There is no economic sector in Ohio more important than the auto industry and no issue that provides more of a political contrast this year in this swing state than candidates’ views on what the industry needs to prosper. President Obama and US Sen. Sherrod Brown support the auto rescue. Obama challenger Mitt Romney and Brown rival Josh Mandel do not.
A new independent study shows the auto industry is in the midst of a strong revival and government regulation is the main reason.
The White House is expected to formally unveil new auto emission requirements this month for model years 2012-2016 but the existing standards have already created a new industries and new jobs. The new 54.5 mph standard for 2025 has given the auto makers the certainty needed to invest in changes that will boost mileage and increase jobs. Ohio is leading the way for safer clearner cars.
In Warren, the GM Lordstown plant is running three shifts to assemble the Chevy Cruze – which gets 42 miles per gallon with its EcoCruze model.
Akron has been in-sourcing jobs, particularly from German firms wooed by cutting edge auto-related research being conducted at the University of Akron. The latest firm, Rochling, makes grills and other parts that make vehicles more aerodynamic.
In Leipsic Pro-Tech Coating is making lighter but stronger steel, which makes cars safer to operate and cheaper to drive.
Across Ohio, firms are making better engines, tires, coatings and other parts that are exceeding today’s standards and preparing for tomorrow’s. (To learn more visit http://www.drivinggrowth.org/)
All these innovations come as Romney and Mandel continue to criticize the auto rescue – but the rescue resulted in better-run companies that are now focusing on making products that consumers want to buy – which translates into new innovations and more jobs.
Romney famously wrote a New York Times column title “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” — and accused President Obama of inappropriately protecting unions. But the auto rescue helped non-union employees such as those employed by Honda because the automakers share many suppliers. And if GM’s suppliers went bankrupt, Honda could not make many of its cars.
Mandel’s position on the auto rescue is even stranger. He told the Youngstown Vindicator that the auto rescue did not work and he is developing his own plan.
If it did not work, can he explain this?