POSTED: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 9:52pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 11:56am
A year ago at this time, many Americans were ready to write off the domestic automakers. GM and Chrysler were headed for bankruptcy and Ford was struggling to avoid the same fate.
What a difference a year makes…well, that and 80 million dollars…
But to be fair, part of the good news is that the first quarter of the year has been spectacular, comparatively, for the Big 3.
“Our market share increased,” said Ford sales analyst George Pipas, “and…we made a profit! Whoa! That’s good news.”
Ford was already kicking tailgate with the success of vehicles like the Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, and it’s market leading truck lineup.
“Last year,” Pipas says, “there were visible signs of Ford’s turnaround. It’s the first year since 1995 that our share increased.”
But GM has actually sold more cars so far this year than anyone, and as a result has paid back all the cash it was loaned by the government.
“We are able to pay back the taxpayer ahead of schedule.” Said GM chairman Ed Whitacre.
And Whitacre announced they would be putting money into two plants, moving the introduction of the revolutionary volt electric car up and begin hiring again soon.
“The product is the key that’s going to lead us out of any down economy,” GM communications director for this region, Craig Eppling.
Hopefully by the end of the year, they will be going private again and the government can sell its stake in the “General.”
“We still have some equity owned by the government,” Eppling admitted, “but we need a few solid quarters of profitability that will leads us into being able to go private again.”
Chrysler and their new partner Fiat actually made money selling cars in the first quarter, and the success of the latest generation Ram and Jeep brands, means they are in a better cash position than at any time in the last two years.
Add to this a new survey by the associated press that shows a majority of Americans think domestic quality is ahead of the Asian brands.
Some of that is fueled by Toyota’s problems, no doubt, but it is a hopeful sign.