Chrysler Alive but Jeep About to Shift Production to China

Katie Pavlich

10/25/2012 1:11:00 PM - Katie Pavlich

First off, I love Jeeps. I drove a blue stick-shift Jeep in high school and dream of one day owning another one (pre-bailout edition) of course. President Obama has based a large portion of his re-election campaign on the auto-bailout which has resonated with many voters in Ohio, a state Mitt Romney needs to win. However, due to burdonsome regulations, high taxes and the overall high cost of manufacting in the United States, Jeep (owned by Chrysler) production may be shipped overseas to China. The Washington Examiner has more:

In another potential blow for the president's Ohio reelection campaign, Jeep, the rugged brand President Obama once said symbolized American freedom, is considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China.

Such a move would crash the economy in towns like Toledo, Ohio, where Jeeps are made and supplied, and rob the community of the economic security they thought Obama's auto bailout assured them.

Obama is such a fan of Jeep that he included a picture of himself speaking at the Toledo plant in his newly released second term agenda binder. In his address to the plant in 2011, Obama said, "I just took a short tour of the plant and watched some of you putting the finishing touches on the Wrangler. Now, as somebody reminded, I need to call it the 'iconic' Wrangler. And that's appropriate because when you think about what Wrangler has always symbolized. It symbolized freedom, adventure, hitting the open road, never looking back."

But despite Obama's efforts to sell Chrysler as an American brand, the company is actually owned by the Italian Fiat and American taxpayers lost big for the government's decision to bail them out four years ago.

Chrysler: repaid $9.2 billion, fulfilling its debt obligations to the U.S. and Canadian governments, and is now owned by Italian automaker Fiat (58.5%) and a health care trust for UAW retirees (41.5%). Overall, taxpayers lost $1.3 billion on the Chrysler bailout. In full recovery mode, Chrysler is currently the fastest-growing carmaker in the world.