Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker plans to build some Jeeps in China for the local market — and later, in Russia.
“As part of our global expansion of the Jeep brand, there are some cars — that because of the price position in the market — can never be made in the U.S. and exported,” Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show. “We’re going to be announcing the first step in the globalization of Jeep (in China). There’s another one that’s going to come in Russia. These things are part of a natural process of expansion.”
Marchionne said he will keep “the pillar cars of the Jeep (brand) in the United States. Wrangler is one. The Grand Cherokee is another. These are things that need to be protected because they represent the best and the essence of Jeep. If you tell me I cannot make a Patriot somewhere else, I might as well go out of the market.”
Marchionne came under harsh criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who falsely suggested that Chrysler would shift production from Ohio to China of the Jeep brand. The Romney ad on the issue was branded the “lie of the year” by fact checker “Politifact.”
Marchionne rejected Romney’s assertion in a letter to employees last fall. “I set the record straight to our people,” he said. “We live in a world where we tell each other the truth and I think the stuff that was coming out was improperly phrased — it certainly was not reflective of the position of Chrysler.”
Much is being made around the rightosphere that Romney has been vindicated for his statement during the debates that “Jeep is shipping jobs overseas.”
Even with this announcement that isn’t the case. Jeep is expanding in China and Russia. These are Jeeps for sale in Russia and China to their markets. BUT, having said this, Romney WILL BE RIGHT. Romney made a forecast based on all the information he was hearing. Romney can’t crow yet that he was right. But once operations are humming in China, they will shut down the U.S. division and export Jeeps to us for our consumers.
To use a lefty phrase – you don’t have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.