Frankfurt — After years tangled in the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal, German carmakers could suffer huge losses if the US carries out its threat to levy tariffs on European car imports. Giants Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler exported a total of 494,000 cars from Germany to the US in 2017, or 45% of all European auto exports to the US . At €22bn, Germany accounted for 55% of the value of all European cars sold to the US that year, Pictet bank calculated in a research note. “If tariffs were imposed that would make it much harder for the import brands to offer those high incentives like discounts in the US market,” analyst Peter Nagle of IHS Markit said “The US brands could take advantage of those pricing mismatches.” Meanwhile, Pictet noted that US “demand for European cars declines by about 1.5% to 3.0% when prices rise by 1%”. Over the long term, the 25% tariffs mooted by President Donald Trump could halve the number of German cars shipped to the US as dem...

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