News & Resources

Treasury secretary says government intervention helped U.S. automakers survive

May 06, 2011 Brian Bradley

In a recent speech in front of the Detroit Economic Club, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the Obama administration had made the right call when it infused the U.S. auto industry with government money. He pointed to the fact that the so-called Big Three Detroit automakers, General Motors, Chrsyler, and Ford, all recorded a profit for the first time since 2004. He also said that since June 2009, when GM and Chrysler were on their last legs, the sector has added 90,000 jobs. The swift and decisive action by President Obama has led to the turn around in the industry, and if he hadn't provided government support, the results could have been devastating, he contended. "So when the President took office, he had a choice," Geithner said. "He could stand aside and hope these fires would burn themselves out. He could debate the options for months and wait for political consensus to emerge. Or he could act." More people have been gaining access to auto industry financing, a sign that the economy is on its way to recovery. Chrysler was among the biggest winners, according to a recent release, reporting a net income of $116 million in the first quarter of 2011, after experiencing a net loss of $197 million in the first quarter of 2010.