As the year’s Presidential Campaign comes to a close, both parties focus on Chrysler’s future plans concerning Jeep.
In a recent ad, Governor Romney claimed Jeep had plans of moving its production to China, a claim that was soon refuted by the company.
David Shepardson, the Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief, talked to Stateside to help clarify the confusion surrounding the ad. According to Shepardson, the ad acts more as a reflection of the race’s desperation than a document of the auto industry’s future.
“Romney was not accurate; Chrysler has no intention of moving U.S. production to China. What they are considering is to produce Jeeps in China for Chinese consumers. But they are not shipping cars from China to the United States. The reason this ad has gotten so much attention is that Ohio may end up being the swing state,” said Shepardson.
Both candidates are channeling their focus on Ohio through Chrysler and its plans for American production.
“This shows how harsh the campaign is getting toward the end," Shepardson added.
However vague the reality of Romney’s ad may be, Shepardson felt it could base its message in one certainty.
“The argument they could make is that currently the US is exporting those Jeeps to China and if that export production wasn’t in the US and was in China, it could reduce employment. But that’s speculative,” said Shepardson.
President Obama has also used misleading information to better the message of his campaign throughout the past months.
“I think this brings up how both campaigns have glossed over the facts. A couple weeks ago the President said, ‘If Governor Romney wanted Detroit to go bankrupt, I wouldn’t let them go bankrupt.’ But of course GM and Chrysler did file bankruptcy; in fact the Obama Administration forced them into bankruptcy,” said Shepardson.
But the industry wants to no role in either campaign, as they find their image of being an industry dependent on bailout distasteful.
“These companies are still trying to get away from the image of companies that would have failed if the government did not step in. They want to sell cars and not get involved in politics. The conventional wisdom is that after the election, people will stop debating the bailout. The companies are both making profit now,” said Shepardson.
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