Fiat Chrysler CEO says U.S. expansion plan predates Trump, expresses concern about tariffs

CEO Sergio Marchionne says he has not met with Donald Trump and that the company’s plans to expand in Michigan and Ohio have been years in the making, hours after the U.S. President-elect tweeted his thanks to Fiat.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 9, 2017) (FIAT CHRYSLER) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Monday (January 9) he has not met with Donald Trump and that the company’s plans to expand in Michigan and Ohio have been years in the making, hours after the U.S. President-elect tweeted his thanks to Fiat.

“That’s not to minimize the efforts the President-elect Trump has is expanding, in terms of reinforcing the U.S. economy. I think these are things that have been in discussions internally and openly with the UAW now for a number of months. They were part of discussion points that were on the agenda as far back as the labor negotiations in the summer of 2015.”

“It’s finally happening – Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday. In a follow up tweet, he added: “Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford & Fiat C(hrysler).”

Marchionne was asked about tariffs that Trump has threatened to impose on vehicles imported to the United States from Mexico and elsewhere.

“We need to see what what the implications of his stance are on tariffs, Marchionne said. He also it would be “unwise” to do with factoring in current investments by major companies in Mexico.

He said doing so without some sort of tiered program could cause “substantial economic damage” to organizations invested in Mexico.

Marchionne also said the tariffs and other restrictions being considered by the incoming administration could impact their investment in the U.S., particularly its Jeep brand.

“It may force the resizing of our commitment to the U.S. simply because of the fact that I can not take it outside. And that’s something that needs to be valued and needs to be valued and it needs to to be evaluated by the administration before we started imposing tariffs and imposing restrictions on trade,” Marchionne said.

The United States is the second-largest automobile market, behind China. Mexico accounts for a fifth of all vehicle production in North America and has attracted more than $24 billion in auto investment since 2010, according to the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research.

Earlier on Monday, FCA’s Pacifica minivan was named the 2017 Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year.