A German media report of remarks attributed to US President Trump has further hit investor confidence in German automakers today, amid an ongoing ramping up of trade tensions between the US and countries around  the world.

One reported version of the remarks is that Trump threatened to pursue German carmakers until there are no Mercedes-Benz rolling down New York's Fifth Avenue. Reuters reported that German magazine Wirtschaftswoche's article cited several unnamed European and US diplomats but did not include any direct quotes.

The magazine said Trump had told French President Emmanuel Macron in April that he aimed to push German carmakers out of the US altogether. Reuters reported that Macron's administration in Paris declined to comment on the report.

The Trump administration last week initiated a trade department investigation into vehicle imports, which could result in a 25% tariff being added on cars on 'national security' grounds. 'National security' is also the justification for planned new metals import tariffs being resisted by the EU. A temporary relief applying to the EU now appears to be unlikely to be extended - but EU negotiators are still trying to get a 'soft cap' (which would allow additional imports above a 'cap', but with duty attached). 

Trump has apparently made remarks before drawing attention to an apparent imbalance on automotive trade between the US and Germany. German companies point to their sizeable manufacturing investments in the US and BMW has repeatedly pointed out that it is the largest vehicle exporter - by value - from the US.