Trump to meet with Big 3 auto CEOs
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Trump to meet with Big 3 auto CEOs


The two ways companies are responding to Trump

President Donald Trump has had a lot to say on Twitter about the U.S. auto industry and its use of Mexican plants. On Tuesday, he will get to speak his mind to the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler in person.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer announced that Trump would have a breakfast meeting with all three CEOs Tuesday morning.

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“He looks forward to hearing their ideas on how we can work together to bring more jobs back to this industry in particular,” Spicer said.

Executives from Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSANF) and Hyundai, which all have U.S. plants as well as plants in Mexico, weren’t invited to this meeting, according to spokespeople from those companies. German automakers BMW and Volkswagen (VLKAF) weren’t available for comment.

Related: Trump scores PR win against automakers

Between them, foreign automakers employ tens of thousands of workers at their U.S. facilities.

A trade group that includes the big Asian car companies but not BMW or VW says its members employ nearly 100,000 people with a total annual payroll of $7.6 billion, producing about 40% of the cars assembled in the United States.

The White House didn’t respond to questions as to why the foreign firms weren’t invited to Tuesday’s meeting or if they’ll be included in future auto industry summits.

GM (GM), Ford (F) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), the traditional Big Three Detroit automakers, have brought a lot of jobs back since the industry bottomed out in 2009. Together, they now have more than 230,000 U.S. employees.

Related: GM to invest $1 billion in U.S. plants

Each company says it has added at least 25,000 U.S. jobs since 2009, increasing their employment in the country by about 50% or more. Those U.S. job gains exceed each company’s total employment at their Mexican plants.

And all three Detroit automakers have announced additional U.S. hiring and investment plans since Trump’s election, but they have insisted the decisions were made independently of him.

Related: Ford cancels Mexico plant, will create 700 jobs in Michigan

It was unclear whether Tesla (TSLA)CEO Elon Musk would attend the auto breakfast on Tuesday. But he was at a separate meeting that Trump held with CEOs from a variety of industries early Monday, as was Ford CEO Mark Fields. who described it as a very positive meeting.

“Walking out of the meeting today, I come out with a lot of confidence,” Fields said outside the White House on Monday.

The traditional automakers are all concerned about Trump’s threat to impose a 35% tariff on auto imports from Mexico to the United States. They have insisted that their investments in Mexican plants hasn’t cost U.S. jobs and that the workers who previously made cars now being assembled in Mexico are now working on building other, more profitable cars at their U.S. plants.

Related: Fiat Chrysler to put $1 billion into U.S. plants, add 2,000 jobs

But what the automakers have said they want as much as anything is to know what rules will apply in the future, especially for imports from Mexico.

“I need clarity, and we need rules,” said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the Detroit auto show this month.

CNNMoney (New York) First published January 23, 2017: 11:57 PM ET

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January 24, 2017
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