Campaign promises are a special sort of thing. While most people don’t believe they will come true exactly how candidates state them, they do believe the underlying theme. For example, there was the border wall Donald Trump said he would build if elected President of the United States. Few people expect that to happen — and Mexico would never pay, of course — but maybe there will be extra border security for Texas and California? We’ll see.
In terms of trade, a hot-button issue during the campaign, Trump made several references to the auto industry. While offering up misleading statements about Ford jobs going to Mexico, Trump at one point threatened to put a 35% tariff on cars coming back into America. Such an import tax would affect companies besides Ford. All the major U.S. automakers make cars with familiar American badges like Jeep and Chevrolet in places likes China, Korea, and Mexico.
The Kogod Made in America index, published annually, shows just how many “Detroit” cars are made elsewhere. Taxing cars made overseas then imported here would have many implications, including the selection available at your local dealerships. Here are 10 cars that could get the axe if Trump follows through on his auto industry threats.
1. Chevrolet Trax
GM has built the Chevy Trax in South Korea, but the 2017 model U.S. drivers get comes from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. This subcompact SUV segment is taking off in America, so any major tariff increase on Trax would impact consumers immediately. In other words, the base price of $21,000 would have to increase. According to the Made in America index, only about 20% of Trax is sourced in the U.S.
2. Jeep Renegade
In theory, Jeep is one of the most iconic American brands, but it now produces vehicles on four different continents. Renegade, the subcompact SUV, hails from Italy and Brazil. As a result, less than 38% of the car’s contents and economic benefits trace back to America. For all intents and purposes, this Jeep is a foreign model.
3. Ford Focus RS
If you want to get performance enthusiasts excited, bring up the Ford Focus RS. This car answers the question “what would happen if you packed a Mustang engine inside a Focus before tuning it to perfection.” However, it cannot claim to be made in America. Less than 15% of its content hails from this country. German workers in Saarlouis do the honors.
4. Chevrolet Caprice
It would be the ultimate irony if the “law and order candidate” ended up keeping the Chevy Caprice out of the hands of American cops. This Australia-built model that is well-regarded by police forces comes to life in GM’s Holden plant Down Under. As of October 2017, that Aussie plant will close its doors as GM exits the continent. Wherever the Caprice ends up, there’s little chance it will ever become an American-made car.
5. Ford Eco Sport SUV
The subcompact SUV market may baffle American consumers weaned on Suburbans and Expeditions, but this segment shows increasing strength every year both here and abroad. U.S. brands are officially in the act, too. Those familiar with Trax and Renegade will not be surprised by Ford EcoSport, a tiny SUV coming for the 2018 model year. Made in India, this car would become too expensive if it had a large tariff added to the base price.
6. Cadillac CT6 PHEV
The auto market in China is the world’s largest, so Trump might very well take aim there as he looks to shake up the industry. Cadillac, the GM luxury brand with extensive operations in China, would be one company affected by a new trade policy. For example, the CT6 plug-in hybrid built in China would likely become too expensive for consumers already slow on adopting plug-in vehicles.
7. Dodge Journey
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles builds the Dodge Journey in Toluca, Mexico. Despite promises the automaker would move Journey production back to Michigan, suppliers say it will instead move to Italy beginning in 2019. Until then, Mexican workers will assemble the Journey, and a new Jeep begins production in the same Toluca plant as of January 2017.
8. Buick Encore
Few vehicles are as international as the Buick Encore luxury SUV. Currently made in South Korea with plans for production in China, the vehicle screams “global auto industry.” Only research costs and the corporate profits have American fingerprints on them. That’s how it landed a score of 13.50 out of 100 on the Kogod Made in America index. Currently, the majority of Buicks are made in China and just two models have plans to stay in America.
9. Ford Fiesta
Subcompact passenger cars like the Ford Fiesta have a tiny market in the U.S., so it may not be surprising this model is made in several countries, including Mexico. Ford had plans to move some small car production there in 2018, and the company is moving forward with that plan. No jobs were ever leaving, which was Ford’s previous issue with Trump, and that situation remains the same.
10. Chevrolet SS
Like the Chevy Caprice, the SS hails from GM’s Australian plant. This vehicle has no long-term future after Holden production ceases in Oz late in 2017, but we can be fairly certain this light seller won’t be coming to America for domestic workers to assemble. Even if it doesn’t die of natural causes, Trump could kill the SS by promising to slap it with a high tariff.