Trump tweet targets GM’s Mexican production

Last Updated Jan 3, 2017 12:30 PM EST

DETROIT -- In another tweet targeting a U.S. company, President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to slap a tax on General Motors (GM) for importing compact cars to the U.S. from Mexico.

But GM makes the vast majority of compact Chevrolet Cruzes in Lordstown, Ohio, near Cleveland.

Trump tweeted early Tuesday that GM is sending Mexican-made Cruzes to the U.S. tax-free. He told GM to stop or “pay a big border tax.”

Shares of GM fell 0.4 percent in premarket trading after the tweet. But by midday, the stock was up 0.4 percent over the previous close, to $35.

The company responded with a statement noting that all Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are made in Ohio, and only a “small number” of Mexico-made Cruze hatchbacks are sold in the U.S.

The question of Mr. Trump’s power to impose tariffs is getting increased notice as his Jan. 20 inauguration nears. On Tuesday, a Brooklyn Law School profesor, Rebecca Kysar, contended in a New York Times op-ed piece that a president lacks the authority to impose tariffs unilaterally. Congress must act to give him that ability, she wrote. 

Last year Mr. Trump threatened to tax Ford (F), which plans to shift production of the compact Focus to Mexico. However, jobs at the U.S. factory that makes Focuses would be preserved because the plant would get a new pickup and SUV.

GM is only the latest corporation the president-elect has targeted on Twitter. In December, he tweeted that the costs of the F-35 fighter jet were “out of control,” sending the stock of its maker, Lockheed Martin (LMT), down 4.4 percent. He later tweeted that he’d asked competitor Boeing (BA) to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” 

But Boeing, too, has found itself on the receiving end of Mr. Trump’s tweets. Earlier in December, he used nearly identical language to tweet about the cost of Boeing’s 747 Air Force One, sending Boeing’s stock down 1 percent. 

Other companies Mr. Trump has publicly targeted include AmazonT-MobileMacy’s and Indiana’s Rexnord.