Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told a rally in northern Ohio on Thursday night that Chrysler was considering moving production of its Jeep vehicles to China, apparently reacting to incorrect reports circulating online.
"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state Jeep — now owned by the Italians — is thinking of moving all production to China," Romney said at a rally in Defiance, Ohio, home to a General Motors powertrain plant. "I will fight for every good job in America. I'm going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it's fair America will win."
Kinda ironic for a man who once specialized in moving companies overseas to tap into the average worker's fear of seeing their job hop on a slow boat to China just to get their vote come Nov. 6.
Romney was apparently responding to reports Thursday on right-leaning blogs that misinterpreted a recent Bloomberg News story earlier this week that said Chrysler, owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, is thinking of building Jeeps in China for sale in the Chinese market.
The Bloomberg story, though accurate, "has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. work force. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats," Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said.
"Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."
So the Romney campaign takes a story about Chrysler considering building Jeeps in China for the Chinese market and spins it into a yarn about Chrysler moving all Jeep production out of the U.S. to China. That's one way to get a few votes from the low-information set.
Personally, I want to know how moving all Jeep production out of the U.S. and into China would work. Unlike cheap electronics, toys and plastic lawn furniture, shipping a fully assembled car overseas is pretty intensive work. Having a $2.50 plastic toy manufactured on a Chinese assembly line and shipped via boat into the U.S. is one thing. Having a $25,000 American car built on a Chinese assembly line and shipped via boat back into the U.S. raises plenty of questions (i.e. "What the hell where you thinking?")
The Japanese, Korean and German auto manufacturers eventually moved production of their U.S.-bound products to the U.S. -- when it comes to cars, it's usually much easier to build your products where you sell them instead of undergoing the expensive and time-consuming task of shipping them to overseas markets. Economies of scale and all that.
This is just one of many stories our friend Mitt might be glad to develop "Romnesia" over.