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Obama Touts US Auto Industry Comeback

American Government Topics:  President Barack Obama

Obama Touts US Auto Industry Comeback

VOA News
July 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling the $60 billion bailout of the country’s auto industry a success, telling workers in the central state of Michigan that U.S. carmakers are “coming back.”

Mr. Obama toured a Chrysler plant in the city of Detroit Friday as part of an effort to highlight his administration’s progress on economic issues.

He said investment in the industry has saved more than 1 million jobs, and that for the first time since 2004 the top three U.S. car companies — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler — are operating at a profit.

The U.S. president also said the industry has created 55,000 jobs since June of last year, the strongest job growth the American auto industry has seen in a decade. But Mr. Obama also said many of the 334,000 jobs eliminated after GM and Chrysler declared bankruptcy been lost for good.

The president called for new government investment to create jobs and opportunities for the manufacturing sector, and praised the automakers for investing in fuel-efficient technologies.

Mr. Obama also spoke at a GM plant in Michigan Friday, where he drove the company’s new battery-powered car, the Chevrolet Volt.

GM said it will increase production of the Volt by 50 percent next year because of what it called strong interest in the vehicle.

Unlike traditional gas-powered cars, the Volt can also run on electricity, going about 65 kilometers on a single charge. It can then use a combination of its electric engine and its gasoline engine to travel another 480 kilometers.

GM is investing $700 million in the Volt’s development.

The company has already repaid a nearly $7 billion emergency loan to the U.S. government, but still owes the government billions of dollars more.

The government will be able to recoup some of that money when GM starts selling shares of the company to investors again. Officials say they expect that to happen in the next several months. Some information in this story was provided by AP.

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