After President-elect Donald Trump targeted Toyota Motor Corp. yesterday with a taunt about the Japan-based multinational’s plan to build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build the Corolla model, both Toyota and Japan are fighting back.
Trump warned Japan’s biggest automaker that it will face heavy penalties if it chooses to make cars for the U.S. market in Mexico, writing “Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.”
The president-elect’s tweet sent shares of Japanese automakers makers sliding today. An angry Japanese government and corporate establishment pushed back against Trump’s criticism of Toyota.
“Toyota is responsible for large employment at U.S. plants such as in Kentucky. It’s questionable whether the new U.S. president has a grasp of how many vehicles Toyota builds in the U.S.,” said Taro Aso, Japan’s finance minister. Hiroshige Seko, minister for trade and industry, added that the Japanese government would do its part to explain to the new U.S. administration about the contribution of the country’s car industry to the U.S. economy.
Other Japanese CEOs also chimed in in support of Toyota including Sony’s Kazuo Hirai and Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn in what seemed like a full-court press from “Japan, Inc.” condemning Trump’s tweet.