By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA – Terry McAuliffe — slammed by Republicans for touting a Chinese car plant — suffered a reversal when construction of the Inner Mongolia facility reportedly was halted.
As chairman of GreenTech Automotive, McAuliffe announced a joint venture to produce and sell vehicles in China two years ago. Watchdog.org posted video of McAuliffe showing off the dusty site in Ordos.
But the sprawling project stalled when Chinese government funding dried up, according to recent news reports. Construction is said to be on an “indefinite hold.”
As in the United States, GreenTech’s China venture leaned on government incentives.
Marianne McInerney, GreenTech’s vice president for sales and marketing, told Factcheck.org the company was awaiting a decision on whether promised government financial assistance will be restarted.
“Unfortunately, the city of Ordos experienced a significant economic downturn and the project was placed on hold,” GreenTech told Factcheck. “As soon as the (Ordos) city government provides the agreed upon incentive, work would restart.”
GreenTech has said the plant would assemble cars largely from “core components” made in the United States. The company said exporting complete U.S.-made vehicles to China is “economically infeasible” due to China’s high tariffs.
Whether the Ordos project succeeds, McAuliffe’s political opponents say he’s the loser.
“Only his company’s failures could halt Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to build a plant in China — taking jobs he promised Virginians overseas,” Tim Miller, executive director of the conservative America Rising PAC, told Watchdog.
GreenTech abruptly announced in April that McAuliffe had resigned as company chairman in December 2012 in order to make his second run for governor. He remains a major shareholder in the company, which has filed an $85 million libel lawsuit against Watchdog.
Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at email@example.com or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
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