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Wait 100 days for a clearer picture on Trump: Daimler CEO

With President Donald Trump expressing an interest in where automakers manufacture their products, German automaker Daimler has told CNBC it hopes to remain on good terms with the U.S., as the industry faces a potential shake up.

"The American democracy is more than 200 years of age, so we have all confidence that we will continue a collaborative, positive working relationship as we had in the past," Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chief executive and chairman of the board of management, told CNBC Thursday.

"And I think like for every new president, we should follow the 100-day rule and then have a clearer picture of where things will take us in the future."

Before Trump officially took on his role as the 45th U.S. president, the Republican had taken to Twitter to state that automakers should make their cars in the U.S. or "pay big border tax".

A number of companies have weighed in on the debate, with BMW stating early January that it remained committed to its new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, however, it would continue to invest in its largest production plant in South Carolina. CEOs from U.S. automakers have also met with the President since he was sworn in, including the heads of General Motors and Ford.

Mercedes-Benz cars are among the many car brands that are being recalled for their Takata airbags.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
Mercedes-Benz cars are among the many car brands that are being recalled for their Takata airbags.

When asked by CNBC about Daimler's own production plants in Mexico and what the company would do if Trump imposed a border tax, Zetsche said his company was "not in the speculative business," when commenting on any potential impacts.

"We have seen in all the years, in many places in the world, changes of the boundary conditions and if that happens and obviously (with) politics, and (with) the conditions we work within them."

"We have to adjust the best possible to – in the given environment at any point of time and any place – show the best performance possible. But we can only discuss that when we know what potential changes might be."

The maker of Mercedes luxury cars said in a news conference that it expected the NAFTA free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada to continue under Trump's leadership, Reuters reported.

Zetsche's made his comments as the German automaker pledged to improve on its record 2016 sales and profits.

Earnings before interest and tax rose 19 percent to 3.46 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the fourth quarter, slightly below analyst estimates according to a Reuters poll. Revenue for the fourth quarter came in at 41 billion euros, up one percent from the previous year's quarter.

On Thursday, Daimler's stock was off some 3 percent at 11.10 a.m. U.K. time, making it one of the worst performers on the STOXX 600.

In reaction to the stock price, Zetsche said it was more important for the company to watch the share price's developments over some days and weeks, which as of late has had a "nice development" in performance, adding that he was very confident that this positive performance would continue.