From Businessweek, via Drudge:
To counter the severe slump in European sales, Marchionne is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America. The Italian government is evaluating tax rebates on export goods to help Fiat. Marchionne may announce details of his plan as soon as Oct. 30, the people said.
So, let’s be real clear here, we are talking about vehicles that will be built in Italy and exported to America. The evidence is clear that Fiat is looking at ways to move production of vehicles from the US to elsewhere, whether it be China or Italy, costing American jobs. This is becoming indisputable, despite outcries from certain parties to the contrary.
Mitt Romney has rightfully criticized the Obama Administration for handing over Chrysler to the Italians and now leaving the fate of American workers in the hands of Fiat management. Fiat is not a healthy company and the auto industry is in as great a risk as ever. The insistence that all is well by those with political motivations does not mask the danger. More jobs are at risk of being lost and more taxpayer money may be lost as well.
When you look at the economic crisis in Europe, there are five countries that are constantly noted for being in imminent danger of collapse, the “PIIGS” nations: Portugal Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain. Italy is historically famous for changing governments at the cyclic rate. Nothing about giving Chrysler to FIAT, especially when the insured creditors were cut off, often for political reasons, was a good idea. Italy hasn’t had a stable government since Hadrian, and FIAT certainly isn’t Daimler.
This isn’t just a car company getting taxpayer money and moving its production overseas (which Obama is doing, though he accuses every else of doing it), this is also a big symbolic move. Jeep is a profoundly American brand, and serves as an American icon. Their heritage stems from WWII, which the company, the workers, and the customer base are quite proud of. Chrysler and Daimler working together was one thing, it didn’t work out so well, but it also was a merger that wasn’t orchestrated by government, and production and the company itself were still US-based. Chrysler being sold to FIAT through government order, screwing over investors including cops and teachers, and Jeeps moving to Italy just flies in the face of the history and traditions of the Jeep brand itself, though I’m sure some people would approve.
Coincidence, I’m sure.