That Jeep Plant Mitt Said Was Moving to China? It's Hiring 1,000 Workers in Ohio

Tour of Fiat/Chrysler Jeep Plant's World Class Manufacturing System
Getty Images/Bloomberg/Ty Wright
By Joshua Green

Remember the closing days of the 2012 presidential campaign when Mitt Romney ran that explosive ad suggesting Chrysler was going to stop building Jeeps in Ohio and move production to China? The one that got "Four Pinocchios" from the fact-checker at The Washington Post? The one Romney himself echoed in a speech he delivered near the Jeep plant in Ohio: "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China." Right afterward, Meat Loaf performed.

Anyway, that Jeep plant? It didn't move to China. It's going gangbusters. Demand for Jeeps is so high that Chrysler workers are clocking 60 hours a week and can't keep up. So according to the Toledo Blade, the company is hiring up to 1,000 part-time workers -- American workers, in Ohio -- so they can meet the demand. These workers are even going to get health insurance.

"Chrysler Group LLC plans to hire up to 1,000 part-time employees for the Toledo Assembly complex to keep production rolling while giving regular employees the chance for a break," the Blade wrote. "'Our people have been working a tremendous amount of hours,' Plant Manager Chuck Padden said. 'To get them more time off is important to us, to make sure they're refreshed, and can work safely.'

"With record demand for the Jeep Wrangler and the launch of the new Jeep Cherokee last year, employees are regularly working 60 hours a week. And while employees generally like the extra pay that results from working overtime, such lengthy stretches can wear on workers, he said."

Full-Timers Need a Break, and Temps May Get Full-Time Jobs

In case you're wondering, hiring temp workers isn't a maneuver to deny regular workers their hours. "You've gotta remember, these people [the regular workers] are working 10 hours a day, six days a week," a UAW boss who helped negotiate the deal told the Blade. "It's very important to have the day off you want with your family."

This is all great news for the workers and their families, for Ohio, and for Jeep. (Chrysler has hired 380 temp employees and converted 50 of them to full-time jobs, the Blade added.) If you happen to be waiting for a new Jeep Wrangler, I guess it's great news for you, too, since the new workers will allow the plant to start running its Wrangler assembly line on Saturdays.

Call me petty, but what I think is greatest about this story is the line tucked down at the end -- the one mentioning that 15 percent of the Cherokees built at the Ohio plant are "destined for international markets."

Joshua Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington.


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denemeth2

Does anyone realize Chrysler had a Jeep plant in China that dated back to the American Motors days and was sold to the Chinese government in order to tear it down to make way for an Olympic venue years ago. I believe the intention has always been to build another plant there like all smart automakers would in a growing market.

March 18 2014 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
armed.infidel

Fiat Says Jeep Output May Return to China as Demand Rises

By Craig Trudell 
October 22, 2012 11:10 AM EDT  114 Comments

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Fiat Says China May Build All Jeep Models as SUV Demand Climbs

Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country, according to the head of both automakers’ operations in the region.

Fiat is in “very detailed conversations” with its Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (2238), about making Jeeps in the world’s largest auto market, said Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia. Chrysler hasn’t built Jeeps there since before Fiat took control in 2009.

“The volume opportunity for us is very significant,” Manley, who is also president of the Jeep brand, said in an interview at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters. “We’re reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity” as well as “should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio

March 18 2014 at 4:24 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
joey

And the other 99% crap was Obama!!!!!!!!!!!

March 18 2014 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eaton.beaver

Chrysler Jeep To Be Built In China By Fiat, Chrysler And Guangzhou For Chinese Market

DAVID RUNKAP01/15/13 04:05 PM ET

DETROIT -- Fiat, Chrysler and a Chinese automaker announced Tuesday that they have signed an agreement to expand vehicle manufacturing in China and produce the Jeep for sale in that market.

The companies said the deal was signed at Chrysler Group LLC's headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills. It was announced as Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. discussed its plans during press days at the North American International Auto Show.A joint venture between GAC Group, Fiat Group Automobiles SpA and Chrysler Group International LLC currently builds the Fiat Viaggio and distributes models such as the Fiat 500, Freemont and Bravo in China. Production of more Fiat models is planned.

"The expansion of the agreement with our GAC partners will allow us to unleash the potential of both our Fiat and Chrysler Group brands in China," Jeep President and CEO Mike Manley, who also is chief operating officer for Fiat SpA's Asia Pacific region, said in a statement.

The companies say the venture's next step will be to build Jeeps in China for the Chinese market. Jeep already sells several models in China, including the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Compass, but they are imported. Jeep has said volume would be incremental to start.

"This agreement is another milestone of our partnership with Fiat and Chrysler Group," Zeng Qinghong, general manager of GAC Group, said in a statement. "It definitely creates the basis for our JV to reach very ambitious objectives in Chinese market."

March 18 2014 at 9:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

tell us about the Cadillac plant.

March 18 2014 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mansocket

That's what Mitt said years ago and instead a good thing happened. Obama said the cold war was over 20 years ago instead Putin thinks he's the new Hitler and we stand by and watch and that's a bad thing. Me thinks Mr. Green got into some green beer yesterday and got stupid, this isn't news.

March 18 2014 at 5:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
td41ho

Wow, while our President lied his way through the campaign, you slam Romney for a bad call. On the world stage Obama really had a handle on Putin though.

March 18 2014 at 4:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ADAM ANTMAN

ONCE AGAIN - PROOF THAT MITTENS & THE GOP ARE FULL OF S*IT!!

March 18 2014 at 3:47 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
tominssales

We must be into the hundreds of thousands on the lies front from the Right. Hey, since 2002 they've created a lot of things. Wars, spending, tax cuts for the rich, new Medicare "laws" that destroyed the program, a disintegrated housing market; And a flipping near Depression ..... Everything BUT a job; Not a one, not even a plan. They're "replace" part of the ACC? Nope just repeal (5 MILLION and COUNTING, OOPS) What you get from the GOP and TEA ? Lies, Hypocrisy, Vitriol, Rhetoric and MORE lies. They are 1%ER paid off TRAITORS. Nothing more, Nothing less. Vote'm out and lock'em up.

March 18 2014 at 2:31 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
rflem173

Romney told the truth. They had to reverse that plan when that happened. If he would not have mentioned it, it would have moved to China. Otherwise the vehicle would have quit selling here. I certainly would not buy one if it were Chinese made.

March 18 2014 at 2:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply