News / USA

Detroit Auto Show Hints at US Auto Industry Recovery

Kane Farabaugh

The 2012 North American International Auto Show has opened in Detroit, Michigan.  The annual showcase is the auto industry's premier event to showcase new cars and technology. This year's show comes amid stronger sales for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. But despite new growth, analysts say business is not entirely back to normal as high unemployment nationwide continues to weigh on potential customers.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally's message at a launch event for the newly redesigned Ford Fusion sedan was direct: His company is profitable and growing.

"We are committed to 12,000 new jobs in our U.S. manufacturing facilities and we are on plan to have them filled by year end," said Mulally.  "We are also adding 3,000 new jobs in Asia-Pacific."

Ford's expansion comes after several years of profitability and marks a dramatic change in an industry that shed tens of thousands of jobs in the last decade. But, under new contracts ratified in 2011 with the United Auto Workers union (UAW), the "Big Three" Detroit manufacturers - Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler - are all bringing more people back to U.S. assembly lines.

"The fact that we were able to bargain to have all these jobs and investment here in this country I think is positive overall for all the manufacturing," said Bob King, President of the UAW.

King says some shuttered facilities in the U.S. will re-open under the new agreements and more cars will leave the U.S. for foreign buyers.

"For many years, there was not much export of vehicles to other parts of the world. All three of the companies will be doing major exporting of vehicles from the U.S.," added King.

Although it seems like good news for the American auto industry, in the wake of several government-sponsored bankruptcies, University of Michigan Economics Professor Bruce Pietrykowski says the turnaround is incomplete and that auto economics are in danger of faltering once again.

"Most Americans don't have the kind of disposable income that they had in 2000," said Pietrykowski.  "Most Americans are either unemployed or have seen their wages actually fall from when the auto industry was reaching its peak sales year."

Pietrykowski says what is fueling recent sales in the United States is pent-up demand by customers who delayed buying a new vehicle during the recession. He adds another barrier to further progress for the U.S. auto industry is directly linked to Wall Street and the housing market decline.

"Access to credit is severely constrained now, so Americans are less likely able to afford credit to buy the automobiles and are much less willing to extend themselves financially in order to purchase automobiles," added Pietrykowski.

Which is why at this year's Detroit Auto Show, automobile manufacturers are marketing new, smaller, more affordable and more fuel-efficient vehicles. They are trying to reach out to potential customers still waiting to buy a new vehicle, as they continue to weather an uncertain economic climate.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid