When politics and cars are related

Is not common to hear about politics in a car blog. But America’s political campaign for presidency is so intense that even car industry is part of it. Barack Obama was elected president for the period 2009-2013 and during his first year in office he had to deal with the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler. To many jobs were pending on his decision of helping them through government loans or just doing nothing. By that time European car market was showing its first signs of crisis and Sergio Marchionne, Fiat’s CEO, came to Obama and proposed him what no one was expected. He wanted Chrysler for Italians only if American government helped it through federal loans, and Fiat would saved it from bankruptcy. They made the deal and 3 years later the situation is completely different and really good for Chrysler and American jobs. The story seems to be simple and easy, but was a bit different from that, as so many factors opposed to that deal. First of all, American economic situation by that time made difficult, or political incorrect, to take people’s money to give it to foreigners to save a failed company. Then, Fiat’s proposal was to risky as they did not offer money for the initial 20% of the company and they could get up to 35% of the ownership of Chrysler without doing so. A lot of trust was needed to sign a deal like this. Obama was risking his own popularity and Fiat was risking its future. Of course the deal had opposition inside America’s political class. Mitt Romney, to fight for presidency today, said that it was better not to involve federal funds in the rescue of troubled car makers. As a Republican he believes the government should be as small as it can without interfere in economy, as this one can regulate itself. At the end Fiat and Obama made the deal and the consequences of it is known by everybody: Chrysler and its jobs were not only saved but the company is considered one of the healthiest with continuous sales growth and has become the savior of Fiat in Europe. Today, Americans will decide whether Barack Obama continues in office or Mitt Romney becomes the 45th president of the United States. As polls indicate that there is tight race, both candidates had become more aggressive in the last days, and sometimes imprecise. Regarding automotive sector, Mitt Romney’s Ad said Barack Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians while Jeep would move its production to China. It’s quite normal that when in a political campaign, all candidates become aggressive to gain more votes, but it shouldn’t mean not telling the whole story: Obama did not take GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. He saved them from disaster and now Chrysler is that well that it is planing not to move to China but to establish a new factory to produce its successful Jeep models in world’s largest market. Who ever wins the elections in America should remember this industry is vital for its economy and supporting it instead of atacking it is the best way to keep it healthy.


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