Hyundai: International automakers 'targeted' by Trump

Smith: "The scary thing is there seems to be a lot of conversation around import-based companies and not even much realization that there's a huge amount of vehicles produced here by international companies." Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

A top U.S. executive at Hyundai Motor Co. said President Donald Trump has "targeted" international car companies with tariff threats, showing little regard for whether those automakers build vehicles in the U.S. and employ Americans.

"The scary thing is there seems to be a lot of conversation around import-based companies and not even much realization that there's a huge amount of vehicles produced here by international companies," Brian Smith, Hyundai Motor America's COO, said in an interview. "The whole tariff conversation isn't around, 'Well, we'll produce here in the United States and everything's fine.' It's more about, the international companies seem to be being targeted."

Smith was among 10 auto executives who met with the president in the White House last month to discuss issues including trade. Within weeks, the Commerce Department began investigating whether imported light vehicles are threatening U.S. national security, and the administration is said to be considering tariffs of as much as 25 percent.

President Trump traveled to Canada on Friday for a Group of Seven meeting after having stoked trade tensions with U.S. allies. Hyundai produces more than half the models it sells in America, including the Sonata sedan and Santa Fe crossover, at a factory in Alabama that employs 2,700 full-time workers.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.


Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.