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German Automakers Fire Back at Trump over Threats of a 35 Percent Import Tax on Cars Made in Mexico

German automakers pushed back against President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to tax automakers on all cars made in Mexico.

BMW AG responded to Trump’s claims by saying that its largest factory is in South Carolina and that cars made at a smaller factory planned for Mexico would be exported globally, Bloomberg News reported.

The New York Times reports that BMW employs 9,000 people at the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant and exports 70 percent of the vehicles it makes.

Trump told German newspaper Bild that BMW AG will face a 35 percent import tax on cars imported to the U.S. from Mexico, according to Reuters.

“I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 percent tax, then you can forget that,” Trump said.

“We take the comments seriously, but it remains to be seen if and how the announcements will be implemented by the U.S. administration,” Matthias Wissmann, president of German auto industry association VDA, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, who is in charge of BMW’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brands as well as BMW’s car-sharing business, said there is “no reason” for the company to change its plans in Mexico.

“Trump’s comments aren’t really a surprise,” he added.

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