While BMW’s investment and plan to hire more workers in South Carolina will be welcomed by President Donald Trump, the move comes just months after the president blasted German automakers as part of a broader complaint about Germany’s trade surplus with the U.S.
“You can build cars in the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay a 35 percent tax,” Trump told the German newspaper Bild earlier this year.
Krueger denies BMW is spending and hiring in South Carolina as a way to placate the president.
“There was already planning before [Trump’s election], because we have long-term strategic planning, but also the success of the U.S. market is something that was, for us, important,” he said.
Krueger, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, met with Trump in March and he is well aware these are delicate times for automakers in the U.S.
The president is moving to renegotiate NAFTA and many are wondering what type of tariff, if any, could be slapped on autos imported from Mexico and Canada. Last year, those two countries supplied about 20 percent of the 17.5 million vehicles sold in the U.S.