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Regional rivalry hurts U.S. economy

by Bill Cawthon on

Wilbur Ross, Jr., 72, chairman of International Automotive Components Group, says American needs a real industrial policy that would boost America’s ability to compete in the international market without destroying well-paying jobs.

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ross said, “We need a whole industrial development plan. The reality is that industrial development in the U.S. is largely done at the state and local level, and as a result you’ve had this peculiar phenomenon of Southern states spending tens of billions of dollars converting $35-an-hour jobs in the Northeast and the Midwest into $17 an hour jobs in Alabama and Mississippi.” Ross addded, “So, I find it very disappointing that we don’t have an overall industrial strategy because it isn’t just the car industry that’s having growing competition from abroad — it’s every manufacturer.”

Ross whom Forbes lists among the world’s billionaires and the 400 Richest Americans, made his fortune restructuring failing companies. He created IACG from the European operations of Lear, Collins & Aikman, Oxford Automotive and Safety Components International.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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