Chevy trucks China-bound, though Trump tariff may sour deal

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Updated Nov 22, 2016
Chevrolet has struck a deal with China to begin selling Silverado and Colorado pickups there next year.Chevrolet has struck a deal with China to begin selling Silverado and Colorado pickups there next year.

Chevrolet has inked a deal with China that will bring its pickups to the truck-hungry nation just before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office and possibly makes good on a campaign promise to impose a 45 percent trade import tariff on Chinese goods which has sparked threats of trade retaliation.

The Chevy Colorado and Silverado will both be offered up for sale to Chinese consumers, according to an announcement made at the 2016 Guangzhou Auto Show. The pickups are expected to arrive at dealerships there during the first half of 2017, Forbes reports. Chevy’s announcement follows Ford’s plans to sell its first pickup there next year. To date, Ford has stated that only its F-150 Raptor will be available in the Chinese market.

However, if Trump follows through with his plan to slap China with a 45 percent import tariff, that could sour deals for GM, Ford and other U.S. companies, including Apple.

During his presidential bid, Trump called China a currency manipulator and said he would impose the tariff to help reverse a trade imbalance.

In response, the Communist Party in China threatened to paralyze U.S.-China trade if the tariff is put into place. An op-ed piece published in the party-controlled Global Times reads in part:

“If Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports, China-U.S. trade will be paralyzed. China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.”

Pickups have traditionally been viewed unfavorably in the Chinese auto market because of their association with impoverished, rural areas. Attitudes are changing, however, as U.S. pickups with spacious cabs and luxurious features continue to penetrate the market and grow in popularity as status symbols. Still, many Chinese cities will not permit pickups within city limits.