Even after Ed Niedermeyer put on coat and tie as proper attire for our Via Dolorosa to GM’s towers, GM’s Über-PR Chief Selim Bingol did not like him. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” said Bingol, frustrating my naive attempts at fence-mending. Instead of being sent to Gitmo, one of the terrorists writes frequent op-ed pieces at the Wall Street Journal, causing Bingol to go on the counter-attack.
“Edward Niedermeyer’s suggestion that China is the ultimate beneficiary of the U.S. auto rescue doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking” writes Bingol in a letter to the Journal today. This in response to an op-ed piece penned by Niedermeyer in the Journal last week where Niedermeyer writes that China ” is disproportionately benefiting from the bailout of America’s erstwhile automotive icon.” Which is slightly different than “ultimate beneficiary,” but Bingol is paid to spin, and he is doing his job.
Wisely, Bingol side-steps the fact that GM will be creating 6,000 new jobs in China, while “since 2005 the number of workers it employs in North America has fallen by 76,000,” as Niedermeyer wrote.
Instead, Bingol focuses on what is more important than jobs at GM, money: “The $11 billion in capital that will be spent in China by 2016 is coming out of our joint ventures rather than Detroit and is far less than the approximately $16 billion in capital GM will invest in the U.S. over that time.” Commenters at the WSJ are not buying it, arguing that instead of spending the money in China, one could spend it here.
Bingol also says that Niedermeyer’s “speculation over the possible loss of GM jobs or technology to China is simple fear mongering, offered without evidence because it doesn’t exist.”
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and her colleague Carl Levin will be relieved to hear that from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Debbie and Carl missed no opportunity to complain about jobs and technology making off to China. They should (but probably won’t) be glad to hear that it is not true.