Building Jeeps in China Is Old News

By Bill Moore

Posted: 30 Oct 2012

One of the hallmarks of personal character, in my opinion, is the ability to admit you're wrong when the facts prove it.

So please explain to me why, in the light of the mountains of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Republican challenger for the Presidency of the United States continues to hold to the line that Chrysler management is planning to move production of the Jeep product line to China.

Google the topic "Chrysler Moves Jeeps to China" and see what you come up with. Here's just some of what I found:

Yet, rather than retract his comments or pull a political television commercial that asserts this factually incorrect position, which his campaign is airing all across Ohio, Mr. Romney continues to stand by his remarks in an effort to bolster his campaign in a state that is crucial to both parties in winning the Presidency.

Apparently, he based his original assertion on an erroneous article appearing in the Washington Examiner which alleged Fiat management was not only planning to resume production of Jeeps in China but also "may eventually make all of its models in that country."

Not known for its liberal leanings, the Washington Examiner (and/or Mr. Romney) appears to have misinterpreted Chrysler management remarks about resuming Cherokee production in China, suspended in 2009 as a result of the bankruptcy. For the record, Chrysler has built Jeep Cherokees in China for decades [see above photo of China-made Cherokee built in partnership with Chrysler]. When I was in Beijing in 1999 and again in 2002 [my hotel was next to Chrysler's China headquarters], they were nearly as prevalent as GM's Shanghai-built Buicks. Management also noted that should demand warrant it, Chrysler would also consider introducing its other Jeep models into the booming Chinese market.

Mr. Romney's comment about moving all Jeep production to China are so completely off the mark, that Sergio Marchionne, the head of the combined Chrysler Fiat partnership, categorically denied any plans to relocate Jeep to China.

What Mr. Romney took to be a political weapon for his campaign, may turn out to do him more harm than good for at least two reasons. First of all, it again demonstrates, like his premature remarks on the incident in Benghazi, that he prefers to shoot first and ask questions later, commenting before he has all the facts. Second and worse, in my view, when it is clearly demonstrated that his remarks and his campaign commercial are in error, he simply refuses to acknowledge it and admit he is mistaken. I don't know about you, but I find neither trait admirable nor desirable in anyone, especially someone aspiring to the highest office in the land. Combine them both, and you have a volatile mixture with potentially dangerous consequences.

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