the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

The President Speaks About America's Auto Industry — the "Heartbeat of American Manufacturing"

Summary: 
President Obama stops by the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan to talk about the auto bailout, and the resurgence of America's auto industry over the past few years.

Watch on YouTube

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama stopped by the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan to talk about the auto bailout, and the resurgence of America's auto industry over the past few years.

"I wanted to come here to Michigan because this state proves no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher," he said.

President Obama explained how, a few years ago, almost 20 percent of auto workers were laid off, and 400,000 auto industry jobs vanished in the year before he took office. "And then as the financial crisis built," he added, "we faced what once seemed unimaginable when just two of the Big Three -- GM and Chrysler -- were on the brink of failure."


"This is the heartbeat of American manufacturing right here. And it was flat-lining. And we had a choice to make."


President Obama makes remarks at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

President Barack Obama makes remarks at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., Jan. 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Noting that the bailout wasn't a very popular decision at the time -- even in Michigan -- the President made clear that his job is not to just do the easy or popular things, but instead to do the right thing.

"And saving the American auto industry was the right thing to do," he said. "Betting on you was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do. And that bet has paid off for America, because the American auto industry is back."


"When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together, we get them going again. We don’t give up. We get up, we fight back. We come back stronger than before."


President Obama delivers remarks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., Jan. 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama added, however, that in exchange for the help provided throughout the bailout, we demanded responsibility.

"We said to the auto industry, you’ve got to change with the times," he said. "Plants retooled. Plants restructured. Labor and management worked together, settled their differences. Everybody put some skin in the game." As a result, some of the world's most high-tech, fuel-efficient, and well-designed cars are once again being designed, engineered, and forged right here in America.

President Obama sits in a Mustang with Ford CEO Mark Fields

President Barack Obama sits in a Mustang with Ford CEO Mark Fields during a tour of the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., Jan. 7, 2015. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford stands outside the car. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

The President also noted an important milestone we reached last month -- the official end of the rescue of the auto industry.

"The auto companies have now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my Administration invested in you," he said -- adding that the auto industry has created about 500,000 jobs over the past five years.


"Plants like this one built more than just cars -- they built the middle class in this country. And that was worth fighting for."


President Obama speaks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., Jan. 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


You should also see: