German auto firms have indicated they could pull the plug on new investments in battery manufacturing and related facilities in the US if they are forced to pay increased tariffs under a “national security” review.
The warning came after the Trump administration launched an investigation that could pave they way for new tariffs to be slapped on automotive products from Europe, Japan and South Korea.
Mercedes-Benz is reportedly to use battery cells made under its partnership operations in China in some cars made by the firm worldwide.
Dieter Zetsche (pictured), chairman of the German carmaker's parent company Daimler, made the announcement in Beijing, the China Daily reported.
German auto giant Daimler is investing in a second battery and car production plant in Beijing with its Chinese state-owned automobile partner BAIC.
Daimler told BBB the companies would jointly invest more than CNY11.9 billion ($1.9bn) in the new facility at their Beijing Benz Automotive (BBAC) joint venture making lithium-ion batteries and “high-quality premium vehicles” for Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand.
Daimler is staying mum on a report that Chinese carmaker Geely has bought a stake in the German peer with a view to partnering on battery tech for electric vehicles.
According to Reuters, sources believe Geely, which owns Volvo, “is keen to access Daimler's battery technology and wants to establish an electric car joint venture in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province”.
Israeli start-up StoreDot has raised a further $60 million to support the scaling-up of its electric vehicle (EV) fast-charge FlashBattery technology in a third round of funding led by the truck division of Germany’s Daimler.
StoreDot has said previously it was in talks with European and Chinese car OEM’s about its technology.