With an update (in response to comments alleging media bias) from the leftist publication, Wall Street Journal.
In a speech Thursday, Governor Romney stated:
“…one of the great manufacturers in this state Jeep — now owned by the Italians — is thinking of moving all production to China. 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.”
This statement is incorrect.
Here are two figures with actual data from the most recent GDP release, regarding motor vehicle production and sales of domestic vehicles, and exports.
Figure 1: US motor vehicle output (blue) and sales (red), in bn. Ch.05$. Dashed line at 2008Q4 (November 2008), “Romney: Let Detroit go bankrupt”. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA, Table 7.2.6U. Real Motor Vehicle Output, October 26, 2012 release, and NBER.
Figure 2: Log US motor vehicle exports (blue) and US goods exports (red), in bn. Ch.05$, both normalized to 2009Q2=0. Dashed line at 2008Q4 (November 2008), “Romney: Let Detroit go bankrupt”.NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA, Table 7.2.6U. Real Motor Vehicle Output, and 1.1.6. Real Gross Domestic Product, October 26, 2012 release, and NBER.
Note that in the wake of government assistance (including direct aid from TARP), production, sales, and exports have rebounded sharply.
Update, 4:15PM Pacific: From Detroit Free Press, “Romney camp silent on his Jeep-to-China gaffe: Production move refuted by Chrysler
If Mitt Romney knows Chrysler will keep making Jeeps in Detroit and Toledo, neither he nor his staffers acknowledged it Friday.
A spokesman for the Republican presidential candidate declined to answer questions about the candidate’s incorrect reading of a news report that Chrysler was considering moving all Jeep production to China.
Romney’s comments came late Thursday in Defiance, Ohio, just hours after the Free Press reported that 1,100 new Chrysler workers will help boost production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs in Detroit beginning next week.
Also, Chrysler is investing $500 million to upgrade its plant in Toledo to build the replacement for the Jeep Liberty and is in the process of hiring 1,105 additional workers that are expected to start next fall.
Update, Sunday 12:20PM Pacific: In response to comments from Rick Stryker asserting media bias, I will appeal to a different source. From WSJ:
The new Romney ad, which features nostalgic images of people enjoying rides in their cars, and then autos getting crushed at a junkyard, states that Mr. Obama “took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” (You can see it here.)
Mr. Romney, in Defiance, Ohio, last week, told supporters: “One of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America.”
Defiance is a manufacturing town in northwest Ohio not far from Toledo, which is home to a large Jeep assembly plant that Chrysler is spending $500 million to retool for a new Jeep Liberty model.
Shortly before Mr. Romney spoke, Chrysler’s chief spokesman, Gualberto Ranieri, had written on the company’s blog that Chrysler had no intention of shifting U.S. Jeep production to China.
China is the world’s largest auto market and and the second-largest for the Jeep brand, behind North America. Fiat and Chrysler executives have been signaling their desire to revive Jeep production in China for months—while at the same time hiring more workers at Jeep factories in Detroit and Toledo to meet robust demand for the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles.
Chrysler employs about 1,929 workers at the Toledo plant and 3,075 at the Jefferson North Jeep assembly plant in Detroit. The company has announced plans to hire an additional 1,100 workers in Detroit.
In his online statement, Mr. Ranieri was responding not to the Romney campaign ads or Mr. Romney’s comments, but to blogs that had misinterpreted a Bloomberg News story about the company’s plans to build Jeeps in China.
“Despite clear and accurate reporting,” Mr. Ranieri wrote, “the take 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. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.
United Auto Workers union President Bob King, whose union represents workers at Chrysler’s Ohio factories, said Mr. Romney should “take personal responsibility for perpetuating a deplorable and false statement about Chrysler, a U.S. automaker that has bounced back in a big way after bankruptcy.”
So far, the Romney campaign hasn’t issued a public statement on the flap.
See also Detroit Free Press. If I may be so bold, it seems to me that the bottom line is the Romney campaign (specifically Governor Romney) made a factual error, and has not issued a retraction of the earlier mistaken assertion. Which is to me, frankly, unsurprising.
Update, 9:10AM Pacific 10/30: Bloomerg updates. Still no retraction/correction.
Update, 9:10PM Pacific: WaPo Factchecker gives Romney ad on Jeep 4 pinocchios.