From the Royal Oak (Mich.) Daily Tribune:
Chrysler Group LLC’s top executive said any statements by presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggesting the company was moving Jeep production from its assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio was simply not true.
“Chrysler Group’s production plans for the Jeep brand have become the focus of public debate,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” he continued. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. … It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has begun running ads in Ohio, stating Chrysler planned to move Jeep production to China. Analysts described the ads as part of Romney’s efforts to pry the state’s pivotal 18 electoral votes from President Barack Obama.
The letter from Marchionne, published first in the Detroit News, went on to explain:
“North American production is critical to achieving our goal of selling 800,000 Jeep vehicles by 2014. In fact, U.S. production of our Jeep models has nearly tripled (it is expected to be up 185%) since 2009 in order to keep up with global demand.
We also are investing to improve and expand our entire U.S. operations, including our Jeep facilities. The numbers tell the story:
– We will invest more than $1.7 billion to develop and produce the next generation Jeep SUV, the successor of the Jeep Liberty — including $500 million directly to tool and expand our Toledo Assembly Complex and will be adding about 1,100 jobs on a second shift by 2013.
– At our Jefferson North Assembly Plant, where we build the Jeep Grand Cherokee, we have created 2,000 jobs since June 2009 and have invested more than $1.8 billion.
– In Belvidere, where we build two Jeep models, we have added two shifts since 2009 resulting in an additional 2,600 jobs.
With the increase in demand for our vehicles, especially Jeep branded vehicles, we have added more than 11,200 U.S. jobs since 2009. Plants producing Jeep branded vehicles alone have seen the number of people invested in the success of the Jeep brand grow to more than 9,300 hourly jobs from 4,700. This will increase by an additional 1,100 as the Liberty successor, which will be produced in Toledo, is introduced for global distribution in the second quarter of 2013.”
It’s hard to predict the impact of such events, especially in the media shadow of Hurricane Sandy coverage. But you would think that the Romney campaign’s blatant willingness to mislead and to frighten thousands of Americans unnecessarily about their job security at Jeep would have a serious effect on public opinion and would lead at least some voters to question his credibility on a range of other issues as well. It demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for those to whom the truth about such matters is critically important.
– Jay Bookman