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GM CEO Tripped Up By Facts

GM CEO Tripped Up By Facts

You can’t stump the Trump, and it’s risky to even try. Maybe one day the reporters for the mainstream press will figure this out. Until then, we get to laugh at their expense.

In a column last week we reported that Trump had warned General Motors to bring their auto production back to the U.S. or face steep tariffs. The vehicle in dispute was the Chevy Cruze, which Trump said was made in Mexico.

Chevy quickly fired back that Trump was wrong. They claimed that they made only a small number of that model in Mexico — the ones destined for the international market.

GM played like patriots, saying that the Chevy Cruze hatchbacks sold in the United States are made in a plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

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“GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S.” it said in a statement posed on its website without giving numbers.

The left-wing punditry gleefully seized on the “gotcha!” as evidence of Trump’s ignorance.

Popular left wing political blog Wonkette set their headline-generator to maximum snark: “Donald Trump Thinks Chevy Cruzes Are Made In Mexico: Also Rapists, Smugglers, Killed JFK”.

An article on liberal rag Huffington Post got nearly a thousand comments, mostly from Democrats calling Trump some variation of “stupid and uneducated”.

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USA Today carried water for their Chamber of Commerce benefactors, noting that Trump has “attacked the North American Free Trade Agreement before”, criticizing the shift of vehicle production from the U.S. to Mexico.

Newsblog Addicting Info went apoplectic:

“Trump just flat-out lied to the American people and got busted for it by General Motors. Next time Trump decides to attack an American company he should do his homework first and then look in the mirror because his company has most of their products manufactured in China and Mexico, which make Trump the biggest hypocrite in America.”

Amidst all the triumphant trolling by Trump’s detractors, somebody forgot to perform a basic fact check.

As luck would have it, an astute writer by the name of Edward Niedermeyer cracked the case after some basic research into GM’s claims. Niedermeyer is an automotive industry-watcher and gadfly who writes for Bloomberg and other major publications. He sent some revealing discoveries from his popular Twitter account @Tweetermeyer:

But Niedermeyer wasn’t done yet.

Niedermeyer then posted a spreadsheet which listed the VIN numbers of recently-built Cruzes, along with an official reference for the VIN that shows the vehicles were made in Mexico. He did some legwork to research local dealerships in Ohio and found that all of them were carrying a large number of the Chevy Cruze model made in Mexico, rather than in the Lordstown plant as the company had claimed.

Niedermeyer chided mainstream reporters for failing to perform even a cursory fact-check before running with the story in an attempt to make Trump look bad. It took an unpaid watchdog to point out that Chevy was blowing smoke.

The industry’s union leadership agrees with Trump and the majority of American voters: NAFTA has been terrible for our workers, and it needs to be re-negotiated or scrapped.

“I’m prepared to sit down and talk to him about trade. NAFTA is a problem,” United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams told reporters following the election.

“I think his position on trade is right on,” he added. Williams also agrees with Trump about slapping a 35% tariff on Mexican-made U.S. imports.

It’s likely that union workers from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are what put Trump over the edge in the race for the White House. While Hillary all but ignored their plight, Trump campaigned extensively in the area, with specific promises on bringing back jobs.

Union members in these states had traditionally voted Democrat, and pollsters were convinced the states would be a breeze for Hillary. They got the surprise of their lives on election night, when American factory workers and their families broke ranks for Trump.

Trump's Infectious Enthusiasm Spreads to Detroit

Trump’s Infectious Enthusiasm Spreads to Detroit

Mainstream reporters framed Trump’s tweet about the tariffs as an “attack” or a “threat”. Their angle is that Trump is mistreating American companies and interfering in the free market.

But that doesn’t fly with people who can clearly see the devastating effects of bad trade deals every time they leave their homes. Under Obama, the economy in the so-called “Rust Belt” has only gotten worse.

Last year, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler made about 1.6 million vehicles in Mexico, about 17 percent of the vehicles produced overall in North America, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That’s projected to rise to 2.5 million, or about 26 percent, by 2022.

In November, GM said it would lay off about 1,250 workers at the Lordstown plant due to sagging demand for cars as U.S. buyers take advantage of low gasoline prices to buy trucks and SUVs. The workers on the third shift at Lordstown will go in indefinite layoff starting Jan. 23, although some may move to other GM factories. GM said it will make all 2017 models of the Cruze sedan in the United States and that all of those sold in the United States will be made in Ohio.

Auto Workers in Ohio Have Seen Steady Layoffs Under Obama

Auto Workers in Ohio Have Seen Steady Layoffs Under Obama

We are about to enter a golden new era of the American automobile. Oil prices are historically low, with no signs of dramatic increases any time soon. American car makers are moving their production back home in droves, and there are more buyers in the country than ever before.

We also have Elon Musk driving progress in alternative vehicles with the Tesla corporation, much of which is based in the United States.

Finally, love it or not, Silicon Valley giants Uber and Google promise to put driverless taxicabs on the roads within 5 years.

All of the conditions are there for a manufacturing renaissance in transportation, if we choose to seize the opportunity.