Cleveland: 'Big Three' Auto makers making economic strides

3:44 PM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Three years ago, Ford's stock dropped to $2 per share. Last year, it approached $20. Just one of the many signs that America's car makers are headed in the right direction.

Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors combined to sell 12.8 million cars last year, surpassing a benchmark of needing to sell 10 million cars just to break even, according to Dr. Shawn Rohlin, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Akron.

"It's not as good as before the recession in 2006-07 but it is a far cry from what it used to be," Rohlin said.

Future trends indicate 15 million car sales per year are possible by 2014.

As Americans feel more stable about the economy and their employment, they're more willing to invest in a new car, Rohlin said.

While Ford has tread water on its own, Chrysler and GM both accepted significant bailouts from the the government in order to remain afloat.

Increased sales should bring good news to Ohio. Experts predict up to 170,000 new jobs in the auto industry, and Ohio is second in the country in auto workers, Rohlin said.

President Obama recently completed a new television advertisement taking credit for preserving the "big three" through the tough years, but GOP Presidential candidates counter that the bailout money wasn't handled correctly and wasn't solely responsible for the turnaround.

American sales were also helped by the massive earthquake that rocked Japan last year, slowing imports from Tokyo to the United States, Rohlin said.


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