“This car is not a national security threat.”
So proclaims a red-white-and-blue sign on the door of a Volkswagen Beetle, directed at members of Congress attending the annual Washington Auto Show.
The message is the work of the Association of Global Automakers, which lobbies in Washington for foreign-based carmakers.
As the Trump administration weighs the idea of placing tariffs as high as 25% on imported cars under the guise of national security, lobby groups and carmakers are fighting back. “Built in Ohio” proclaim signs on backdrops of stars-and-stripes on the doors of Hondas. “Built in South Carolina” read signs on Volvos, “Built in Alabama” on Hyundais, “Built in Mississippi” on Nissans.
The messages are trying to bring attention to the fact that foreign-owned brands are building more of their cars at domestic plants, bringing jobs in many cases to states carried by wide margins by President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. And they are part of a move by both foreign and domestic carmakers to block punitive tariffs on imported cars and parts.