Spartanburg Co. Councilman warns tariffs could cost auto jobs in the Upstate

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – BMW announced the plant in Greer will start production on its newest SUV in December.

But this comes at a time when BMW group says the new tariffs this year are costing the company as a whole big bucks.  CFO Dr. Nicolas Peter told a German magazine “According to our calculation, this will cost us slightly below 300 million euro,” which is the equivalent of nearly $350 million in US dollars. 

So we looked into how that could impact car manufacturers on a local level.

Spartanburg Councilman David Britt who helped bring BMW to Greer is worried about the impact here.

“We’re looking at a very serious problem, we could lose jobs.  What can happen, the tariffs can be the foot on the throat of growth, it can stop it, and when growth stops then you don’t need as many people working in your facilities.”  

We checked with the Greer plant and production is down about 4% from last year but BMW attributes that slight drop to the launch of two new models this year, and according to the company, new models tend to have a slow ramp up.

No one at the local plant is saying yet how much affect the tariffs are actually having on the plant production or its exports. 

Still Britt, a Republican, says the tariffs on aluminum and steel that President Trump imposed in March can’t help but put local jobs at risk.

“The president has said, this is a strategy, give me time.  Time’s run out,” said Britt.

And what’s worse, he says, are the ongoing threats that the president may impose additional car import and auto port tariffs. 

“The ripple effect is unbelievable, it’s like dropping a meteor in a swimming pool, all the water goes out, and you start talking about people’s jobs and their livelihood being affected.  That’s why this is so critical,” said Britt.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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