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Scaremongering Romney ad upsets Chrysler

Yet another US election ad caught with its integrity down. This time it’s all about Mitt Romney desperately currying favour in the battlefield state of Ohio by resorting to what appear to be – er – lies about Chrysler’s employment policy.

The automobile industry being a big employer in those rust-belt parts, any suggestion that America’s third biggest car maker is about to outsource construction of its Jeep marque to China is likely to create something of a sensation:

And create a sensation is exactly what the Romney ad did. But for the wrong reasons. Chrysler – which is now effectively owned by Fiat and therefore offers Romney a bit of xenophobic electoral mileage – has bluntly denied the allegation. It claims that the Jeep jobs in China are merely supplementary, a natural outcome of Chrysler’s steadily improving financial performance. We’ll see.

Of course, Romney is careful not to make the Jeep claim too explicit in the ad. The voiceover merely notes that some Jeeps are going to be built in China. But the innuendo harks back to a much more robust election speech in Ohio last week when the Republican candidate said: “Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China.”

What has all this got to do with Romney’s rival, Barack Obama? Well, Chrysler and General Motors went into assisted bankruptcy (Chapter 11) during his watch, ergo it must have been his fault. The unfortunate irony of all this is that Obama actually approved the Chrysler bailout, which by any measure has been successful for American jobs. Whereas Romney opposed it.

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Then again, does anyone actually take any notice of what politicians actually do, as opposed to say they do?

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  1. From Bloomberg:

    Fiat is in “very detailed conversations” with its Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (2238), about making Jeeps in the world’s largest auto market, said Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia. Chrysler hasn’t built Jeeps there since before Fiat took control in 2009.

    “The volume opportunity for us is very significant,” Manley, who is also president of the Jeep brand, said in an interview at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters. “We’re reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity” as well as “should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio.”

    So what part of the ad is misleading? Seems that with unemployment still at very high levels (especially in Chrysler’s home state of Michigan) the prospect of outsourcing production to China — which is precisely what Manley is mooting — would be a topic of interest to all. Something tells me Manley will be in Sergio The Great’s doghouse for quite a while for his gaffe (otherwise known as telling the truth). Spin, spin, spin!

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