Monday, 29 May 2017


Trumpo, The Circus Clown

It seems that the jury is back in the courtroom, rendering its verdict.  Donald Trump really is dumber than a sackful of hammers.  Or, if not, he manages to give a mighty compelling impression from time to time that the hammers are smarter than the President on a good day.  Or, yet again, if not--maybe it's all fake news.

Here is the latest which had us in a fit of laughter over the over cornflakes:
One of Donald Trump's cornerstone pushes since he's become President of the United States has been his focus on encouraging local manufacturing by increasing taxes on imported goods. And it's the motoring world that's feeling this more than other industries, in the form of a 35 per cent tax “for every car that comes to the USA,” in Trump's words.

And while some of his focus has been on the likes of Ford, it was German marques like BMW that have been in his sights this weekend at the latest North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) political summit overnight — featuring some of the EU's heaviest hitters.  [Motoring News]
Now, before going further, we hasten to run a few disclaimers up the pole.
  We are told this piece of news came via the German news media, Der Spiegel in particular.  It may well be fake news, for all we know.  If that turns out to be the case, we apologize in advance and would be glad to post an appropriate correction.
This came in the form of a quote that the President said in a private meeting between a 'circle of participants', according to German news outlet Der Spiegel:  “The Germans are bad, very bad... Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. We will stop this.”  Other German journalists and news outlets have corroborated the quote in further stories published overnight and earlier today. 
Quotes from a "private meeting" are always suspicious because at least one person has acted illicitly by preaching privacy.  But, let's proceed on the assumption that the quotation was genuine.  The reason it is a such a dumb position to hold is that it takes little or no account of the real world.  It ends up punishing US businesses.
It's ironic, of course, considering that the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen (plus a few Japanese marques like Toyota) already produce a huge volume of cars in the US.  And the irony snowball continues when you consider that many of 'America's' manufacturers like General Motors produce their cars overseas.
Imagine all those US employees of BMW, Volkswagen and other non-US marques (who manufacture their products in the US) being singled out for special excise taxes so as to create a tilted playing field to favour other US car businesses.  If the quotation is true, we find ourselves joining the lusty voiced chorus singing, "What a Buffoon."

Sadly, it seems that it is all true.  Here is Bertel Schmitt, writing in Forbes:

A week ago, I carelessly opined that BMW would be among the last automakers exposed to the wrath of Trump. After all, the Bavarian automaker produces more cars in the U.S. than it sells in-country, a rare honor shared only with Tesla and Daimler. As a net exporter of cars, BMW deserves a medal from the impending president. Boy, was I wrong to apply logic. Yesterday, BMW was next in line to be bludgeoned by the bully-in-chief.

In an interview with Germany’s BILD Zeitung, published late Sunday night, Trump said BMW would “waste its time and money” building a plant in Mexico, because Trump would slap the Bavarian automaker with his infamous “35% border tax.” After Ford, GM, and Toyota, BMW is the fourth automaker in Trump’s cross-hairs.

In the interview – it is translated into German, and behind BILD’s paywall – Trump complains that the Germans were “very unfair to the U.S.” After all, said Trump, “how many Chevrolets do you see in Germany?” With that, Trump once again demonstrated that he learned less about the car business than a 14-year-old reader of the Jalopnik car blog. The 14-year-old knows that GM pulled Chevrolet from the European market in 2015, after an attempt to turn Chevrolet into a global car brand turned into, to steal Trump’s lines, a “total disaster.” To make matters worse for the Europeans, and now Trump, the Chevrolets weren't American, but made-in-Korea.

What Trump also failed to grasp is the fact that GM has a strong presence in Germany and Europe. It is called Opel, and Vauxhall in the UK. Opel, and also Ford, are big in Germany. Last year, each sold a similar amount of cars in Germany as BMW. Ford Europe and Opel are unlikely to be looking forward to becoming collateral damage of a trade war between the U.S. and the EU.

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