U.S. President Barack Obama says his move to provide troubled U.S. automakers a rescue package during his first year in office is a key reason why the American auto industry has greatly rebounded, benefiting workers and the economy.
After a trip to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Wednesday, the president highlighted the industry’s remarkable comeback in the last seven years.
“The beating heart of American manufacturing was flatlining,”the president told a gathering of the United Auto Workers in Detroit on Wednesday.
“We had a choice to make,” the president said. “I placed my bet on you.”
The Obama administration provided financial assistance to failing car manufacturers Chrysler and General Motors, despite strong opposition from many Americans and lawmakers.
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“The industry retooled and it restructured. Management and labor got together to settle your differences,” the president told the auto workers.
The White House said the industry climbed from a 27-year low in auto sales in 2009 to a record high in sales in 2015.
“Today factories are humming, business is booming, the American auto industry is all the way back!” he told a cheering crowd.
Obama toured Detroit to experience firsthand the progress that has been made by the American auto industry, the city of Detroit and its citizens, the White House said.
After having lunch with residents and local officials, the president went to the auto show where he looked at some of the newest car and truck models and heard about the latest in vehicle technology and engineering.
He visited an exhibit for ZF, a major automotive supplier that manufactures high-tech devices like sensors, processors and actuators.
The president stopped at the General Motors display, where he viewed the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, an all-electric vehicle.
“Fantastic. That’s a nice-looking car,” Obama said as he approached the Bolt.
At the Ford station, he looked at the latest model Ford Escape Hybrid. At the Chrysler exhibit, the president was briefed on the new Pacifica minivan, a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Obama veered off the tour slightly when he spotted a bright yellow, 2017 Chevrolet Corvette sports car.
"That one is juiced up a little more. That looks all right," the president remarked.
The stop is part of Obama’s post State of the Union tour of the nation to mark the progress the country has made during his time in office, and look ahead to challenges and opportunities, according to the White House.