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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government


National Automobile Chamber of Commerce
The New York Times
May 13, 1917

By the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

While placing themselves strongly on record in their desire to pay their full and fair proportion of the Government's expenses with taxes as applied to all industries, the manufacturers of automobiles are naturally opposed to any double tax such as that suggested by committees of Congress involving an additional tax of 5 per cent. on the price of automobiles and trucks.

As 40 per cent. of automobiles are now used by farmers, and many others by doctors, salesmen, and others for business purposes, the automobile cannot be considered primarily an article of luxury.

To show the competition in the trade it is noted that there have been more than 700 failures of motor vehicle makers during the last, six years—a mortality unequaled by any other industry. The difficult side of the industry has been overshadowed by the remarkable strides of a few of the very big makers.

It is declared that the proposed Federal tax would be a double tax on motor car making, and of course would affect the industry most seriously, particularly the small makers.

Very few of the 450 manufacturers in the trade are making to exceed 12 per cent. profit on their turnover. A 5 per cent. tax on sales would take five-twelfths of the profit. In many cases it would take all of the profits of some of the companies and in cases of others would involve a loss. The proposed tax would cripple a business in which are interested 450 complete vehicle makers, 1,000 manufacturers of bodies, parts and accessories, 25,924 dealers, thousands of garage owners, and 2,500 exclusive supply houses throughout the country.

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