When Ford CEO Mark Fields sat down with President Trump, he voiced his concerns about the American economy as it relates to the auto industry.
Last week Fields, along with GM head Mary Berra and other heads of the auto industry, met with President Trump about bringing more automotive jobs to America. Up until now, we have heard only a few details from the much publicized sit down. Today we have new details that shed a bit of light on what was talked about.
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What is Trump proposing?
It’s now widely known that the Trump era in America is going to be a very pro-workforce era. Trump has repeatedly talked about bringing jobs back to America in a bit way. That’s all well and good, and for the record it’s something the last 4 presidents had platforms on, but it’s much more complicated than just building plants in the US and telling everyone to get to work.
Trump’s is threatening, positioning, and power-playing pretty much any big manufacturing corporation to stay in the US and have the jobs based here. His power has been seen with the Ford Mexico plant drama and even outside of the auto industry with the Carrier deal that kept 1,000 jobs in the US.
There is however, another tie in that Fields verbalized in an area where Trump might not be focused.
The environment is also big business
Last week we also got word of the Trump administration putting a hold on EPA findings and asking for any and all EPA materials to be turned over to the government before publication. This can be seen as sort of an environmental vetting process. The problem here is the EPA is a scientific agency grounded in, well, science. Science really doesn’t lie all that much. Things may be found different at a later date, but usually that is due to unknown data that may have no been available before. Either way, Trump could put the clamps on a massive part of the automotive business.
Here’s where The Ford CEO Stepped in. Fields’ harsh reality to Trump? If the EPA is to be ignored, and the MPG mandates that were set forth by the previous administration abolished, the US could lose up to one million jobs. This is all part of Fields’ statement on government policy meeting market reality.
About 1 million U.S. jobs are at risk if fuel-economy rules don’t align with market reality, according to Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields, who delivered the estimation directly to President Donald Trump.
“We think having one national standard on fuel economy is really important,” Fields said at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans. Citing several studies he didn’t identify, Fields said the jobs “could be at risk if we’re not given some level of flexibility on that — aligning it to market reality. So that really resonated.”
This all is something the Trump administration hasn’t learned yet, but needs to address given their job building agenda.
The path forward
Given what Trump has touted previously about the US economy, jobs, and the auto industry, Fields’ message holds a massive amount of weight. But the question remains what does the auto industry and the Trump administration do from here? The solution is not simple. There needs to be a successful marriage of fuel economy standards, scientific findings, and governmental persuasion that we haven’t really seen before. If that doesn’t happen, these one million jobs hinging on fuel economy and environmental standards could vanish in the not too distant future.
Only time will tell if those three things will work together in harmony. Given the volatility of the past month, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and some good breaks to make it happen.