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GM and Chrysler rebut Romney auto bailout claims

October 30, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • A GM spokesman defended the company's record and lashed out at Mitt Romney's campaign.
A GM spokesman defended the company's record and lashed out at Mitt… (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg )

TAMPA, Fla. — As Mitt Romney released more misleading claims about President Obama and the auto bailout on Tuesday, officials at GM and Chrysler weighed in and said the statements put forward by Romney about job losses and the offshoring of jobs were false — an unusual move for corporations, which tend to avoid entering the fray of partisan politics.

Romney released a new radio ad in Ohio that continued to imply that Chrysler, the parent company of Jeep, had outsourced production to China, and in a new accusation, claimed that GM was moving 15,000 American jobs to China. Earlier, Romney released a television ad that implied Jeep production was being moved to China.

A GM spokesman defended the company and lashed out at Romney.

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“We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” spokesman Greg Martin told the Detroit Free Press. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

GM did cut 15,000 jobs, but that occurred before the 2009 government bailout, and the company has added jobs since.

The head of Chrysler, meanwhile, fought back against the implication that the bailout and restructuring overseen by Obama led the company to outsource production to China. The company said it was indeed ramping up Jeep production in China, but for the Chinese market, and has not moved American production out the nation.

“I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne emailed employees, noting that American productions of Jeeps had tripled since 2009, and that the company was expanding operations in the United States. “Jeep is one of our truly global brands with uniquely American roots. This will never change. So much so that we committed that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio, plant, will never see full production outside the United States.”

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A request for comment from the Romney campaign was not answered Tuesday evening.

The GOP nominee has previously faced challenges presented by his opposition to the auto bailouts, which many in Ohio credit with saving the industry.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

@LATSeema

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