Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Biden at Detroit Auto Show: 'We bet on you, and we won'

Vice President Joe Biden says the US government bet on American automakers—and won.

Biden touted the auto industry’s comeback during a stop at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show Thursday.

Biden said Detroit’s automakers have come a long way since GM and Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009.

And he said that resurgence proves the government-backed restructuring worked—and saved the country from a much deeper recession.

Biden said that difficult restructuring has once again made “American cars and trucks competitive in every market in the world”—but he acknowledged that it was painful.

“Workers paid a real price,” Biden said. “They accepted plant closures, benefit cuts, wage cuts. And everyone knows these companies wouldn’t be in existence today without all that cumulative sacrifice made by everyone, from car dealers to UAW members.”

Calling himself a “car junkie,” Biden said it would have been wrong to let such an “iconic American industry” fail.

He also sounded optimistic notes about the future of American manufacturing in general. ““We still have the best engineers, tech people, entrepreneurial instincts…of any country,” Biden said.

“This is going be the American century of manufacturing. Mark my words. Not just in automobiles, but in manufacturing coming back to America.”

Biden toured the auto show floor, and shared brief chats with the CEO’s of all three Detroit automakers.

Biden also had a private dinner with Detroit mayor Mike Duggan, where he reiterated that Detroit won’t get the type of federal help that GM and Chrysler did to shepherd them through bankruptcy.

Duggan said the two discussed “strategy,” and Biden said the Obama administration would try to help the city in other ways.