Having previously spooked shareholders of Boeing and Lockheed, moments ago Trump started off his week by taking aim at none other than the company bailed out by Barack Obama in one of the most controversial bankruptcies in recent history, General Motors.
In a tweet, the President-elect said “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!”, a warning which could be read as an effective ultimatum to move production back to the US or risk tariffs on foreign-made products.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
Another potential problem for GM, as shown in the chart below, is that while GM has posted a substantial recovery since its bankruptcy following the financial crisis, the firm's number of jobs has barely budged, even as its biggest "Detroit" competitor has been on a hiring spree.
What makes Trump's criticism surprising, however, is that one month ago, Trump appointed GM CEO Mary Barro to his Strategic and Policy Forum, which as a reminder "is composed of some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again."
The obligatory Trump criticism following his tweet promptly emerged from the usual sources:
President-elect disputing the idea that what's good for GM is good for the country https://t.co/d3NGVr3K2W— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 3, 2017
If Trump's tweet is sincere, Barra may be the first CEO who is "fired" from this particular advisory group.
For now, the market is skeptical about the long-term impact of Trump's tweet, and has pushed the stock lower by only 24 cent, about 0.7% down in premarket trading.