Obama Snubs Foreign OEMs At D.C. Auto Show

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
obama snubs foreign oems at d c auto show

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.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Feb 03, 2012

    "Obama snubs..." What an elitist, checking out a hot Ford Mustang. Boy, you guys are getting really good at this.

  • Type57SC Type57SC on Feb 03, 2012

    Sounds like someone junior at the white house screwed up if they asked for oems to bring in cars. Having pictures smiling in front of fuel cell cars after cutting hydrogen funding is not good, and really, why bother seeing the also-ran Optima hybrid. There's nothing special about that one.

    • Chicago Dude Chicago Dude on Feb 03, 2012

      No way. The Honda FCX made the auto show rounds during the Bush Administration. It became available to the general public during the Bush Administration. It is so unimportant to Honda that they haven't been showing it at auto shows in years. Nobody at the White House asked Honda to bring an old car for him to look at. Obama wanted to see something new, and Honda didn't do it.

  • Jimal Jimal on Feb 03, 2012

    If the Administration invited/requested the presence of the foreign OEMs only to snub then then it was a dick move. The rest of the comments here? Five minutes of my life, gone. Never to return.

  • Carguy Carguy on Feb 03, 2012

    I'm sure that had he spent some time with the foreign manufacturers, the headlines would have been "Obama the elitist pals around with foreign cars". You can't please everyone - and certainly not those that have decided that Obama is wrong no matter what he does.

    • Jimal Jimal on Feb 03, 2012

      +1. I started writing something along these lines but about half through I decided that I just don't care anymore. Fully all the insight the B&B have on topics automotive, when things turn political the quality of the commentary drops to that of a CNN.com or the comments on your local newspaper's website.