In a move fraught with political overtones, President Barack Obama will visit a Chrysler Group plant in Toledo, Ohio today to hail the ongoing recovery of the once-bankrupt automaker, which has now posted 14 consecutive months of sales growth and is preparing to sever its ties with the government.
The president’s visit, meanwhile, comes just after the automaker finished paying off its federal loans, with Fiat now preparing to buy out the Treasury Department’s remaining 6.6% stake in Chrysler, cutting its ties to the government.
The Obama administration has made no secret of the fact it considers the bailout to have been an immense success – despite the fact that the White House also disclosed this week it expects $14 billion of the $80 billion advanced Chrysler and General Motors will not be recovered by the U.S. Treasury.
At least initially, the rescue efforts were largely unpopular with the taxpaying public, so the Administration is hoping to focus on the payoff – with an emphasis on jobs. The White House has argued that despite the costs the bailout probably saved as many as 1 million jobs and helped stabilized America’s manufacturing sector at a time when it was teetering on the brink of disasters.