Joe Biden says US government won its gamble on the US auto industry

Article by Anita Panait, on January 19, 2014

United States Vice President Joe Biden said the government has won its gamble on the US auto industry. "We bet on American ingenuity, we bet on you and we won," he remarked at the Detroit auto show. Biden's visit to the show came as the U.S. Treasury recently completed selling its entire stake in General Motors Co., thereby ending so-called "Government Motors" era that followed when the federal bailed out the carmaker.

Chrysler was also a beneficiary of the bailout. According to Biden, the vehicles exhibited at the 2014 show reflect the sacrifices made during the auto industry's restructuring in the recession, Biden said. Truly, the 2014 Detroit Auto Show today is a different place than five years ago when the Detroit 3 – GM, Ford and Chrysler – were struggling to survive.

Back then, GM and Chrysler had to be bailed out by the federal government and undergo bankruptcy reorganization. Ford, on the other, barely escaped bankruptcy but had to undergo a painful restructuring.

"What a difference five years makes," Biden remarked at the show. "Everything from the mood here at this auto show in 2009 to what you faced back then -- literally the likely collapse of the automobile industry."

After his speech, Biden had a tour of the show floor, meeting with new GM chief executive Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Biden then sat in a redesigned Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan and in a Ford F-150 and smiled at the new Ford Mustang.

Topics: united states

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