"We cannot, and must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is like no other—it's an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success."
—President Obama, March 30th, 2009
The American auto industry was facing collapse in 2009 with millions of jobs at stake. President Obama made the decision—at the time, politically unpopular—to not let the auto industry just go bankrupt. He extended emergency rescue loans to GM and Chrysler, helping to save 1.4 million jobs up and down the supply chain. The auto rescue “totally reshaped a bloated and dysfunctional industry, forcing sacrifices from all, into something that now looks sensible and sustainable." In the years since the rescue, American auto companies have made a steady comeback—repaying their loans, making record profits, adding over 200,000 jobs while planning for hundreds of thousands more, and regaining their place as leaders in the industry.
It’s important to note that as Detroit struggled in 2009, each of the GOP candidates turned their back on the industry, calling the rescue a “mistake” that would leave the industry worse off than if it went through bankruptcy. But as President Obama told Chrysler workers in 2010: “Don’t bet against America. Don’t bet against the American auto industry. Don’t bet against American ingenuity. Don’t bet against the American worker. Don’t bet against us.”