Can’t Get No Tariff Relief: Tesla, GM, Nissan, FCA, Uber Appeals Denied

Image: FCA

Large U.S. companies hoping to side-step the 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods by appealing to the government aren’t having much luck. Since July, the U.S. has imposed the tariff on billions of dollars worth of goods from the People’s Republic, leading to financial fallout for automakers heavily invested in the region.

And it seems no one complained more than General Motors. Tesla, Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, and Uber also sent in official gripes in the hopes of receiving an exemption, only to have the door hit them on the way out.

According to Reuters, GM sent more than 50 requests to the U.S. Trade Representative. The automaker’s appeals fell on deaf ears, however, with the USTR rejecting efforts to remove import levies on such things as electronic controllers for high-voltage battery controls, ignition switches, and electric motor components.

Recently, the USTR turned down requests from Tesla for an exemption on its Model 3 computer, touchscreen, and Autopilot “brain.” The trade rep’s office said the components were “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025,’ or other Chinese industrial programs.”

If you’re no fan of Uber or its rentable electric bikes, you’ll be pleased to learn those two-wheeled mobility devices couldn’t wrestle themselves away from the tariff, either. Nor could Nissan, which reportedly sent in dozens of requests.

For FCA, the tariffs imposed on things like wire harnesses and the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler’s electrical power steering pump could end up costing customers more at buying time. The company said, in one request, that it will be forced to “reduce its margins, pass the additional cost onto consumers, or some combination of the two.”

Tesla, which finds itself in a far more perilous financial situation that its rivals, offered up a similar refrain. Choosing a non-Chinese supplier would have pushed the Model 3 timeline ahead by a year and a half, the automaker said.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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