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Springsteen, Jeep, a Five-Pointed Red Star and China — The Symbolism was not Very Subtle

One of the most “talked about” Super Bowl commercials was the one with Bruce Springsteen playing a Kansas cowboy rubbing some dirt in his hands and driving on straight roads across a flat barren landscape.

The spot ends with an outline of the continental United States — sorry Alaska and Hawaii — and text that appears with the words, “To The ReUnited * States of America.” But where I have put an asterisk, the commercial has a five-pointed Red Star that is taller than the capital letters in the text on either side.

The final image from the commercial reveals that it was paid for by Jeep.

That would be Stellantis-owned Jeep as of January 2021.

Stellantis is a newly formed multinational automobile manufacturer which is the result of a merger of French automaker Groupe PSA and Italian-owned Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles.

The five-pointed Red Star has long been an international symbol of communism and/or socialism. It is banned as a political symbol in some former Warsaw Pact countries because it is said to represent a totalitarian political ideology.

But Jeep as a brand and a vehicle has a long connection to China that began in 1983 with the first-ever Sino-US joint automobile manufacturing agreement between Chrysler and BAIC — the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. The Jeep Cherokee was the first foreign automobile mass-produced in China after it opened itself to Western investment in 1979. But even before that, another Chinese-made SUV bearing the “Jeep” name had been manufactured there since 1966. Modeled after a Soviet “Jeep,” it was a favorite ride in the CCP officials in the 1970s and 1980s (including Chairman Mao). “Jeep” was one of the most potent social symbols of the burgeoning China consumer class during the two decades of social revolution and transformation from 1980 to 2000.

BAIC-Jeep later evolved into Beijing Benz-Daimler Chrysler company following the acquisition of Chrysler by Mercedes Daimler-Benz in 1998. But when the Daimler-Chrysler alliance broke down in 2009, the manufacturing agreement with its Chinese Partner ended, and along with it the manufacture of Jeep vehicles in China.

After Fiat acquired Chrysler Group LLC in Dec. 2014, Jeep officially returned to China and began building factories there to produce Chinese-made Jeep SUVs with a new partner, Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group (GAIG).

But the Fiat-Chrysler venture has struggled to meet production and sales goals in the Chinese market. The same is true of a Chinese joint venture auto manufacturing venture involving Groupe PSA.

So both European companies which combined to form Stellantis have Chinese manufacturing and sales components that are struggling to find success.

And now we get a Jeep commercial in the Super Bowl with an iconic American music superstar and the Five-Pointed Red Star symbol of communism laid over the heartland of the United States — right on the “Middle Ground”.

Conspiracy theory stuff — I know. I’m going to start my own CAnon channel on 8Chan.

Why not a blue star — or a white star? Why is the Red Star symbol taller than the capital letters on both sides making up the name of the “ReUnited States of America”? Why does the Red Star intersect and divide the name?

Why have a star at all?

Go to Google and search for images of “Jeep”. Maybe you can find a Red Star in there somewhere, but I couldn’t.

Is there a connection between Jeep and China that makes the imagery employed meaningful? Well, there is this:

Stellantis’ leadership will be hoping the newly merged group can tackle some of the specific weaknesses that affected [Fiat Chysler] and [Group PSA] prior to the agreement.

Most pressing is the group’s weakness in China — the world’s largest market and vital growth engine for any international auto player. Despite continued efforts from both partners, neither has been able to establish a strong sales base in the country or capture the market’s imagination with a stand-out model. This weakness is increasingly exacerbated by the rapid pace of improvement shown by China’s home-grown automakers, undercutting many foreign automakers.

Someone at Stellantis thought the placement of an oversized five-pointed Red Star in the middle of an outline of the United States was good marketing in that ad.

Especially if your goal was to sell more Chinese manufactured Jeep Cherokees to Chinese consumers.

China is not our friend.

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