Trade uncertainty ‘will eventually’ impact GM operations

Barra: “There’s a lot of moving pieces in trade and the auto industry is exceptionally complex.” Photo credit: GM

UPDATED: 6/12/1810:27 am ET – adds details

DETROIT — General Motors is seeing cost increases in steel and aluminum amid uncertainty regarding tariffs and trade with the United States. However, the company has not delayed any projects or plans.

That’s according to GM CEO Mary Barra, who said if uncertainty continues, it “will eventually” have an impact on its operations. She said the company is closely watching the administration’s discussions following President Donald Trump asking the Commerce Department to review whether vehicle imports threaten national security, which would add to levies already imposed on steel and aluminum.

“There’s a lot of moving pieces in trade and the auto industry is exceptionally complex,” said Barra, speaking to media ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday at its Renaissance Center headquarters here. “I think we need to let the negotiations continue and be completed, and then to see the impact.”

Shares of the automaker have gained 31 percent in the past year to $44.85, close to the highest price the automaker has achieved since the company’s initial public offering in 2010.

The gains follow a series of tech deals covering electrified and autonomous vehicles in the last year have GM finally gaining traction on Wall Street, in terms of price and perception. The clearest and most impactful sign of that evolution was a multibillion-dollar tie-up with SoftBank Vision Fund, a prominent technology investor, on May 31.

That move sent GM shares up almost 13 percent — its largest single-day gain since the 2010 IPO.

Barra on Tuesday said Wall Street’s reaction to the deal was “good recognition” of GM’s autonomous vehicle plans.



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