NADA President Peter Welch led off a full day of testimony before Department of Commerce and Defense officials by announcing a brand-new NADA-commissioned study of how consumers and dealers would be adversely impacted if the Administration were to impose new tariffs or quotas on imported automobiles and automobile parts. The study, conducted by the Center for Automotive Research, considered a 25% tariff, a 10% tariff, and an 80% quota. It assumed first that all imported vehicles and vehicle parts would be impacted and, alternatively, that imports from Canada and Mexico would be excluded.
Welch’s testimony highlighted the study’s finding that the following would occur if a 25% tariff is applied to all imports, and if all of it were passed on to consumers:
The average price of vehicles offered to U.S. consumers would rise by $4,400; $6,875 for imports and $2,270 for U.S.-built vehicles with import parts content. Annual new vehicle sales would fall by 2 million units.
GDP would fall by $59.2 billion and 715,000 Americans would lose their jobs. For dealerships alone, annual revenues would fall by $66.5 billion ($4 million per store) and 117,000 employees would be laid off. Welch noted that the CAR study concluded that new tariffs or quotas would also reduce consumer choice, reduce competition, increase the cost of used vehicles, and raise the cost of getting automobiles serviced and repaired. He stressed that while NADA sees no basis for a finding that the importation of vehicles or parts to the United States threatens our country’s national security, it recognizes the importance to the U.S. of leveling the trade playing field; of eliminating unfair trade practices; and of keeping America’s automotive industry strong.
Prior to the hearing, NADA filed two sets of extensive comments addressing the Department of Commerce’s investigation. In addition, as part of an industry Coalition, NADA placed a letter to the President in in the Wall Street Journal.