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Automaker stocks dive after Trump announces new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

  • The U.S. will set tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
  • General Motors shares closed about 4 percent lower, while Ford and Toyota shares fell about 3 percent. Fiat Chrysler closed about 2.8 percent lower, while Honda shed about 2.7 percent.
  • GM and Toyota issued statements saying they purchase most of their steel and aluminum in the U.S.
An employee carries a headliner to be installed onto a vehicle at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington, Texas.
Matthew Busch | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee carries a headliner to be installed onto a vehicle at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington, Texas.

Shares of major automakers dived Thursday on news that the U.S. will impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum as early as next week.

The U.S. will set tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

General Motors shares closed about 4 percent lower, while Ford and Toyota shares fell about 3 percent. Fiat Chrysler closed about 2.8 percent lower, while Honda shed about 2.7 percent.

General Motors issued a statement saying, "We purchase over 90% of our steel for U.S. production from U.S. suppliers," meaning that the tariffs won't have a significant impact.

Toyota also said in a statement, "The majority of our steel and aluminum purchases come from the United States."

Auto dealers have come out against the tariffs. Shares of car retailer AutoNation fell 2 percent on the news Thursday.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association issued a statement saying car prices will rise and put downward pressure on sales.

"Both metals are crucial to the production of cars and trucks sold in America today and would raise the sale prices of those vehicles substantially," the statement said.

AIADA President and CEO Cody Lusk weighed in, saying: "These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn't come at a worse time. Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America."

The U.S. will apply the tariffs broadly, without targeting specific countries, and not impose quotas, Trump said.

"People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries. By people representing us who didn't have a clue," Trump said, arguing that trade trends "destroyed" American steel and aluminum industries.

Trump made the announcement as steel and aluminum executives, who back the tariffs, met with administration officials at the White House on Thursday.

Tariffs on the metals mark another step in the ongoing push for protectionist policies that helped Trump win the White House. The president has repeatedly thrashed free trade deals struck by his predecessors, arguing they hurt American workers, and has pledged to make trade more fair to the United States.

Trump's actions have also sparked concerns about higher prices for consumers or retaliation from other countries that could harm the U.S. economy. As reports indicated Trump could move forward with tariffs, European Union and Chinese officials considered retaliating by targeting American products with political significance.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.