According to people with direct knowledge of the president’s trip, Barack Obama is going to visit a Ford Motor plant in Wayne this week, on Wednesday, as he signals the auto industry’s comeback from the dark days of 2008-2009.
The auto industry’s turnaround has been one of the brightest spots in the overall US economy recovery and now the president’s expected visit looks to be heading to Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant, where the Dearborn-based automaker produces small, fuel-efficient cars. This could be one of the last in a long list of auto plant tours and speeches by Obama that started back during the presidential campaign – when the sector was on the bring of collapse. The factory visit is also part of a multi city tour that Obama embarked upon, designed to highlight the administration’s successes as the president is drawing near his January 20 State of the Union address.
While both Ford and the White House declined to say if the Ford plant was the president’s specific address, Obama’s Metro Detroit speech is just one month after the US Treasury finally exited from the historic six-year government intervention in the auto industry. While losses from the sector were incurred, the financial sector bailout thoroughly compensated. The president is expected to point out the great sales pace of the auto industry and commend his decision to rescue both General Motors and Chrysler. While the two benefited the most from government support, Ford seems the safer bet – as the second largest US automaker also took loan programs. Chrysler now has been transformed by its parent – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – into a global entity that transcends US identity, so it’s not the greatest venue for the “American dream”. And General Motors, fresh out of government control, has been plagued with safety issues all year long.