Well, just before Mr. Vines left the office today he released another statement on Chrysler's media blog in which he reiterates his offense at these advertisements and also clarifies his previous statement.
Perhaps he realized the air of contradiction that hung around his earlier words after remembering that his company is now a multi-nation, and he goes on to correctly call DaimlerChrysler a "German-American" company.
It was odd to see Mr. Vines positioned in the Detroit News article as if he were a representative of the American domestics (likely more the author's doing than Vine's), as Chrysler has continually reminded us time and again that it's no longer a part of the Big Three.
Check out his full remarks after the jump...
Posted May 12, 2006, 03:30 PM by Jason Vines
Category: The Fire Hose
Back in 1963 when President John Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and memorably intoned, "Ich bin ein Berliner" not one German citizen witnessing the event really believed JFK was suddenly one of them. Of course, all he meant was that he felt at one with residents of that divided city. It was an honest proclamation of support, and not a revelation by JFK that he was suddenly a German guy.
Now, more than 40 years later, auto companies headquartered in Japan are shouting "Watashi wa amerikajin desu." that's Japanese for "I'm an American." Well, no...they're not, and I'm offended by their fiction. They certainly contribute to the American economy by operating factories, employing thousands of workers and doing business with many North American suppliers. But unlike JFK who proclaimed himself a figurative Berliner to show his support in a time of crisis, the Japanese are wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes.
They should be proud of their heritage, just as we are proud of DaimlerChrysler's German genealogy as part of a multi-national company. If we're asked what kind of company we are, we proudly say we're German-American. The main reason for that is it's the truth, not an attempt to win customers under false pretenses.
If we're going to win over a customer, and maintain their loyalty, it will be because our products have superior styling, quality, performance and value, not because of what flag we wave.
So I'm calling on foreign automakers to do the same. Sell your products based on how well they stack up to the competition. Be proud of the nation where your headquarters is based and don't insult consumers by falsely rallying around a flag you don't salute.
By the way, I said this same stuff when I was at Nissan. I think you can still find it on the web.
Have a great weekend.