White House Optimistic on Auto Industry’s Comeback
With 115,000 new jobs and Chrysler’s $7.5 billion recent loan repayment to the government, the White House is encouraged by the auto industry’s comeback.
President Barack Obama traveled to Ohio Friday to visit Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park, which employs more than 1,700 workers producing Jeep Wranglers, Jeep Liberties and Dodge Nitros. Two years ago, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.
On June 1, 2009, General Motors also filed for bankruptcy and received $30 billion in support from the federal government to stay in business.
Prior to both bankruptcies, the auto industry shed more than 400,000 jobs, according to the White House. Since both auto manufacturers emerged from bankruptcy, 115,000 jobs have been added, the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998, the data showed.
Last week Chrysler repaid its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury, bringing the total amount taxpayer dollars returned to $10.6 billion, according to the White House. On Thursday, the Treasury Department sealed an agreement to sell the government’s stake in Chrysler to Fiat, an Italian auto manufacturer, for $500 million.
In a May 31 Washington Post op-ed, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote: “What happens next for Chrysler and GM is up to their executives, managers and workers — just as with any other company. We cannot guarantee their success, and at some point they may stumble. But we’ve given them a better shot. The choice to stop the American automobile industry from unraveling was the right one.”