This story has been updated.
The Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Wednesday drove herself into a bit of ditch — not literally, but politically — by claiming that her new government-issued SUV signals her support for American workers.
Problem is, the SUV is made in Canada with Canadian-made parts.
Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Solis said “The Bullet” — her nickname for the silver, lightweight Chevrolet Equinox — is designed to “send a signal that we are for supporting our American workers, [and] American made products.” (See the video above.)
But veteran Washington whisperer Paul Bedard made a few phone calls and discovered that General Motors assembles the vehicle at two Canadian plants. Demand is so high for the Equinox that it’s hiring more workers — in Canada.
In Solis’s defense, GM profits are of course returned to and enjoyed in the United States. And in today’s global economy, it’s almost impossible to determine how “American” a car is.
“Most cars built in the U.S., for example, are assembled using at least some parts that come from somewhere else,” Patrick Olsen, editor in chief of Cars.com told USA Today in June.
“Modern automobile manufacturing is a global industry and General Motors is a company whose reach extends far beyond the boundaries of the United States,” Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio said in response to Solis’s comments. “Cars assembled here in the U.S. are made from globally sourced parts, just as cars assembled in other countries utilize parts made in America.
“Not only is the Equinox the second fastest selling SUV in America – a good sign for the overall health of the U.S. auto industry – 66 percent of its parts were made in the United States. That’s up from about 50 percent just a few years ago.”
True, but Solis’s statement couldn’t have come at a worse time: The Obama administration official chiefly responsible for worrying about American jobs and the American worker brags about a product made by American workers when it clearly isn’t. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is stagnant, American manufacturing is struggling, and Solis’s boss, President Obama, is trying to schedule a big speech on job creation.
Will Solis’s comments cause a bit of a detour for the White House? Should she find a new ride? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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