Before reporters were ushered out, Trump asked the group to go around the table and introduce themselves and explained that they would be discussing environmental regulations such as auto efficiency standards and trade - especially the North American Free Trade Agreement now under renegotiation.
On Friday, President Donald Trump pressured automakers in the U.S.to build more of their vehicles in the United States and launched another new attack on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been beneficial to automakers.
Trump told those attending that the country is importing many cars and the White House wants those vehicles to be made in the US, adding they could be made in places such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and SC.
The chief executives of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler, along with senior USA executives from Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG and Daimler AG met with Trump, as did the chief executives of two auto trade groups.
"NAFTA has been a disgusting, frightful disaster for this country and we'll see if we can make it reasonable", Trump said at the start of the meeting.
Two auto industry trade groups confirmed in a statement that Mr. Trump was willing to talk with California, but they provided no specifics.
"I've never been a Nafta fan", Trump said. But they hadn't anticipated this much relief.
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"We're in favor of year-over-year fuel efficiency [increases]", he said.
Mitch Bainwol, who heads the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told a congressional committee on Tuesday the industry supports "standards that increase year over year that also are consistent with marketplace realities".
A Trump administration official said the two agencies have had meetings and discussions with California officials on the issue for several months.
Ford CEO James Hackett with senior executives from USA and foreign automakers walk from Daimler Chrysler to the White House for a meeting with President Trump in Washington on May 11, 2018. The president-elect responded with tweets of praise.
FCA in January announced its plan to invest US$1 billion in a MI assembly plant and create 2,500 jobs.
Automakers, parts suppliers and dealers have been wary about the administration's renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, warning that higher local content requirements could be unworkable and raise vehicle prices.
It also contained a legal case for denying California the ability to set tougher standards than the national ones-something that sparked a sharp retort from Brown and other state officials. But I'm representing the United States.
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CEOs or top executives from 10 automakers, both USA and foreign, met with the president for approximately one hour as the Department of Transportation considers untightening federal fuel efficiency as well as pollution standards that were implemented under former President Barack Obama.
Trump trade-related tirades also have been a routine issue for the likes of Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG, with Trump blasting Europe's auto trade imbalance with the USA and threatening to tax German vehicle imports.
The Trump administration plans to argue the weaker rules will lead to cheaper vehicles, boost sales and employment and improve safety by prodding faster turnover of older vehicles.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, are pushing Trump and the automakers to agree to keep the Obama standards.
Oge urged the auto CEOs "to call on Mr. Trump and tell him, 'We are not looking for you to completely gut the 2025 greenhouse gas standards and get into litigation, because it will be bad for business'".
The EPA under Mr. Trump has proposed freezing the standards at 2020 levels for the next five years, according to a draft of the proposal obtained by Sen.
California and 16 other states covering about 40 percent of the USA population filed suit last week to block the Trump administration's efforts to weaken the fuel efficiency requirements.
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Now, blowback from environmental groups and the prospect of a costly legal battle with California have put carmakers in the position of trying to find a middle ground while not coming off as unsupportive of Trump.