Just when I think I can't get more irritated at Donald Trump, our (hopefully) one-term president does something that causes my Irritation Index to jump to a new high.
In this case -- imposing a tariff on imported cars that could reach 25% -- it's a threatened something that's raising my ire. But given Trump's oft-stated love of tariffs, even when they're a spectacularly bad idea, it sure seems like there's a good chance he'll go ahead with an imported car tariff.
At my age, 70, obviously I've owned a lot of different cars. More have been foreign than domestic. And not because I've got anything against American-made cars. My wife and I have leased three Chevy Volts, a great car that sadly, is being discontinued by GM.
Foreign cars simply appeal to me more.
I've enjoyed my mother's '57 VW bug that I inherited and drove in my college years; a Toyota Corona that took my wife to the hospital when our daughter was born; a Toyota MR2 with flip-up headlights that I loved to turn on; a Volvo 850 turbo that proved station wagons can be really fun to drive; a BMW 325 ix that handled snow pretty darn well; several Toyota Highlanders, one hybrid and one regular; a succession of Toyota Priuses, or maybe Priii; a couple of Subaru's, a Legacy and an Impreza; and currently, a 2017 VW GTI that I'm enjoying even more than the GTI I owned in the early 80's.
Oh, my wife and I also have ordered a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, even though the hybrid version hasn't even been released yet.
It will replace our 2014 Toyota Highlander. The RAV4 Hybrid will be made in Japan. If Trump goes ahead with a 25% tariff, the car we're buying from Capitol Toyota here in Salem, Oregon would cost us about $8,000 more, at least. (We haven't gotten a final price on the car yet.)
Everybody who works at Capitol Toyota is an American citizen, I'm pretty sure. And Capitol Toyota obviously is an American company. Why Trump wants to endanger the financial health of all the dealerships that sell foreign-made cars escapes me -- along with so much else Trump does that makes no logical sense.
I'm not sure what we'd do if Trump imposed a 25% tax on the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid. Likely we'll have bought the car prior to the three month window following the mid-February completion of a Commerce Department report that concluded tariffs could be imposed on foreign cars for national security reasons.
The Trump administration won't release that report, probably because it is difficult to imagine how having the Toyota RAV4 built in Japan is a major threat to our national security. Likely the Commerce Department made crap up just to please Trump.
So far few people with working brains in their head are saying "Yay!" to Trump's dumb tariff plan.
Even US automakers think a 25% tariff on imported cars would be a bad idea, in part because other countries would slap tariffs on American cars, and in part because American cars use a lot of parts made overseas that could also be subject to tariffs.
There's even a possibility that cars made in Mexico and Canada would be subject to a 25% tariff.
This would really irk me, since my much-beloved 2017 VW GTI was built in Mexico, and I'm looking forward to the release of the next-generation GTI -- which reportedly will arrive in the United States as a 2021 model sometime in 2020.
Even with winter tires on steel wheels, I love how my VW GTI looks. And even more, how it drives. There's no better "hot hatch" made by any car manufacturer, foreign or domestic.
So Donald Trump should let the market decide what cars are bought in the United States.
Believe me, if Trump makes VW GTI's unaffordable to those aficionados like me who adore this car, we'd rather keep our current GTI's until a smarter president takes office than buy a lower-quality domestic vehicle.