Jeep not moving to China, Mr. Romney
Jeep is not moving to China and out of the United States, Chrysler executives reaffirmed Tuesday after it became an issue in the US presidential campaign. Mitt Romney said that Chrysler was thinking about moving all Jeep production from Ohio to China during a rally last week.
Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive¬†Sergio Marchionne¬†reaffirmed on Tuesday that the company is not moving¬†Jeep¬†vehicle production out of the United States to¬†China¬†after it became an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.
Chrysler in an Oct. 25 blog post had already rejected a statement made that day to a crowd in¬†Ohio¬†by Republican presidential candidate¬†Mitt Romney, that Chrysler was thinking of moving all¬†Jeep¬†production from¬†Ohio¬†to¬†China.
Marchionne told employees by email on Tuesday, "I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position:¬†Jeep¬†production will not be moved from the¬†United States¬†to¬†China."
Romney, speaking last week to a crowd in¬†Defiance,¬†Ohio, said that he had read a news article that said Chrysler's¬†Jeep¬†brand is considering moving "all production to¬†China."
Later, the Romney campaign aired an advertisement that did not repeat the move of production from¬†Ohio¬†but said that Chrysler is considering making Jeeps in¬†China, which Chrysler has said.
U.S. President¬†Barack Obama's campaign, in its own ad, said Romney was making a "false claim" and noted that Chrysler had challenged Romney's statement.
Ohio¬†is seen by many political pollsters one of several key "swing" states in next Tuesday's presidential election.
Chrysler has been managed by¬†Fiat SpA¬†since it emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy, when the¬†Italian¬†company took 20-percent ownership. Marchionne is chief executive of both Chrysler and Fiat.
Fiat has since increased its ownership to 58.5 percent after achieving several goals, including building a fuel-efficient compact car made in the¬†United States¬†and increasing Chrysler sales outside its North American base.
Romney's ad and his comments in¬†Defiance¬†state that Chrysler has been taken over by an¬†Italian¬†company. Chrysler is based in¬†Auburn Hills,¬†Michigan, outside¬†Detroit.¬†Defiance¬†is about an hour's drive to the a main¬†Jeepplant in¬†Toledo,¬†Ohio.
Chrysler as early as June 2011 had said it was considering adding¬†Jeep¬†production in¬†China.
"We are working to establish a global enterprise and previously announced our intent to return¬†Jeep¬†production toChina, the world's largest auto market, in order to satisfy local market demand, which would not otherwise be accessible," said Marchionne in the email on Tuesday.
And he also reaffirmed previous Chrysler announcements about increasing its¬†Jeep¬†production at plants in¬†Ohio,Illinois¬†and¬†Detroit.
"We will invest more than $1.7 billion to develop and produce the next-generation¬†Jeep¬†SUV, the successor of theJeep¬†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," his email to employees said.
Marchionne said that Chrysler, including¬†Jeep, has added 11,200 jobs in the¬†United States¬†since 2009.
"Jeep¬†assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand," said Marchionne in the email. "It is inaccurate to suggest anything different."