, the company's facility in Blue Spring, Mississippi is solely dedicated to cranking out the compact model. But as the sixth-most popular light vehicle in the United States—Toyota sold 360,483 units here in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal—and the Mississippi factory is only equipped to crank out 150,000 vehicles per year, according to Toyota.
Trump's sudden Twitter attack against Toyota comes just two days after the businessman-turned-unlikely-president blasted General Motors on social media for selling Mexican-made Chevy Cruze hatchbacks in the U.S. That quickly prompted GM to remind everyone that all Cruze sedans—which make up the majority of sales—are built right here in America. The president-elect also engaged in a spat with Ford over the company's Mexican production facilities during the campaign, which may have played a part in the carmaker's decision earlier this week to cancel a planned factory there (or at least Ford's attempt to tie that to a massive Stateside plant investment).
As The Drive's Lawrence Ulrich has pointed out, many carmakers have turned to Mexican facilities to build small cars for the American market, reserving U.S. production facilities for more profitable vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.