Fiat avoids Trump wrath, but Mexico imports coming soon
DETROIT: Fiat Chrysler so far has escaped the wrath of President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, but the automaker is due to start importing models from Mexico as soon as this month.
Fiat Chrysler shifted production of the new Jeep Compass to Mexico so it could build another vehicle in the Illinois plant outside of Chicago, where the Compass was produced until last month.
The move was part of the overall effort to boost production for its popular Jeep brand, according to the company’s executives.
So far FCA has escaped Trump’s twitter outbursts and is trying to maintain a low profile as it prepares the plant in Toluca, Mexico to produce the Compass for sale in the US market and for export to other countries as well.
But Trump has targeted Ford, General Motors and Toyota in his attacks, largely via Twitter, for investing in plants in Mexico and threatened to impose stiff import taxes for cars imported into the United States.
He repeatedly slammed Ford for moving jobs to Mexico, even as the automaker denied the charge and noted that it actually added jobs in its US operations.
Still, the company this week canceled plans to build a plant in Mexico, to instead invest in an existing US factory and create 700 jobs, citing confidence in Trump’s economic plan.
GM defended its plans, saying it will only import a small number of the hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze, while Toyota noted it maintains a large manufacturing base in the United States.
GM and Fiat Chrysler also build pick-up trucks in Mexico that are sold in the US market, but so far Trump has not targeted the truck factories.
After the election in November, FCA said it was looking forward to working with the new president.
“FCA US looks forward to working with President-elect Donald J. Trump and the new Congress to strengthen American manufacturing and build a more secure future for our employees, customers and society.”
The Fiat Chrysler also noted that since filing for bankruptcy in 2009, the company has announced $8.4 billion in US-based investments and added almost 25,000 new US jobs.