Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Trump and Apple now at war

Trump and Apple now at war

Meanwhile, Apple warned in a letter sent earlier this month to the US trade representative that a potential new round of tariffs would "increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives".

Kristin Dziczek of the Center of Automotive Research says there's simply no motivation for Ford to build the Focus Active in the U.S now.

Ford in April made the shock announcement that by 2020 the only passenger cars in its lineup will be the Mustang and the Focus Active soft-roader based on the recently redesigned fourth-generation Focus.

Auto industry analyst Ed Kim told the Guardian that Trump's tariffs have, effectively, ruined Ford's plan for the Focus.

Ford has already announced it will eventually stop selling all passenger cars in the USA except the Mustang, in favor of meeting Americans' appetite for large - and profitable - trucks and SUVs. The consumer market in U.S. prefers smaller efficient vehicles like the SUVs.

And, according to BOA Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan, Apple may just give in to the president's request by asking its partners to bring some iPhone assembly operations into the USA, which will lead to higher prices. While Ford might choose not to build the Focus in China, it does have a multiple number of plants in other countries it can choose to build the small hatchback in.

If sales were high enough to justify production at a US plant, the price of a compact vehicle isn't high enough to cover the difference in wages here, she said.

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"You know, their statement was very clear", Dziczek said.

Meanwhile, General Motors is seeking an exemption from the same tariffs on vehicles that hit Ford, suggesting that it will have to pull the China-made Envision SUV off the market if the exemption is not granted.

The notion that a USA manufacturer's decision not to sell one of its products in the United States is a victory for Trump's "America First" trade agenda has bewildered observers, including a number of former U.S. trade officials.

"Ford is one of the companies that has the highest US content and the most USA autoworkers of any company", said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Industry, Labor & Economics Group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

For the Focus Active, the tariffs on Chinese vehicles changed everything.

Trump, speaking on Friday aboard Air Force One, said the administration had tariffs planned for an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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