"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
Michigan knows all too well that in 2009, the auto industry was facing collapse. Employees in Sterling Heights left factories that were slated for permanent closure. Obama made the decision to not turn his back on workers here in Michigan, and extended emergency rescue loans to GM and Chrysler, helping to save over 1 million jobs, in the factories and at the small businesses that they supported.
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 our region 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.”
As Mitt Romney makes a speech at Ford Field today, we know that communities that surround our region's auto assembly plants and technical centers are coming back in a big way thanks to President Obama – but we’ve still got a long way to go. What kind of progress have you seen in your community? Share your story with us.