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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/25/13

Detroit auto plant produces five-millionth Jeep

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Message Patrick Martin
Source: WSWS

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An event last week, which was noted with little fanfare in the local media and entirely ignored in the national media, spotlights the social contradictions that underlie the bankruptcy of Detroit. Management at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant on Detroit's east side marked the occasion of the five millionth Jeep built at the facility with a brief ceremony. 

The Jefferson North plant has been producing SUVs bearing the Jeep nameplate for more than 21 years, since January 14, 1992. The plant has had its ups and downs, and it was even threatened with closure during the Chrysler bankruptcy in 2009. Nevertheless, it has averaged nearly 250,000 vehicles a year. In 2012, total production hit 291,403.

The cumulative output of five million vehicles is staggering. The figure is particularly remarkable when the economic value of this output is calculated. Assuming the average value of a Jeep produced at the plant is $40,000, five million vehicles would be worth $200 billion.

The gross profit on a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the staple of Jefferson North and the most lucrative vehicle in Chrysler's lineup, is estimated at $4,000 to $5,000. Five million vehicles would mean a gross profit between $20 billion and $25 billion in the course of the plant's two decades of operation.

Yet according to the universal consensus of the big business politicians and commentators in the corporate-controlled media, there is "no money" in Detroit! The resources simply do not exist, these seers claim, to meet the elementary requirements of civilized life in the Motor City: fire protection, street lighting, garbage collection, public education, health care, pensions for retired city workers.

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Patrick Martin writes for the World Socialist Website (wsws.org), a forum for socialist ideas & analysis & published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
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