PR response of the year

Bloomberg News ran a piece a week ago that indicated Fiat, in its capacity as High Overlord of Chrysler, might be contemplating building Jeeps in China, and a phrase to the effect that they “may eventually make all their models in that country,” hinting at multiple lines, was apparently interpreted as meaning that Jeep was actually moving all its production to China.

Which they aren’t, as Chrysler is taking pains to point out:

There are times when the reading of a newswire report generates storms originated by a biased or predisposed approach.

On Oct. 22, 2012, at 11:10 a.m. ET, the Bloomberg News report “Fiat Says Jeep® Output May Return to China as Demand Rises” stated “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. [Mike] Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.

And just to hammer it home:

Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

Of course, were it not for unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments, we’d have thirty blogs instead of thirty million.


  1. JT »

    30 October 2012 · 9:51 am

    But but but… the full press release won’t fit on a bumper sticker!

  2. CGHill »

    30 October 2012 · 11:08 am

    I am told Mitt “Mitt” Romney tried to gin up a campaign ad out of that, in which case I think we can safely say that he blew it.

  3. Charles Pergiel »

    30 October 2012 · 2:49 pm

    How do you tell when corporate spokespeople are lying? Their lips are moving. Just because they don’t have any plans to move production to China right this very moment doesn’t mean they won’t have any such plans in the future, like two seconds after this notice was released.
    And what’s this bit about returning production to China? Were Jeeps originally made there and then exported to Europe for WWII?
    The few stories I’ve read from Bloomberg lately seem weirdly skewed. Some don’t even seem to be from this planet. Or the editor is out to lunch and the inmates are running the asylum.

  4. CGHill »

    30 October 2012 · 3:36 pm

    Jeep had a joint venture with a Chinese automaker — which is pretty much de rigueur if you expect to sell any cars in China — from 1984 to 2005, making a version of the XJ Cherokee. (This predates Chrysler’s ownership of the brand.)

  5. CGHill »

    30 October 2012 · 10:35 pm

    Here’s Mark Tapscott’s take, which seems to cover most of the gory details well enough.

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