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Aug 8, 2018

Ford says steel, aluminum prices pose 'significant headwind' after tariffs

Ford Fusion

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Rising steel and aluminum prices, driven up by President Donald Trump’s tariffs on those commodities, are a substantial drag on Ford Motor Co.’s (F.N) business, though a top executive said the company doesn’t plan to pass higher costs on to consumers.

“The escalation of steel and aluminum prices is really significant,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, said after a factory ceremony near Detroit to commemorate building the 10 millionth Mustang muscle car. “It’s a significant headwind for us. It’s something that puts pressure on our own costs.”

Ford began the year by warning that rising costs for raw materials like steel and aluminum, coupled with unfavorable exchange rates, would add US$1.6 billion to its costs this year. After President Trump levied tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, General Motors Co. joined the fray in blaming its forecast for lower profit in part on expensive commodities. Last month, Ford lowered its profit projection for this year to further below last year’s result.

Farley said the company isn’t passing along the higher costs to its customers in the form of higher prices for its cars and trucks.

“This is something that we have to deal with and absorb as a company,” Farley told reporters. “It’s not something we’ll be passing on.”