Former government car-czar Steven Rattner told the International Motor Press Assn. that he is optimistic that U.S. light-vehicle sales will rise to 14 million units in 2011, climbing to 15 million in 2012.
Rattner, who is the author of the recent tell-all book “Overhaul,” said that in recent years, the total U.S. vehicle fleet has been shrinking as there are more older-model cars being scrapped than there are new cars sold. He said that in the long term, sales will revert to the 15 million-17 million units in normal (economic) times.
Until July 2010, Rattner had headed the Obama Admin.’s automotive task force, which he credits with saving 1 million industry jobs through the $82 billion federal bailout of Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. using loans from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Wall Street is said to be pleased with the recovery of Detroit’s Big Three and has released positive reports and recommendations to buy automotive stock. However, Chrysler’s stock has yet to become available to the public.
Rattner said that the economy now is on a sustained recovery but he pointed out that unemployment is not falling as quickly as he’d like. Rattner continues to insist however, that the auto industry’s comeback would not have been possible without the bailout of GM and Chrysler.
He believes that a total shutdown of the troubled carmakers would have forced many parts suppliers to cease operations and this would have led to the collapse of Ford Motor Co. as well as the foreign carmakers. [via Ward's Auto]