Planet Gore

SUVs Save Chrysler

Chrysler is making money hand over fist. No thanks to Barack Obama.

The Fiat-owned Detroit automaker saw sales balloon an industry-leading 27 percent in October. But if its bosses had followed the advice of the self-acclaimed Auto-Expert-in-Chief, they would be in the tank — dragging taxpayer loans down with them.

When Obama handed Chrysler’s keys to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne in 2009, the president proclaimed that green jobs were the future and that the Italian must bring the tiny, 40 mpg-highway, green Fiat 500 to America as part of the deal. Sergio obeyed — but he also did his market research and learned that Americans want SUVs. He began rolling out new trucks with abandon.

Who was right? In October, Obama’s Fiat 500 sold 1,965 units. Chrysler’s Dodge and Jeep truck divisions sold 75,000.

Fortunately, CEO Sergio is a quicker study than President Obama. The great irony of the Obama presidency is that his lone claim to fame — the rescue of the U.S. auto industry — is succeeding in spite of him. UAW workers are back on the line again and producing union dues for the Democratic Party because Detroit is making gas-guzzling, non-EPA-mpg-mandate-attaining, Obama-despised trucks.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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