The auto bailout just won’t go away — from the campaign trail at least. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s team is out with a commercial in Ohio saying he would do a better job handling the American auto industry than President Obama.
What’s unusual is that the ad calls out a specific company: Chrysler. The key line says, “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to the Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”
Well, yes, Chrysler is majority-owned by Fiat. And yes it’s hoping to resume Jeep production in China, but not at the expense of U.S. workers, as the ad implies. Just a few years after bailout and bankruptcy, Chrysler is adding production in the U.S. as well, and last quarter, Chrysler’s profit rose 80 percent.
Paul Ingrassia, deputy editor-in-chief at Reuters, says the Romney ad is simplistic: “Chrysler is a global company and they should build cars where it makes the most sense and they can make profits,” he says.
Last year, Chrysler paid back its government loans, and a health care trust for autoworkers still owns a big chunk of the company. So, Ingrassia says profits made anywhere in the world “will go to fund health benefits for retired UAW members.”
A Chrysler spokesman says he was “surprised” when he saw the Romney ad.