Print Friendly and PDF

Joe Biden at Detroit auto show: ‘Manufacturing is coming back to America’

From: MLive

By: David Muller

January 16, 2014

DETROIT, MI – Before touring the 2014 North American International Auto Show, Vice President and self-described “car guy” Joe Biden insisted that manufacturing is returning to U.S. soil after decades of globalization.

“This is going to be the American century for manufacturing,” he told a crowd gathered Thursday at the Cobo Center in Detroit. “Mark my words. Not just the auto industry … manufacturing is coming back to America.”

The auto industry is particularly close to Biden’s heart, though – and to his politics. The son of a General Motors car dealership manager, Biden drove a Chrysler 300D to his high school prom.

As Vice President, he and President Barack Obama used the auto bailout and apparent turnaround of the U.S. automotive industry as a campaign talking point during the 2012 Presidential election. One of Biden’s signature quotes was, “bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”

On Thursday, Biden again declared victory. “We bet on American ingenuity, we bet on you, and we won,” he said. Biden has been to Detroit at least three times since September 2012.

The 2014 NAIAS is seen by many as the culmination of the industry’s rebound following the government-backed bankruptcies of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.

According to several long-time attendees of NAIAS, the energy in the Cobo Center has been renewed this year, compared with the bleak years immediately following the 2009 bankruptcy filings.

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah underscored that point, saying on Thursday morning that the auto industry went “from zero to hero in record time.”

In introducing Biden as a son of a GM dealer, Baruah said, “He’s got to feel pretty good about 16 million units sold, he’s got to feel pretty good about Detroit manufacturing.”

U.S. auto sales are expected to reach 16.1 million units this year, marking the fifth straight year of growth for the first time in more than 50 years.

“American trucks and cars are competitive in every market in the world today,” Biden said. “And we’re going to make sure they get more competitive in Japan if I have anything to do with it.”

For a brief minute or two during Biden’s remarks, a heckler near the back of the atrium repeatedly yelled “Stop the Keystone!” but Biden continued speaking and the man was quickly removed.

On Wednesday, Biden dined with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and attend a fundraiser for Mark Schauer, the Michigan Democratic Party’s gubernatorial hopeful, and U.S Rep. Gary Peters.

As members of Congress in 2009, Schauer and Peters both voted for the so-called “auto bailout” that President Barack Obama signed into law. Peters continues to serve in the U.S. House, while Schauer narrowly lost his narrow re-election bid in 2010.

A number of Obama administration officials had already passed through this year’s installment of the show, including Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder attended the auto show on Tuesday, calling it “a great chance to show off Detroit” and announcing a new driverless vehicle partnership between the state and University of Michigan.