Trump tariffs force tough choices at U.S. auto suppliers

Trump tariffs force tough choices at U.S. auto suppliers

WYOMING, Mich. (Reuters) – Bob Roth makes no bones about his feelings towards U.S. manufacturing. Receiving and shipping worker Mike Pawloski prepares to ship a newly assembled transformer to a client in the RoMan Manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. December 12, 2018. Picture taken December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook The co-owner and chief executive of RoMan Manufacturing Inc, which makes transformers and glass-molding equipment for automakers and other industries, asks callers on his voicemail: “What have you done today to support U.S. manufacturing?” His procurement team has been under long-standing orders to source all parts and materials as near as possible to his western Michigan factory, even with President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. But with those tariffs dragging into a new year and steel comprising a quarter of RoMan’s fixed costs, Roth says his company has now begun the lengthy process of switching from its U.S. suppliers to an Israeli company for a key component for its products. It is a strategic decision that RoMan and other auto suppliers have put off since the tariffs kicked in last spring. With tariffs firmly part of the landscape, some are now starting to shift their own supply chain to keep costs in check, according to more than a dozen interviews with U.S. auto suppliers and industry consultants. The choice is stark for most suppliers: absorb the extra cost, pass them on to customers or find ways to slash material costs. The transformers Roth’s 150 workers at […]

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