Trump likes Fiat Chrysler's planned move from Mexico

President Donald Trump once again pressed auto manufacturers on Friday to build more cars in the U.S., praising Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne for the company’s plan to move truck production from Mexico to Michigan.

Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler confirmed that it will invest $1 billion in its Warren, Michigan, truck plant, where the automaker will begin making Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks in 2020 as production shifts from Mexico. The move will create an estimated 2,500 new jobs.

“Right now he’s my favorite man in the room,” Trump said, referring to Marchionne and eliciting laughter during a meeting with auto CEOs at the White House. “The people of Michigan very much appreciated it. It’s a big deal.”

Trump, who since his election in 2016 has ratcheted up pressure on automakers to expand U.S. plants, said his administration is “working on how to build more cars in the United States” for both domestic use and export.

“We want them to build more cars in the United States,” he said. “Also build them here and ship them overseas.”

The CEOs were at the White House to discuss the Trump administration’s review of fuel-economy rules.

Under President Barack Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher standards that would require the fleet of new vehicles to average 36 miles per gallon by 2025, up 10 mpg from the current level. A draft of the Trump administration’s proposal reportedly suggests freezing efficiency standards after 2020 for at least five years. That would require new vehicles to average about 30 mpg.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FCAU n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 33.06 +0.48 +1.47%
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.58 +0.15 +1.21%

The industry has urged federal and state regulatory agencies to create one national fuel-economy target. California, which can impose its own emissions rules on automakers, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent the EPA from relaxing its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

Automakers also say fuel-economy rules should be updated to reflect consumer demand for larger vehicles, particularly SUVs. Trucks, SUVs and vans account for about two-thirds of all U.S. new-vehicle sales. The market was roughly split in half between passenger cars and light trucks when the current CAFE rules were written six years ago.

Marchionne, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Hackett and the leaders of several other major automakers attended the roundtable discussion with Trump and members of his administration.