Chrysler has clarified its position on the possible transfer of Jeep output for China to that country after some earlier reports led to misleading claims in the media it was planning to shift all Jeep production to China. It insisted Jeep was “simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market”.

However, the misleading claims were picked up by the Romney presidential campaign, leading to a furious response from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at the weekend.

“There are times when the reading of a newswire report generates storms originated by a biased or predisposed approach,” wrote senior vice president, corporate communications, Gualberto Ranieri, in a blog published on the automaker’s website on Friday.

It cited a 22 October Bloomberg News report titled ‘Fiat Says Jeep Output May Return to China as Demand Rises’ which stated “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. [Michael ]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 US workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats,” wrote Ranieri.

“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. US 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.”

That, in turn, led to any angry press release from the UAW on Sunday (28 October) which, under the headlines ‘UAW: Romney doubles down on Jeep lie’ and ‘Romney continues misinformation and hypocrisy on Chrysler’, said that, even after Ranieri had set the record straight, the presidential candidate’s campaign had “put out a false and misleading ad basically repeating his bogus statement made Thursday in Ohio that Chrysler was moving all Jeep production to China”.

“All patriotic Americans should be applauding Chrysler’s amazing comeback and the billions of dollars that Chrysler is investing right here in the United States, creating tens of thousands of direct auto and ‘ripple’ jobs in the United States,” the UAW railed, mentioning the automaker’s recent investments in Ohio and Michigan.

“What is especially hypocritical of Mr Romney’s statements and new ad is Bain Capital’s closing of profitable US facilities and shifting work to China to make even higher profits like what is happening today in closing a profitable Sensata plant in Freeport, Illinois, to move the work to China,” UAW president Bob King said in a statement.

“Romney says in the ad that he will fight for every American job, so why isn’t he fighting for the American jobs at Sensata? And why isn’t he intervening with his own Bain Capital to keep these jobs in the US rather than outsourcing them to China? We just wish that Mr. Romney was as committed to investing in the US as Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is.”

To see the blog and the full UAW press release, click on the ‘Press Release’ button below.