Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Detroit on Monday, kicking off the opening of the North American International Auto Show and highlighting the resurgence of the American auto industry. Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added 170,000 jobs—the best period of job growth for the industry in more than a decade.
When President Obama took office, the American auto industry was shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands and GM and Chrysler faced the possibility of liquidation – which would have caused at least 1 million more jobs to be lost. The President made the tough choice to help provide the auto industry the temporary support it needed to grow and prosper.
Today, GM and Chrysler have repaid their government loans, and the “Big Three” automakers-- GM, Ford, and Chrysler-- are all adding jobs, generating profit, and investing in their U.S. facilities. Auto sales climbed in December for the seventh consecutive month and GM, Chrysler, and Ford saw their market share increase to over 47 percent in 2011, the second straight year that Detroit gained market share against their foreign competitors, something that had not previously happened since 1995.
This industry and our economy have a long way yet to go to repair the damage from this recession and return to full health. But the distance these companies and the auto industry have traveled over the past two years is a bright spot on the road to recovery.