Ex-Chrysler Executive Defends Corporate China Investments

Gerald Greenwald, a former Chrysler vice chairman and co-founder of a private-equity firm, said companies shouldn’t be criticized for hiring in China after the automaker was made a subject of the U.S. presidential campaign.

“We’ve all got to quit telling corporations where they should employ,” Greenwald, the co-founder of Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, said today on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” The U.S. should focus on how to “tempt” corporations to invest in the country and “not beat up on companies because they’re doing what is economically in their interest.”

Greenwald, 77, departed the then-independent Chrysler Corp. in 1990. He is a former chief executive officer of UAL Corp., the former parent company of United Airlines.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a crowd of supporters at an Oct. 25 campaign event that Chrysler Group LLC was considering moving Jeep production to China, citing an unidentified news story. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said yesterday in a message to employees that Jeep sport-utility vehicle output will stay in the U.S., reiterating the company’s statements in an Oct. 25 blog post.

Romney has aired ads in the closely contested state of Ohio that are critical of Chrysler and General Motors Co. for hiring workers in China, the world’s largest auto market.

Bloomberg News reported Oct. 22 that Chrysler’s majority owner Fiat SpA planned to resume Jeep output in China and may eventually make all of the brand’s models there. The report stated that potential production in China would be in addition to output at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, where Chrysler is adding shifts and hiring more workers.

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