Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect sales total for FCA. It sold 2.2 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2016.
In an effort to increase my efficiency, allow me to preemptively respond on Fiat Chrysler’s behalf to the Twitter attack that hasn’t yet come -- but probably soon will -- from President-elect Donald Trump.
Since I don’t know exactly what he’s going to say (Let’s admit it: I have a lot of company in that regard), allow me to share some basic facts:
Yes, FCA imported 386,000 vehicles from Mexico into the U.S. in 2016, second only to General Motors’ 438,000 vehicles, according to CNBC. That’s about 16 percent of the 2.2 million vehicles it sold in the U.S. in 2016.
Yes, FCA last year ended production of the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot in Illinois, and will replace both in 2017 with a new Compass built in Toluca, Mexico. Production starts at the end of this month. The Illinois plant will be retrofitted to build Jeep Cherokees, which makes room in Toledo, Ohio, for more Jeep Wrangler production.
Yes, FCA makes all of its heavy-duty Ram pickups and its regular-cab Ram 1500 pickups in its plant in Saltillo, Mexico, and ships them into the U.S.
Yes, FCA builds all of its full-size Ram ProMaster vans -- including the thousands it has already sold to the United States Postal Service -- in Saltillo, and ships ’em up, two at a time, on the back of flatbed trucks. And finally…
Yes, FCA employs about 11,600 people in its Mexican assembly, stamping, and engine plants, according to the automaker’s website.
So, with all that said, and lest anyone think I’m being too positive, consider this:
No, FCA has no plans to build another plant in Mexico.
No, FCA’s employment in the U.S. hasn’t shrunk, it’s grown, at least since its 2009 bankruptcy. Of the 84,600 employees the company says it has on the continent, about 62,000 of them are in the U.S. Oh, and almost all of FCA’s U.S. employees are concentrated in the industrial Midwest that won Trump the election.
No, FCA doesn’t owe the government any money from its bankruptcy. It paid off the high-interest loans the government gave it early -- way early -- back in 2011. There was more than a billion dollars that was given to the old Chrysler pre-Chapter 11 by the Bush administration that wasn’t paid back, because it was lumped in with what became OldCarCo’s other creditors.
No, a proposed “Border Tax” aimed at discouraging vehicle importation from Mexico won’t hurt FCA nearly as much as it will hurt its dealers and its customers. FCA still has more debt than it does cash. It can’t and won’t absorb a “border tax,” or move its Mexican operations to the U.S. Instead, it would simply pass that tax along to its dealers and customers, taking money out of their pockets and cutting sales.
No, FCA is not an American company. It’s not even an Italian company anymore. It’s Dutch, or maybe English, depending on whose laws you choose to recognize. And it’s the automaker which -- because of how far behind it is on complying with now-endangered fuel economy standards -- stood to gain the most from Trump’s election in November. That’s probably the main reason FCA’s stock (NYSE: FCAU) has risen 42 percent since then.
Of course, none of this will matter when the president-elect aims his next automotive tweets beyond Ford, GM and Toyota.
Fact and logic seem a futile response.
But there are countless emojis on Twitter that are far more direct. And appropriate.
Just use your imagination.