An American carmaker says it will spend $5 billion to expand the number of cars it sells to the European Union after the bloc imposed a sales tax on the US.
Alphabet Inc’s parent company, Google, said Thursday it will buy a total of more than 2,000 new cars from the European Commission for a total investment of more $5.2 billion, with the aim of becoming the world’s biggest carmaker by 2019.
The announcement follows a US ban on imports of cars made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Volkswagen AG, which both moved to impose taxes on imports in March, in retaliation for the U.S. ban.
The European Commission’s ban on importations of cars from Germany and the UK was the subject of a major legal challenge earlier this year in a case brought by the American car industry.
Google, which has said it is looking to develop autonomous cars, said it will be investing $10 billion in the European car market, including new vehicles for Google Car, its self-driving car project.
“It is a win-win for the European auto industry and the United States,” Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday.
Pichai also said that in the first half of 2019, Google will start making vehicles that are fully autonomous and self-charging.
“This will accelerate the global transition to fully autonomous vehicles, and will ultimately lead to a safer, more affordable and more efficient future for every person on Earth,” he said.
The EU is looking at an investment of around €2 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2017, which is half of Google’s current investment in the EU.
The European Commission said in February it would levy a 10 percent sales tax at the border between the EU and the US in response to President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose a tax on imports from countries that impose tariffs on the U