March 2, 2018 / 10:18 PM / 4 months ago

More automakers warn Trump metal tariffs would boost car prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More automakers on Friday warned that U.S. President Donald Trump’s announced steel and aluminium tariffs would boost car prices by hiking commodities costs for manufacturers.

FILE PHOTO: Honda Motor's logo is seen on Civic sedan car at its showroom in Tokyo, Japan October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) said in a statement that “imprudent tariffs imposed on imported steel and aluminium would raise prices on both domestic and imported products, thus causing an unnecessary financial burden on our customers.”

Ford Motor Co (F.N) said “despite the fact that Ford buys the vast majority of its steel and aluminium for U.S. production in the U.S., this action could result in an increase in domestic commodity prices – harming the competitiveness of American manufacturers.”

In January, Ford warned that higher prices for metals such as aluminium and steel would be a significant drag on earnings this year.

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Auto lobbyists were still scrambling to learn the details of the tariffs and if they would apply to all countries and for what time period. Officials privately still held out hope that Trump would change his mind.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) warned that while the “decision to impose substantial steel and aluminium tariffs will adversely impact automakers, the automotive supplier community and consumers as this would substantially raise costs and therefore prices of cars and trucks sold in America.”

John Bozzella, who represent Global Automakers, a trade group representing foreign automakers, said “investments earmarked for new products and plants will instead be funnelled to pay for rising steel and aluminium prices used in existing products and facilities. There are better ways to address concerns about the American steel and aluminium industries. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross downplayed the impact on autos, telling CNBC Friday that there’s about a ton of steel in an average car — and that commodity currently costs $700. “So 25 percent on that would be one half of 1 percent price increase on the typical $35,000 car. So it’s no big deal,” he said.

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Grant McCool and David Gregorio

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