Could Ford and GM Each Suffer a $1 Billion Blow From Tariffs?

Trade wars are fun, right?

OK, maybe not. Especially when you're on the receiving end of some tough news. According to new research by Goldman Sachs, Ford Motor Co.  (F) and General Motors Co.  (GM) could each see a $1 billion hit from the new tariff proposals out of Washington.

The White House is proposing a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum.

The analysts used the automakers' production mix from 2017 to determine the potential hit. If the proposed 25% import tariff is enacted on steel and that results in a 25% increase to steel prices, both Ford and GM could see a roughly $1 billion blow to their bottom line, they contend.

For reference, GM had a pre-tax income of $11.86 billion in fiscal 2017, while Ford had a pre-tax income of $8.14 billion. So the potential tariff headwind would not bankrupt the companies, but it's also not a drop in the bucket either.

There are a few considerations investors should keep in mind, though.

For starters, these are only proposed tariffs. There's a chance that the tariffs, should they even come to fruition, will not be as high as what's proposed. Further, Gary Cohn, formerly with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  and now serving as the economic advisor to President Trump, does not support the tariffs and is trying very hard to stop them.

Cohn may fail in nixing the tariffs, but he very well could be the one that lessens the blow.

Finally, GM and Ford will not bear all of these losses. The automakers will simply increase the cost of the vehicle for consumers as a way to increase the additional costs. That's assuming steel prices see the same price increase that the tariffs add for importing in the first place.

Shares of Ford closed higher by 0.52% at $10.63 Tuesday, while GM stock jumped 0.5% to $37.93. 

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