AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) – Mitt Romney must have been smoking something when he said the U.S. auto industry could be restructured without financial help from Uncle Sam. So says Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne of the Michigan native and ex-Masschusetts governor, who announced Thursday that he’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
On CNN, Marchionne was reminded of a 2008 op-ed column in which Romney urged the federal government to force automakers into a “managed bankruptcy.” Marchionne replied, “Whoever told you that is smoking illegal material,” and that the government had no choice but to step in.
In his op-ed, Romney wrote: “It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. … The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.”
During the interview Marchionne said that government support was pivotal to the successful rebounding of then faltering Chrysler.
Romney’s late father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, headed American Motors Corp. before getting into politics.