December 18, 2016 / 3:45 PM / 2 years ago

Daimler CEO doesn't expect Trump to disadvantage European carmakers

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler and Head of Mercedes-Benz, gives a speech during the Handelsblatt Automotive Summit 2016 in Munich, southern Germany, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

BERLIN (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) does not expect Donald Trump to favor U.S. carmakers over their European counterparts, the carmaker’s chief executive told a German paper, shrugging off concerns over the president-elect’s protectionist rhetoric during his campaign.

“I find it hard to believe that it would come to punitive tariffs,” Dieter Zetsche told Bild am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday, adding he did not expect any negative consequences for Daimler’s factory in Alabama.

Zetsche said any protectionism favoring U.S. carmakers would hurt the United States more. “Prosperity in the United States and the world has come about thanks to growth in world trade,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Zetsche also shrugged off any concerns about the image of diesel cars in the United States, saying they were a niche product, accounting for less than 1 percent of car sales there.

He said that the VW emissions scandal had put the industry in a bad light, but added: “We are convinced that diesel engines are necessary if we want to reduce CO2 emissions from transport.”

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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