GOTHENBURG, Sweden — U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to delay imposing tariffs on the European Union's auto industry comes as a welcome relief to automakers, but Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson says the trade dispute between the two global powers is "worrying."
"The [Trump] administration wants us to build cars in U.S. and reduce the [U.S.] trade deficit. By coincidence, we are doing exactly that," Samuelsson told the Automotive News Europe Congress, adding that when Volvo announced in 2015 it would build a U.S. factory, tariffs were not a deciding factor.
"We will eventually build 150,000 cars in the U.S. of which half will be exported. And we will sell about the same number there," he said, referring to a sales mix of vehicles built locally and nonlocally. "I hope the administration sees that and taxes somebody else."
Samuelsson in February cited the trade war between the U.S. and China as one reason Volvo's operating profit margin dipped to 5.6 percent in 2018 from 6.7 percent in 2017.