The President-elect argues that German automakers should face a 35-percent tax on every car imported to the US.
President-elect Donald Trump has turned his tariff threats to German automakers, apparently threatening BMW and Mercedes-Benz."Car companies and others, if they want to do business in our country, have to start making things here again," he wrote in a Twitter rant. "WIN!" [emphasis in original]
Speaking to German outlet Bild, Trump suggested everyone on Fifth Avenue has a "Mercedes-Benz parked in front of his house," however "it isn't mutual" and the Germans were "very unfair to the USA," according to excerpts translated by The Wall Street Journal.
"How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany?" he asked rhetorically. "Not very many, maybe none at all ... it's a one-way street."
General Motors pulled Chevrolet from the European market several years ago due to poor sales and overlap with the company's Opel brand. Aside from special-order vehicles, the upcoming Opel Ampera-e will be built alongside its stablemate, the Chevy Bolt, at GM's Orion Assembly Plant.
BMW in June broke ground at its $1 billion factory site in Mexico's state of San Luis Potosi, where up to 150,000 3-Series sedans will eventually roll off the assembly line each year.
Germany's economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel, fired back at Trump's comments, arguing that BMW's biggest factory is already located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and any tariffs would cause the industry to experience a "bad awakening" due to global supply chains.
"I would wait and see what the Congress has to say about that, which is mostly full of people who want the opposite of Trump," Gabriel added.
The big three German automakers -- BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen -- all have made significant investments for factories in Mexico. Despite Trump's threats, BMW expects its Mexico factory to begin building cars on schedule in 2019.