After being elected but before he took office, Trump also pledged to place a 35 percent tax on every German vehicle brought into the U.S.
The weekly German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche cited several unnamed USA and European diplomats who revealed that at last month's meeting between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron the us president said he was intent on stopping Mercedes-Benz models from driving down Fifth Avenue in NY.
"Trump's grudge against the German automaker - and especially against Mercedes models in NY - is not new". Most troubling for these works is a statement in the report in which Trump told Macros he wants to stop all production of the vehicles to "prevent Mercedes-Benz models from driving down Fifth Avenue in NY".
President Donald Trump is reportedly threatening to ban German cars from U.S. roads. If he were to restrict the direct import of cars from Germany, this would still leave a number of exclusions. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany?
Earlier this month, the Trump administration opened a trade investigation into whether vehicle imports had damaged the USA auto industry. WirtschaftsWoche's article points out that just prior to his inauguration in 2017, Trump railed against the Mercedes-Benz vehicles he saw in NY.
At the time, the president called Germany a great auto producer but said that the business relationship with the United States was an unfair one-way street.
Tariffs would presumably have a negative impact on German auto sales in the USA, though Mercedes-Benz and its peers already manufacture some of their US-market vehicles in American factories.
Audi and Porsche are seen to be particularly vulnerable because they do not have USA factories, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW have large established plants which could more easily allow them to expand local production capacity if imports were curtailed.
German authorities have criticized the investigation into vehicle imports, which could lead to tariffs of up to 25 percent on the same "national security" grounds that Washington used to impose metals duties in March.