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REACTION TO BIG 3 AUTOMAKERS' MEETING WITH CLINTON: AUTO DEALERS HOPEFUL CLINTON WILL REJECT SPECIAL INTEREST TRADE AGENDA OF BIG 3

 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Reacting to today's meeting between the Big Three U.S. automakers and President-elect Clinton in Arkansas, the nation's international automobile dealer association expressed hope that the president-elect will ultimately reject the Big Three's protectionist trade agenda. "We are hopeful that Clinton has the wisdom to reject unwarranted demands of special interests like the Big Three automakers' pleas for more import protection," said Walter E. Huizenga, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA). "Clinton should understand that stricter import quotas and higher tariffs will result in increased automobile prices and reduced choice for middle class American families -- as well as a loss of American jobs."
 Detroit automakers, along with the United Auto Workers union, are expected to urge Clinton to impose a 1,000 percent tariff increase on multipurpose passenger vehicles (i.e., minivans and sport-utility vehicles), as well as stricter import quotas and discriminatory domestic content laws for Japanese automobiles. "The Big Three want Clinton and the Congress to see the auto industry as it was in the 1950s, import vs. domestic, as opposed to how it is in the 1990s, a truly global industry," Huizenga said.
 "Their calls for higher domestic content in transplant vehicles are duplicitous," said Huizenga. "On the one hand, they tout their American-ness' in advertisements and when seeking government protection from competition, but, on the other, the Big Three benefit greatly themselves from an open, global automobile market." It was recently announced that Suzuki will supply the Geo Storm to General Motors. (Suzuki already supplies the Geo Metro and Geo Tracker to GM). Chrysler builds a majority of its bread-and-butter minivans and all of its LH sedans in Canada. And Ford imports so many parts for the Crown Victoria that it's considered an import for fuel economy purposes. Making their public position even more contradictory is the fact that the Big Three accounted for 10 percent of the auto trade deficit with Japan in 1991.
 "The Big Three plan to reclassify minivans and sport-utility vehicles as trucks is really an unfair tax on middle class American families," said Huizenga. "It's a scam on American consumers. There is no reason for and no feasible way to achieve so-called regulatory consistency." The Big Three overwhelmingly dominate the MPV segment of the market, already making as much as $8,000 in profit per vehicle they sell. The punitive tariffs on imports will virtually eliminate Big Three competition, allowing the Big Three to price gouge American consumers by billions of dollars a year.
 "With the imposition of Japanese import auto quotas in the 1980s, the U.S.
was saying to the Japanese: If you want to sell here, you'll have to build here.' Now they are saying that's not good enough, that Japanese-badged cars built in the U.S. must achieve some arbitrary level of parts content to qualify as American," Huizenga said. "If the Big Three fail to compete yet again, what's next?"
 AIADA represents 10,500 American businesses selling and servicing world class automobiles.
 -0- 1/6/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Donnellan of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, 703-519-7800/


CO: American International Automobile Dealers Association ST: Virginia IN: AUT SU:

KD -- DC027 -- 2421 01/06/93 18:00 EST
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Date:Jan 6, 1993
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