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Chrysler exec swears at Donald Trump

Industry news

A top Chrysler executive had a very public, colourful go at Donald Trump on Thursday after the billionaire accused the auto giant of wanting to ship American jobs to China.

Trump had tweeted: “Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China - and will!”, repeating a claim made by Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney that Chrysler had already shot down in flames.

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President and CEO Dodge Car Brand Ralph V. Gilles takes a break during a presentation in Auburn Hills, Michigan in this November 4, 2009 file photo. Gilles, the head of product design for Chrysler, took real estate executive and television personality Donald Trump to task in a Tweet on November 1, 2012 for repeating a notion that Chrysler is shipping U.S. Jeep production to China, which the automaker refutes. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/Files (UNITED STATES TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

“You are full of shit!”

That was Chrysler product design vice-president Ralph Gilles’ direct response to Trump's post - a statement that immediately went viral with nearly 2000 retweets.

Gilles later apologised for his strongly-worded language.

“But lies are just that, lies,” he wrote.”Thanks for the support people.”

Trump has yet to respond, perhaps wisely.

Obama pushed through an $84 billion (R730 billion) bailout of the US auto industry in 2009 despite objections from Republicans - including Romney - and the sector has since recovered.

The future of the auto industry has since become a key issue in the Midwest, particularly in Ohio, a critical swing state in the November 6 vote that is home to many people working in the car-making sector.

Jeep, which belongs to the Chrysler Group, has a strong presence in Ohio.

Gilles's statement was the latest public rebuke to hit Twitter as more and more officials and politicians take to the social network - sometimes on the spur of the moment - to condemn people or statements.

In another election-related Twitter shout-out on Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry strongly criticised the US voting process,

saying: “The US electoral system is decentralised, fragmented and obsolete.”

prompting the US ambassador to respond forcefully.

To which US ambassador to Russsia Michael McFaul retorted: “US elections=competition.

“In pres. race, opposition candidate raised millions, debated incumbent, on TV, & outcome uncertain,” he tweeted. - AFP

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