U.S. President Donald Trump pushed the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday to increase production in the United States and boost American employment, reports Reuters. Trump opened a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House by saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States. The new Republican president vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States…U.S. automakers have been reluctant to open new U.S. auto plants in recent years, but they have expanded operations at existing U.S. plants…With flattening U.S. auto sales and some excess capacity, U.S. automakers may be reluctant to agree to open new plants, which likely would not come online for several years. Tuesday’s gathering was the first time the CEOs of the big three automakers have met jointly with a U.S. president since a 2011 session with Barack Obama to tout a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards by 2025…Automakers have urged the Trump administration to rethink those aggressive fuel efficiency mandates.
Associated Press reports that at a time of record auto recalls, safety advocates say the Republican-run Congress is snubbing their agenda and taking sides with the auto and trucking industries in favor of legislation that could worsen matters. For example, there’s no increase in the maximum fine of $35 million per violation that can be levied against automakers who don’t report safety defects and no increase in money for NHTSA to hire more staff to investigate potential safety defects and oversee automakers.