All your automotive stimulus are belong to China

posted at 12:41 pm on January 28, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

First, there was the Lie of the Year, which turned out to be true. Mark Hemingway:

Last month, PolitiFact selected its “Lie of the Year.” Given PolitiFact’s dubious record of singling out Republicans for lying far more often than Democrats, you probably could have guessed the winner of this particular sweepstakes was a Mitt Romney campaign ad:

It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep’s parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.

And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.

“Public expressed collective outrage”? That’s essentially wishcasting on the part of PolitiFact, nor are they accurately representing what Mitt Romney said in the ad. In fact, here’s PolitiFact’s original “fact check” on the matter:

[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs.

Ok. Now here’s what the Reuters reported earlier this week:

Fiat (FIA.MI) and its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to roll out at least 100,000 Jeeps in China when production starts in 2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals in the world’s biggest car market. …

“We expect production of around 100,000 Jeeps per year which is expandable to 200,000,” [Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, said on the sidelines of a conference, adding production could start in 18 months.

So, yes, it’s confirmed that Jeep will be producing cars in China.

As Hemingway points out, one could make the argument that expanding production to China means Jeep is growing, and such moves therefore benefit the company as a whole, but that still doesn’t make Romney a liar.

But there does seem to be a pattern with the companies the American taxpayer is wasting millions on.

There’s Fisker, the electric car company whose Karma costs over $100K, and for that price you get the honor of owning the only car ever to break down on the race track during its Consumer Reports test. Instead of being made in Delaware, as advertised when we gave Fisker $300 million or so in taxpayer-backed loans, the cars were made in Finland. Now, they may move to China:

Fisker Automotive Inc., the struggling maker of battery-powered sports cars, is in talks with several potential bidders as it accelerates a search for buyers and investors so it can keep operating, according to people familiar with the discussions…

A sale of the company is the most likely path, the people said, but it is possible Fisker could remain independent if it finds a partner or investor, the people said. The company is seeking investors even in the case of a sale to make the company more attractive to potential buyers, they said.

Much of the interest in Fisker is coming from China and elsewhere in Asia, where company executives believe there is stronger interest in Fisker’s electric-car technology, the people said. Fisker is also talking to companies in other regions, including the U.S., they said…

Among potential investors, Fisker has been in talks with Chinese-owned auto-parts manufacturer Wanxiang America Corp., one of the people familiar with the discussions said.

If Wanxiang sounds familiar, it could because you’ve been following Obama’s green boondoggles. It was A123 battery company, which made faulty batteries for Fisker, that got $249 million of our money, went bankrupt, and then got bought by the Chinese company in 2012.

We’re roaring back, baby. Glad my money could be a part of it.


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