Trump blasts General Motors: Make Chevy Cruze model in US or 'pay big border tax'

Trump tweet targets GM
Trump tweet targets GM

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked General Motors in a tweet, claiming the auto giant is making a Chevy Cruze model in Mexico and then sending them to U.S. dealers tax free.

"General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!" Trump said on Twitter.

Donald Trump tweet

GM later responded to Trump's tweet, saying it makes most of its Chevy Cruze models in the United States and sells only a "small number" of one model made in Mexico in the U.S.

"General Motors manufactures the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in Lordstown, Ohio. All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM's assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S," the company said in a statement.

GM told CNBC that it sold about 190,000 Cruzes in the U.S. in 2016. About 4,500 of those, or 2.4 percent, were hatchbacks made in Mexico.

GM shares initially fell in premarket trade after Trump's attack but traded higher after the market opened.

Trump ran on pledges to discourage American companies from moving production overseas and has targeted various corporations for their practices. Trump has already touted a deal in which United Technologies unit Carrier will get $7 million in financial incentives to keep some jobs in Indiana. It will still close another Indiana facility and move hundreds of jobs to Mexico.

He has also targeted Boeing and Lockheed Martin on Twitter, hitting the companies for what he called overly expensive defense contracts. Both companies' stocks briefly fell in response to Trump's criticism.

GM CEO Mary Barra also serves on Trump's strategic and policy forum, a group of CEOs that advises him on economic policy.

In November, GM said it planned to lay off 2,000 employees at two U.S. plants, including the Lordstown facility, in early 2017.