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The Stimulus Spurred the Revival Of the Auto Industry

There is continued debate over whether the Obama administration’s stimulus package had a positive impact on the economy’s growth. This economy policy is sure to be an issue in the 2012 election, but one industry that has been positively affected with the bailout is the automotive industry. In the aftermath of the automotive bailout, the American car industry is steadily improving in quality, while also improving technologically by investing in more fuel economic cars.

One of the big three automakers in the U.S. is Chrysler, which received significant government aid. One of the reasons why Chrysler suffered is because of the decision to use cheaper materials to cut costs. The public did not respond well and sales suffered. In 2009, Chrysler merged with Fiat, which prompted the redesign of 16 of their cars across all three of their brands. The 2011 product line was produced with better materials for the interior and improved performance. Chrysler introduced the 3.6 liter Pentastar engine, which was rated on Ward’s Top 10 engine list for 2011. The Pentastar gets more horsepower and better gas mileage than any of its predecessors. Chrysler has integrated this engine into several of its models which include, the 200, the Avenger, the Durango, and the Grand Cherokee. In April 2011 Chrysler reported a 37% increase in total sales. There was a 189% increase for their flagship product, the Grand Cherokee.

Ford also redesigned most of its own product line in 2010. Consequently, Ford saw a spike in sales during 2010 that continued through 2011. Motortrend reported that Ford’s overall sales were up 11.8% for the year. The Explorer sold 9,897 models, 108 percent more than last year.  Even Lincoln posted a 39% increase, which goes to show that even lesser known brands are improving.

Ford is probably the company that has put the most investment in fuel economy, as the Focus, Fiesta, and Fusion Hybrid all top 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The Fusion was highly rated when it was released and Ford continued to improve on it by tinkering with a 2.5 liter engine that produces 156 horsepower on its own. When it is mated with its electric motor, the engine is capable of up to 191 horsepower. Ford even rid the Explorer of its 8 cylinder option, instead opting for a 3.5 Liter V6 capable of 290 horsepower.

GM has also thrown its hat in the ring with the release of the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is powered by a Lithium Ion battery pack that brings its engine up to a respectable 149 horsepower. The Volt is supposedly the most advanced hybrid car released, being capable of up to 40 miles on electricity alone, but the car does have its limitations, as a lot of the fuel economy is based on the type of driving that the consumer will be doing. According to Edmunds.com, with the battery depleted, the car returned a pedestrian 31 miles per gallon.

When Obama announced the bailout of the auto industry, the future of the American car business was not assured. However, U.S. car companies have responded positively and have steadily grown. More so, all of the big three companies have improved the quality of their vehicles and have released a first-class product. They are not catching up with their European and Asian competitors. Cars are one of the last objects that the U.S. manufactures, so it is good to see that we are taking pride in this industry and doing it well.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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