• November 9, 2016

The results are in, and we can now say that starting in January, Donald Trump will be the President of the United States.

While there were many issues that were debated and disputed during this election, the auto industry has many challenges ahead, and how Trump handles them will widely affect the industry.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that the auto industry is facing “more change in the next five to 20 years than it has in the last 50.”

David Cole, director-emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research said that the election is “really, really important” for the industry.

But why?

Economic growth, trade, technology, and regulations are all challenges that Donald Trump will face while he is the President. And the outcomes of each of these areas will have a major affect on the state of the industry.

Economic Growth

The auto industry plays a large part in the US economy, which unfortunately is growing at a snail’s pace, according to experts. There are discussions about companies like Ford who have moved production out of the United States, something Donald Trump has been adamantly against. Perhaps having him in office would entice manufacturers to localize production, creating jobs and improving cost position.


For the auto industry in particular, economic health goes hand in hand with trade. While localizing production may be helpful for the economy, experts like Professor Marina Whitman from the University of Michigan, warn that limiting free trade could potentially hurt the industry. How will Donald handle trade negotiations, and would taxing manufacturers who have moved production outside of the US have a negative impact on trade?


With a win for Donald Trump, automotive leaders are now expecting rollbacks on strict regulations set up in previous years. Trump senior policy advisor John Mashburn released a statement earlier in the election saying “The Trump Administration will complete a comprehensive review of all federal regulations. This includes a review of the fuel economy and emissions standards to make sure they are not harming consumers or American workers.”


President Obama was particularly interested in industry safety lapses, and promoted a shift towards higher-tech safety systems. Will these types of high-tech requirements continue, or will there be a shift towards other types of technology? With continuing tech changes, Trump will have to consider infrastructure, roads, and mass transit. There will also be the discussion of unskilled laborers versus automation, and the need for both in coming months and years.

One thing is certain however, with the election over and the next 4 years ahead, only time will tell exactly what will happen to the auto industry.