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China is the largest producer of cars in the world. They produce almost entirely for the enormous domestic market, but their future plans for the export market are significant. Even assuming China were to export only 10 percent of what it produces, the risk we face in our home markets is enormous. We cannot afford to be unprepared for the ascent of China, reassuring ourselves of our invincibility. The excuse that we did not understand or that we underestimated the scale will serve no purpose. Rather we need to continue to work to make our industrial base more competitive, because the day of reckoning is inevitably coming.
It is true that the Italians have proven thin-skinned about S&P downgrading of Italy, but at least Marchionne didn't thump his chest and proclaim that Chrysler would always be a Triple-A carmaker.
Now that our esteemed President is a late convert to American exceptionalism, he should point out to Marchionne that Detroit —just like America—has always been and will always be invincible.