During President Donald Trump's visit to Brussels Thursday, German media reported Trump said he would stop imports of German cars into the United States.
But many German car companies build their cars in the U.S. and export them from the South.
"What populists maybe don't know is how many jobs German car manufacturers created in the U.S. and specifically here in the South,” said Martin Richenhagen, former chair of the German American Chamber of Commerce and CEO of AGCO Corporation.
Richenhagen said he’s not too concerned about the fate of the German auto industry. Trump has threatened to impose a 35 percent tax on the country’s auto imports earlier this year.
"The biggest BMW factory in the world is in the United States,” Richenhagen said. “I think as soon as Trump or the administration understands the facts, they might also change direction."
BMW's largest global manufacturing plant is in Spartanburg, S.C. The company said it's the largest exporter of cars in the U.S. and employs 70,000 people in the U.S.
The German company Daimler said it employs 21,857 people in the United States.
In 2015, Germany invested $255 billion in the United States and more than 672,000 people were working for German companies.
The German American Chamber of Commerce said Germany is the third largest foreign employer in the U.S. and half of these jobs are in manufacturing.