Fiat Chrysler CEO: Trump auto industry tactics ‘new territory for us’

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is seen during a briefing at the North American International Auto show, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — The CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says the auto industry will have to adapt to the tactics of President-elect Donald Trump.

“This is new territory for most of us. None of us have had a tweeting president before,” Sergio Marchionne said during a round table with reporters at the Detroit auto show.

Marchionne said his company’s decision, announced Sunday, to invest $1 billion in two U.S. auto plants and create 2,000 jobs to build new Jeep vehicles was in the works for a while and wasn’t influenced by Trump. Still, Trump took to Twitter Monday to congratulate the automaker.

Trump has criticized the industry’s strategy of building cars in Mexico and then shipping them to the U.S. He has threatened a 35 percent border tax and said the cars should be built in the U.S. by American workers.

On Monday, Trump tweeted “it’s finally happening,” and thanked Ford and Fiat Chrysler for the investments in the U.S.

Ford last week scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion small-car factory in Mexico, and said $700 million would go toward expanding a Michigan plant to build new electric and autonomous vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler has been searching for a partner to build its small cars while it focused on making bigger vehicles like Jeeps. Marchionne said he needs more information on the tax before choosing a partner.

“I need clarity. I think we all need clarity,” he said.

At the show, executives from General Motors and Volkswagen said they have no plans to change production plans despite the Trump border tax threat.

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