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More good news for the auto bailout

On a day when we heard about disappointing job numbers, the Obama administration got some good economic news for car sales numbers. The news was particularly good for Chrysler, which had another huge month with 30% year-over-year growth in May.

It marked a 12th consecutive month of sales gains of more than 20% for the company, which has gained about two percentage points in U.S. market share to nearly 11%. Total sales were 150,041.

And it comes as Chrysler prepares later this month to roll out its key new car introduction for the year, the Fiat-based Dodge Dart, above, that it aims to get the company back into the small-car game. Dart is an enlarged, Americanized version of Fiat’s sporty Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

All the company’s brands — Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat — posted year-over-year gains in May. Fiat was up most, 128% to a record month as the tiny 500 finally gains some traction.

But the Chrysler brand was heroic — up 81%, as the 200 sedan zoomed 87% and the big 300 rocketed 140% for its best May since 2007.

The administration would be wise to emphasize this news at a time when the unemployment rate is getting plenty of attention.

  

Chrysler keeps hiring

The news from Chrysler and the US auto industry keeps getting better. Here are some updates:

-it plans to add 1,100 jobs at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit by to build a diesel version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee

-In 2011, Chrysler’s sales increased 26.2% — the most of any major automaker

-Last month, Chrysler announced plans to reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant to build the 2013 SRT Viper. That plant was idled in 2010. About 150 will be employed at that plant.

What we’re seeing is further evidence that the auto bailout was a huge success. It’s contributing to the overall rebound of the US manufacturing industry.

Also, Chrysler is making better cars. Sergio Marchionne is a great CEO. He saved Fiat and now he’s doing the same with Chrysler.

  

Chrysler reports profit

The Chrysler comeback continues as it posted 3rd quarter profits.

Chrysler Group said today it made a profit of $212 million in the third quarter, well up from a loss of $84 million a year earlier.

The automaker, majority-owned by Italy’s Fiat, said its revenue for the quarter was $13.1 billion, up 19% from a year ago. It had $9.5 billion in cash at the end of the quarter, down from $10.2 billion a year earlier.

The earnings announcement comes just a day after Chrysler announced a new contract with the United Auto Workers union, last of the Detroit 3 to do so. That contract won approval of just 54.75% of UAW members, and a majority of the skilled-trades workers opposed it.

This is further evident that the Obama Administration’s auto bailout has worked. Chrysler is now a healthy company, and the auto industry is helping to drive the US economy.

  

Chrysler repays $7.5 billion to U.S. government

With the announcement today that Chrysler will repay its $7.5 billion bailout loan it received from the U.S. government, the auto bailout has reached another milestone.

To get out of its credit fix, Chrysler has lined up loans of $4.3 billion and will issue $3.2 billion in bonds. Italy’s Fiat, which controls Chrysler, will kick in $1.3 billion and get 46% ownership.

Private money has stepped up, thus validating the approach taken by the Obama administration. It’s also a significant victory for all the employees at Chrysler who worked through this difficult period and came out with new versions of vehicles like the Dodge Charger pictured above and the new Chrysler 200.

  

GM plans huge investment in U.S. auto plants

The U.S. auto business continues its spectacular rebound from its near-death experience. Sure, there’s a long way to go, but this is excellent news and shows a commitment to invest in America.

Growing demand for General Motors Co. cars and trucks is pushing the Detroit automaker to add thousands of jobs and spend $2 billion to upgrade plants across the country.

GM CEO Daniel Akerson confirmed Tuesday that the company will create or preserve more than 4,000 jobs in eight states by investing heavily in 17 facilities nationwide. So far, the company has only announced millions of dollars in upgrades at plants in Toledo and Bowling Green, Ky. It is expected to release specifics about other plants during the next few months.

While much of the planned spending hinges on winning state and local tax incentives, the company says it needs to boost production and resume hiring to meet rising consumer demand.

The U.S. economy and job market needs a boost like this. Hopefully this will continue.

  

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