it's come to this
Auto industry executives have their first meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but they've already long been pondering how they'll work with the new president. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that instead of spending the end of 2016 preparing for the year ahead, the auto industry was focused on getting ready for the Trump administration:
Union bosses are being called in to consult on how to reshuffle factory work, board members are trying to figure out who has friends in President Donald Trump's new administration, and task forces have been created to monitor his Twitter account.
At a dinner party during the Detroit auto show earlier this month, Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Mark Fields said he reread Mr. Trump's The Art of the Deal over the holidays. He first read it in the 1980s, but wants to better understand the new occupant of the Oval Office. [Wall Street Journal]
Trump's tweeting in particular is a concern for auto industry executives, as many admit they're not very familiar with the social media platform. Ford's Fields doesn't "actively tweet from a personal account," Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne "doesn't use Twitter," and GM Chief Executive Mary Barra "uses the tool sparingly," The Wall Street Journal reported.
But with Trump repeatedly dinging automakers on Twitter for considering offshoring manufacturing, auto execs have realized they're "going to have to learn to respond," Marchionne said. Since being elected, Trump has taken to calling out specific automakers on Twitter, including Ford and General Motors, and his tweeted promises of imposing hefty border taxes have sent the companies' respective stocks in a downward spiral, if only temporarily.
At the meeting Tuesday, auto industry executives from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler will reportedly try to convince Trump that his demand for "new plants to be built here for cars sold here" might be easier said than done.
For more on automakers' Trump preparation, head over to The Wall Street Journal.