If you’ve been following the news, you may have heard about President Trump proposing a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and their parts. So far, much of the discussion has focused on new cars but in reality, the proposed rules would affect us JNCers just as much. Currently, the import duty is 2.5 percent, so imagine that increased by a factor of 10 for car or part imported from Japan. Here’s what you can do about it.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new car, the you won’t be immune from the tariffs, as even the collector car market is caught in the crossfire. Let’s use one of the most popular cars for import an example. If you’re planning to drop $30,000 on a R32 Skyline GT-R, the new price would be $37,500 before state taxes, titling and licensing fees.
The same applies to parts, too. If you’re looking to import a set of used $1,500 Hoshino Impuls from Japan, get ready for that $37.50 import duty to become $375! This also would extend to run-of-the-mill replacement parts too, not just performance parts.
In the end, even cars built in America, like the Camry or Corvette, would get more expensive due to components coming from overseas. In the United States, where manufacturing is extremely expensive, the vast majority of aftermarket OEM replacement parts comes from overseas. Items like brake rotors, air filters and gaskets aren’t economically viable to produce stateside, where price is often a key point.
As a result, a simple ignition system tune up could surge in price. That ignition tune up for a 1991 Honda Civic which runs around $120 for a cap, rotor, plugs and wires would increase to $150. While we can easily just live with the cars we have stateside already, maintenance is required to keep the car on the road and a 25 percent increase in most of these parts would really hurt.
The Trump administration has claimed national security as the reason for these tariffs, their logic being that if we are dependent on a foreign power for producing parts and vehicles, in times of war not having our own manufacturing infrastructure would lead to a production shortage. When WWII happened the entire American automobile sector was re-purposed to build tanks, Jeeps, and various armaments, so there is a form of logic to wanting a stronger automobile industry in America, even if you don’t care for cars from the Big Three.
The powers that be are saying that if we were to enter a state of total war like in WWII, we would need our factories for defensive purposes and having them outside of the United States could leave us open to an attack. By imposing a tariff on any automobile produced outside of America, this would theoretically force manufacturers to build factories here, stateside. While this may work, it is a very blunt and draconian means to the goal. Most economists agree it would likely bring some jobs here but at the cost of many more.
Luckily NADA and SEMA Action Network are two very powerful lobbyist groups representing the nations automobile dealership network and the aftermarket industry of America, respectively. Both are actively working to persuade representatives that a tariff here would be deadly to the automotive business.
Their worries are that both of those industries are completely reliant on imported components, not just in finished products themselves. Even companies that produce aftermarket parts in the US, like coilovers and ECUs, use components that are imported. The squeeze between raised overhead and lost sales on these primarily small companies could cost the country jobs and eliminate the companies from the aftermarket altogether.
A tariff on automobiles would have a negligible affect on national security, and would only endanger American jobs and our car culture as we know it. Regardless of how you feel about the tariffs, though, it’s important to tell your representatives. The US Department of Commerce recently opened a public comment period lasting until June 22 regarding the investigation of imposing tariffs. If you want to read the exact legal jargon, it’s available on here in all of its Times New Roman governmental glory.
If you want to voice your opinion but don’t know who you should contact, type in your zip code or address to CallMyCongress and it will automatically look up the correct parties. When you call them to discuss your views on the potential tariffs know that they are formally named, The Department of Commerce Section 232 National Security Investigation of Imports of Automobiles, Including Cars, SUVs, Vans and Light Trucks, and Automotive Parts.
Noooooo! Please don’t increase for used vehicles and parts!
Yeah I don’t want it either. Call your congressperson and tell them how you feel.
Trump is gonna Trump and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Not even your Congressperson. Trump wants loyalty, deal with it.
If you want to really do something about it, call fox news. They work for the president, and the president actually listens to them. Call the people he actually listens to.
For the love of God and all things holy, Ben, would you please stay the hell out of politics.
One of the reasons I love to come here is to get away from it and read about great cars.
We try to but in this case it affects all of us.
I think this is a good article, and a subject that J-tin heads should think about. Thank you for writing it, and putting it on the site.
We all had a lot of reservations about talking politics and discussed it for a while before making a post. This is a rare case where it does affect us.
How is this not relevant to our community?
Damn you guys had 2.5% at one point and now increased to only 25? Lol you guys have nothing on malaysia’s minimum 115-145% duty depending on the cars specs 🙁
I guess it boils down to whether or not you feel it is worth the sacrifice. If I knew paying a higher import tariff would eventually lead to a Pennsylvania steel worker getting her/his job back, I would be alright with that. The manufacturing base here has been absolutely decimated.
Even I have to admit though that we will never see this country come together again, as one, like it did back in the 40’s. Millions of folks sacrificing for the greater good there, but that is history. And I do understand why some people might feel like an innocent victim caught in the middle of a trade war with these higher taxes. It is what it is. J-tin is getting further and further out of my reach anyway as the paychecks don’t seem to stretch as far as they used to.
How does that song go again. Love the one your with. Love the one your with.
This won’t really help anyone get a job back since it would cause raised overhead and fewer sales. If this did help someone get a job even, is it worth making 325 million people suffer so maybe 50,000 can get jobs?
That’s not realistic. It’s like saying “lets bring back carburetors and get rid of emissions because I don’t like it” Sure those suck but so does choking on smog.
Oh shit! I have a ’91 Civic. And several other Japanese and British cars. Maybe I should get a Chevy.
Chevys would get hit too since they use imported parts
Most of those parts (Denso, etc.) are made in the States.
Assembled. Most of them are assembled in the States.
So … who wants to go in with me and become the Pablo Escobar(s) of J-tin parts?
When are we building a submarine?
My friend’s U.S. corporation just lost two huge overseas accounts thanks to this nonsense even before it goes live. Parts of the operation is bracing for shutdown due to pending source issues. So what are we improving here? They make products that are as American as apple pie… This could be the makings of a disaster for SEMA.
The latest news articles make it seem like Trump has focused his irrational hatred on cars imported from the European Union. It’s still a horrible idea but maybe, just maybe cars and parts from Japan might make it out okay should this actually go through.
Back here in Europe we have this alteady for years now so it costs us a lot more to get parts and cars from overseas sellers.
Takes a lot more time and money for us to complete our projects and at the end we only lose a lot of money invested in that project when selling it because the technical controle is very strickt on the level of replacing oem parts and for adding aftermarket parts wich is not in our favour at all.