Jeep in Ohio…also Indiana, Michigan, Illinois: Its More than a Fact Check, it’s a Reality Check

Controversy is escalating around a statement Gov. Mitt Romney made on the campaign trail last Thursday and is now repeating in ads, alleging that Chrysler is sending Jeep jobs to China. Chrysler itself quickly rebutted the claim.

But for those who are still unconvinced by the ‘he-said-she-said,’there is an even better way to get the real picture of what’s going on in the manufacturing heartland: just follow the money.

Building the Jeep Grand Cherokee at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit. In addition to adding 1100 jobs at its Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, Chrysler has added over 1000 jobs at the Detroit facility. Photo:
In a November 2011 press release below, Chrysler provided a snapshot of its $4.5 billion slate of investments in U.S. production, including $1.7 billion in Jeep alone. This list not only shows that claims of a shift to China would be profoundly illogical from a business perspective (“a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats” as a Chrysler blog put it), but it also creates a picture of the scale and momentum of the auto and manufacturing transformation underway in the Midwest, the South and other manufacturing states and communities across the country, and how it has become one of the key drivers of a national recovery.

So what’s in question isn’t just the (at best) politically expedient use of an oddly worded Bloomberg news story about how a resurgent Chrysler was seeking to add production in China for the Chinese market. It’s the implicit rejection of a huge, successful, clean-technology investment, innovation, and manufacturing commitment by American companies and workers, and yes, by states and federal government Not only did this policy, investment, and hard work by thousands of Americans prove to be economically successful (the auto industry has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since the collapse in 2009), but it is demonstrating right now that America can lead again globally on advanced technology and the environment. Its not just a fact check…it’s a reality check.

Judge for yourself: here’s where Chrysler is putting its money, investment and jobs (emphasis added):

 “Toledo, Ohio , Nov 16, 2011 – Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it will invest $1.7 billion to support the development and production of the next generation Jeep® SUV in 2013, including $500 million at the Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio). As a result, the Company will add a second shift of production or about 1,100 jobs, bringing total employment at the complex to over 2,800.

…. With today’s announcement, Chrysler Group is planning to invest more than $4.5 billion in the U.S. and has made significant progress toward building a successful enterprise since June 2009, including:

  • reporting net income of $212 million in the third quarter of 2011;
  • reporting the 19th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in October;
  • planning to invest $165 million to add a new one million square-foot body shop to its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant;
  • announcing a $72 million investment in the Toledo (Ohio) Machining Plant;
  • confirming a $114 million investment to repurpose about one-fifth or nearly 400,000-square feet of the Trenton North Engine Plant for the production of core components for the Pentastar engine produced at Trenton South;
  • investing nearly $1.3 billion into the Company’s existing transmission manufacturing facilities in Kokomo, Ind., to accommodate production of a new advanced front-wheel drive automatic transmission; increase capacity and support production of the World Engine and improve processes for the 62TE transmission program; and accommodate future production of a new highly fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission;
  • announcing a $600 million investment in its Belvidere Assembly Plant;
  • confirming an investment of $850 million in its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and surrounding stamping facilities;
  • planning an investment of $150 million in its GEMA (Dundee, Mich.) facility;
  • announcing in December 2009 that it will invest $179 million to launch production of the 1.4-liter, 16-valve Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) at the company’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Mich., creating more than 150 new Chrysler jobs;
  • adding a second shift of production – or nearly 1,100 jobs – at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in May 2010;
  • adding nearly 900 jobs on a second shift at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in February 2011;
  • launching the all-new 2011 Jeep® Grand Cherokee in May 2010;
  • beginning production of the all-new Fiat 500, Dodge Durango, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger in December 2010;
  • starting production of the 2011 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger in January.”

In a statement today, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne updated these numbers to a total of 11,200 Chrysler jobs added in the U.S. since 2009, and said: “I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.”

As is true across the industry, the new cars, trucks, engines and transmissions Chrysler is building will also be much more fuel efficient. These new fuel-efficient cars and trucks are on track to deliver huge oil savings, deep carbon-pollution reductions, and tens of billions of dollars a year in net savings for consumers. New fuel economy standards working together with investments in manufacturing clean energy technology in America—like those made by Chrysler—are delivering greater innovation, improved global competitiveness, and even more jobs than via economic recovery alone.

VIDEO: See first hand what workers who build the Jeep Grand Cherokee at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly plant that have to say, here.

Plus, in the wake of Sandy,  its worth noting that the auto revival is a powerful demonstration that American companies and workers have what it takes to combat climate change and build jobs at the same time.

The list above are just Chrysler’s investments and accomplishments. They don’t include the other automakers—domestic and foreign—or the hundreds of suppliers who see new orders and new investment as Chrysler retools and increases production. Chrysler’s profits have also continued to rebound since the time of this release in Nov 2011.

The reality check? Investments in rebuilding a clean competitive auto industry are working for America. This is good news for families and communities all across America, and that’s a reality that needs to continue.