Toyota warns Trump: Car tariffs will increase cost of every vehicle sold in US

  • Automaker Toyota said in a statement on Wednesday that a 25 percent tariff on automobiles would increase the cost of every vehicle sold in the United States.
  • In May, President Donald Trump directed the Commerce Department to investigate whether car imports were a threat to national security.
  • Analysts have said imposing tariffs on car imports would be bad for the industry as a whole.
Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Automaker Toyota said in a statement on Wednesday that a 25 percent tariff on automobiles would increase the cost of every vehicle sold in the United States.

In May, President Donald Trump directed the Commerce Department to investigate whether car imports were a threat to national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said the investigation would be completed later in the summer, possibly as soon as July.

“A hundred and thirty-seven thousand Americans support their families working for Toyota, and Toyota and Lexus dealerships," the company said in the statement. "They are not a national security threat. Indeed, Toyota operates 10 manufacturing plants in the U.S. We are an exemplar of the manufacturing might of America."

The company noted that the cost of the Toyota Camry, one of the most popular cars sold in America, would go up $1,800. The Camry is manufactured in a Toyota factory in Georgetown, Kentucky.

On Tuesday, the president wrote in a post on Twitter that the Commerce Department was almost done with the study. The president had threatened several days before that his administration would place a 20 percent tariff on car imports.

Analysts and industry leaders have said imposing tariffs on car imports would be bad for the industry as a whole, as well as American consumers.

"Tariffs on imported cars, parts would be broadly credit negative for industry,” Moody’s Investors Service said in a note Monday.

A 25 percent tariff on car imports would cost American consumers $45 billion per year, according to The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group of the leading carmakers, including Toyota.

Trump has faced increasing pushback for his trade policies. Earlier in the year, the president announced that his administration would impose tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel. Those tariffs were also premised on national security grounds.