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· October 29, 2012

Just in Time for Halloween: Jeep Ad Meant to Scare – But Claim is Fantasy

Innovation Ohio is on the op-ed page of The Plain Dealer today sharing our research – and the truth – about the positive jobs effect of the auto rescue for Ohio. But, just like Whack-a-Mole, one more lie about Ohio’s auto industry pops up as soon the record is corrected on the previous one. Why fudge the facts on auto jobs and the importance of the industry to Ohio? Our state is at the center of the political universe until Election Day. Pundits from one end of the country to the other believe the presidential vote in Ohio will determine the outcome of the race. The Romney campaign has rightly identified President Barack Obama’s support of the auto rescue as a huge advantage for the president in the state. Since the rescue was fully implemented – mid-2009 – more than 17,000 auto jobs have been added in Ohio. Gov. Mitt Romney was publicly against the auto rescue – he’s trying mightily not to have to pay the political price for that position. Apparently, the Romney/Kasich assault on the data isn’t working. Over the weekend, the Romney campaign began airing “The Jeep Ad.” Running in the Toledo area, and reportedly in Youngstown as well, the announcer intones, “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” This ad is totally misleading:
  • The bankruptcy line is meant to elicit negative connotations, but there are different forms of bankruptcy. One form is a reorganization – that’s what the auto rescue enabled for Chrysler and GM. In their instance, bankruptcy doesn’t mean driven “out of business.”
  • “Sold Chrysler to Italians …” Oooh. Scary. It’s true, Fiat, an Italian company, now owns a controlling interest in Chrysler. Frankly, the deal has been as good for Americans as it has the Italians.
  • Scare tactic of them all: The Italians are going to build Jeeps in China. Meant to be perceived in Toledo as: The Italians are shipping my job to China. Check out this story from the Detroit News. It recounts this ad’s unveiling in the context of comments made last week by Romney where he essentially told a Defiance, Ohio audience that the Jeep jobs were going to China. Now, his campaign has backed away from that outright claim but still sneakily lays it out there in a 30-second ad.
But, you don’t have to trust my analysis of the Jeep jobs controversy. Let’s allow Chrysler to speak for itself:
Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

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