President Donald Trump pushed for more U.S. jobs while a factory outside Ypsilanti, Michigan. After holding a round table discussion with auto executives and review new American-made vehicles from the Big Three, he called on his listeners, "Buy American, hire American” and the beginning of his speech. It is a pledge, he said, that he will keep.
During his speech, he noted that he had invited the heads of the automobile manufacturers to the White House, unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump met with Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and was accompanied by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Striking some notes similar to those he touched upon during his campaign, Trump denounced NAFTA and TPP, while also decrying the flight of manufacturers from the US. "The assault on the American auto industry is over," Trump said. "Believe me, it's over."
"As a private citizen I looked mostly with sadness as" shipments of foreign cars came into the U.S.” He said of foreign manufacturers, "We make cars, they don't take ours."
Trump said he is cancelling executive action taken by Barack Obama on vehicle fuel economy, while restoring an originally scheduled midterm review of the standard. Obama’s vehicle standards were largely locked in through 2021. Before Obama left office, the EPA managed to finish a scheduled “midterm evaluation” that concluded the standards should maintained without variation through 2025. However, the Department of Transportation has not yet agreed to it, thus giving Trump a means of changing the rules.
The standards were part of a 2012 deal between the Obama administration and the auto industry that combined in a single set of regulations the rules on vehicle emissions: the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). The arrangement set goals for emissions from new cars and light trucks that become increasingly strict over time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that by 2025, new cars would have to achieve an average of 48.7-49.7 miles per gallon. The auto makers balked, noting that with low gasoline prices, customers in the real world are buying larger vehicles rather than smaller fuel-efficient vehicles. They recently argued that imposing the standards could cost the industry 1.1 million jobs.
Trump announced that the EPA will redo the midterm evaluation next year, thus allowing the EPA and the Department of Transportation to develop possibly less stringent vehicle emissions standards for 2022 to 2025. American auto manufacturers had requested a rethinking of the proposed standards. "I think every [automaker] that produces SUVs and pickups will benefit from a rollback," Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show.