March 16, 2017 2:10 pm JST

Trump wants Toyota to build new plants in US

President will barter environmental regulations for jobs at home

YUICHIRO KANEMATSU, Nikkei staff writer

This Toyota plant in the U.S. state of Indiana produces SUVs, such as the Highlander.

AUSTIN, U.S. -- At a meeting with auto executives in Michigan on Wednesday U.S. President Donald Trump once gain asked Toyota Motor and rival carmakers to build plants in the country.

Trump met with the heads of major automakers on a visit to the Midwest city of Detroit, Michigan, and nearby areas where many auto factories are located. The meeting also included officials from the automakers' labor unions.

In a speech he gave in front of autoworkers after the meeting, Trump pledged to review fuel efficiency regulations that were tightened by Barack Obama's administration.

The Obama administration was keen to tackle global warming. A rule introduced by his administration obliges carmakers to improve fuel efficiency by 50% or more by 2025. Leading carmakers have opposed it through industry groups.

Trump, a skeptic of climate change, responded to their calls. A review of the regulation will likely work in favor of major U.S. automakers, which have been trailing Japanese rivals in the development of technologies that improve fuel consumption.

In exchange, Trump demanded they build new plants in the U.S. to create jobs.

At one point during the meeting, Trump put Jim Lentz, a senior managing officer of Toyota and CEO of Toyota Motor North America, on the spot over the issue, according to the Detroit News.

The president demanded back in January that Toyota build a plant in the U.S. instead of Mexico as planned.

Toyota Motor Corp.

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