EDITORIAL: Keep Indiana's auto industry in overdrive

2013-08-09T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Keep Indiana's auto industry in overdrive nwitimes.com
August 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The news that Indiana is now second in the nation in terms of automotive gross domestic product is reason to cheer.

Automakers have made impressive investments in Indiana. Honda Civic hybrids once made in Japan are now produced in Greensburg, and all Toyota Highlanders are now made in Princeton.

Chrysler and General Motors are making major investments into plants in Kokomo and Fort Wayne, respectively, to improve vehicles' fuel efficiency.

The list goes on and on.

Automotive News estimates 1 in 10 new cars on the road today are made in Indiana. Cars have become the state's top export by value, according to the Indiana Business Research Center.

We recognize the auto industry is cyclical, but this news about the industry's surge in Indiana is worth celebrating.

It is also cause for remembering state Treasurer Richard Mourdock's ill-advised attempt to fight the Chrysler bankruptcy that was part of the auto industry bailout.

Early in the Great Recession, when the auto industry was on the rocks, General Motors and Chrysler were being pushed through prepackaged bankruptcy cases to shed legacy costs and become more nimble companies.

Mourdock, on behalf of the state's pension funds, fought the Chrysler bankruptcy. He lost the battle, although he claims moral victory.

Had he succeeded, though, Chrysler likely would have been shut down and its assets sold. Instead, the company emerged from bankruptcy and is spending $1.6 billion at its Kokomo factories so they will make more fuel-efficient transmissions.

We're glad to see Indiana, an early automotive pioneer, become an even bigger player in the auto industry. It's important to remember how that almost didn't come to pass, though, so Indiana is seen as friendly to the auto industry and not hostile.

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