This morning, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank delivered remarks at the National Automobile Dealers Association Legislative Conference. In her remarks, the Acting Secretary discussed how the Obama administration is working to strengthen the U.S. automobile industry, grow the economy and create jobs.
New car sales are beating expectations, having just seen the best August sales since 2009—nearly 1.3 million cars and trucks were sold last month. So far this year, sales for new cars are up 20 percent and sales for light-duty trucks are up more than 10 percent. Blank noted that, compared to the lowest point in 2009, the number of people employed in auto dealerships has risen by more than 85,000.
She also highlighted Cash for Clunkers, a $3 billion investment that stimulated our economy at a critical time when we needed consumers to go ahead and buy new cars, instead of holding back. Not only did Cash for Clunkers help auto dealers get through a tough patch, but it also helped auto manufacturers and suppliers who were struggling to keep their workers employed and put safer, cleaner cars on the road.With regard to the auto industry as a whole, Dr. Blank highlighted how last year:
- GM got back on top as the No.1 automaker in the world, with some of the highest profits in its history;
- Chrysler grew faster in America than any other car company;
- Ford rolled out plans to invest billions in U.S. plants and factories, and bring thousands of jobs back home.
She also highlighted how strength in the auto industry has helped contribute to 30 straight months of U.S. job growth, creating 4.6 million new private-sector jobs.
To build on this momentum, Acting Secretary Blank outlined additional steps we can take to ensure America’s long-term competitiveness. She highlighted Recovery Act investments that have aided the work taking place at Commerce's National Institute for Standards and Technology, including their Center for Automotive Lightweighting. She also mentioned the importance of investments in education and infrastructure.