President Barack Obama proudly embraced his auto industry bailout today, telling a raucous labor audience that assertions by his Republican presidential challengers that union members profited from taxpayer-paid rescue are a "load of you know what."
With few exceptions, cars are so close on reliability that it's getting harder for companies to charge a premium. So automakers are trying to set themselves apart with sleek, cutting-edge exterior designs and more features such as luxurious interiors, multiple air bags, dashboard computers and touch-screen controls. "It's a great time to be a consumer," one auto pricing website executive said.
Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher
, February 20, 2012
General Motors earned its largest profit ever in 2011, two years after it nearly collapsed. Strong sales in the U.S. and China helped the carmaker turn a profit of $7.6 billion, beating its old record of $6.7 billion in 1997 during the pickup and SUV boom.
President Barack Obama wears his decision to rescue General Motors and Chrysler three years ago as a badge of honor, a move to save jobs in an industry that helped create the backbone of the middle class more than a half-century ago. If Mitt Romney, the son of a Detroit auto executive who later served as Michigan governor, wins the GOP nomination, expect to hear a lot about the car industry.
At a combative House hearing, Republicans questioned whether the government's partial ownership in the automaker created a conflict of interest for the Obama administration in the Chevrolet probe, which began after a test car caught fire in June, three weeks after a side-impact test.
GEM builds electric-powered vehicles. The business started in 1997 and was sold to Chrysler in 2000. Polaris bought GEM from Chrysler in April. Polaris plans to move the GEM manufacturing operation to its plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
In a report from the president's National Economic Council, officials said that figure is down from the 60 percent the Treasury Department originally estimated the government would lose following its $80 billion bailout of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009.
U.S. Treasury still owns 8.6 percent of Chrysler; feds unlikely to give all of it back The repayment — expected for weeks — is a huge step in the automaker's unlikely comeback. Chrysler went from a company that almost ran out of cash and survived a 2009 bankruptcy to one that is revamping its aging lineup and last quarter posted its first net profit in five years, a modest $116 million.
General Motors is almost certain to claim the title of world's biggest automaker this year, retaking the top spot from Toyota, which has been hurt by production problems since the Japanese earthquake and still can't escape the shadow of major safety recalls.
Sharon Silke Carty and Tom Krisher
, April 23, 2011
Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker.
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