Alright, Mitt Romney. I understand that you’re a politician. I understand that, like all politicians, you are a liar. But leave my beloved Jeep out of it, asshole.
In case you’re wondering: Mitt Romney just released a lying ad in Ohio saying that Chrysler intends to build Jeeps in China, implying that all the Toledo, Ohio Jeep jobs are going bye-bye. Which is a) a lie, and b) a lie.
First of all, Chrysler has been building Jeeps in China since *1996*. That’s when they shipped the old body tooling for their Jeep Cherokee SUV over there and started building the old-style Cherokees. They’ve been building Jeeps over there ever since — for sale to Chinese. So Chrysler isn’t *intending* to build Jeeps in China. They *are* building Jeeps in China — and have been doing so for years. They’re expanding their Chinese Jeep factory, but to sell more Jeeps to the Chinese — none of those Jeeps are coming over here, most of the Jeeps they’re selling over there *can’t* come over here because they were discontinued here (and the tooling shipped there) because they fundamentally can’t meet modern U.S. safety and emissions standards.
Secondly, in 2006-2007 Chrysler razed the old WW2 Jeep factory in Toledo Ohio, which was dilapidated and not suited for building cars in a modern automated fashion, and replaced with with a multi-billion-dollar state of the art highly automated facility capable of making 150,000 Jeep Wranglers per year. Which is currently maxed out. That is, Chrysler sells every single Jeep Wrangler that they’re capable of making and likely could sell twice as many Jeep Wranglers if they could make them and market them overseas as is being proposed by their current CEO. So even if Chrysler *was* building a Jeep Wrangler factory elsewhere, it wouldn’t be to export those Toledo jobs elsewhere, it’d be to build more Jeeps *in addition* to the ones being built in Toledo.
Not that Chrysler is doing any such thing. Every single Jeep Wrangler is built in America — and always will be. Because it’s understood that this iconic descendant of the famed WW2 Jeep is uniquely American and it would be just wrong to build it anywhere else. They have added a shift and 1,000 jobs to their Detroit factory to build more Grand Cherokees, and have broken ground on a new assembly line for Jeeps at their Toledo facility that is going to employ an additional 1,100 workers when it comes online next year. Because it’s a lot easier to expand a current factory than to build a new one from scratch — the suppliers are already nearby, you have all the current workers available to train new workers, and if your current factory is already maxed out you can add on an incremental line and still have economies of scale. A Jeep factory that built only 50,000 additional Jeeps a year, likely what the market could absorb right now, simply wouldn’t be economically viable — you have to build *at least* 150,000 of something at a factory nowadays to make it cost effective, due to the high cost of the robots needed to keep assembly costs down and assembly quality up.
To summarize: There is no fucking way that Chrysler is going to abandon this multi-billion dollar investment and ship those jobs overseas, because a) it ain’t that many jobs (robots do most of the work, and b) the money is already sunk and right now every Jeep Wrangler that rolls off those lines is pure profit for Chrysler. Mitt Romney needs to just shut his lying mouth when it comes to Jeep, because he pretty much pisses off anybody who knows and cares about Jeeps when he uses Jeeps as a political talking point. Just sayin’.
- Badtux the Jeepin’ Penguin