Foreign OEMs put on a dog and pony show at the Washington D.C. auto show in anticipation of President Obama’s visit, but were ultimately snubbed when the President decided to check out some American iron instead.
Bloomberg reports that Honda, Toyota and other foreign car makers flew in executives from across the country and brought in their most fuel-efficient cars at the request of the White House. While Obama checked out a display of American cars, including a Dodge Dart, a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, a Chevrolet Silverado, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, a Ford C-Max Energi and a Chevrolet Malibu, execs from the foreign OEMs waited in a “bullpen” for a chance to talk to Obama, and answer his questions about their products.
But they never got face time with the Commander-In-Chief. While a Honda FCX and a Kia Optima Hybrid were on hand (brought in specially for the visit), Obama only paid attention to the American brands – and some of their less-than-efficient products. While Obama was ostensibly checking out the newest wares of the automakers that got bailout money, many of the foreign OEMs have invested a lot of money in American manufacturing (as much as $43 billion, according to a trade group known as The Association of Global Automakers) – an economic sector in dire need of rejuvenation, and one that surely adds more value than a Facebook IPO.