President Obama will greet workers and tour Chrysler's supplier park on Stickney Ave. in north Toledo on Friday. He will also hear first hand from local business owners about the importance of the auto industry resurgence to the community as a whole and the economic devastation it would have faced had Chrysler been allowed to fail.
President Obama's plane will touch down at Toledo Express shortly after 11:00 AM. He is expected to arrive at the plant at approximately 12:30 and will start speaking at 1:05 PM. He will be joined by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, plant management, and UAW leadership.
Chrysler was at the brink of bankruptcy in 2009 when it received a cash infusion from the U.S. government of approximately $7.6 billion. Italian automaker, Fiat, also acquired 20 percent ownership of the company, giving it a cash infusion in exchange for access to Chrysler's network of North American dealerships.
The government loans will be repaid with loans the company has secured from the private sector and $1.3 billion in cash from Fiat as it increases its ownership stake in the American auto manufacturer to 46 percent. The early repayment of the loan is expected to save Chrysler approximately $300 million a year in finance charges.
President Obama's assistant for manufacturing policy, Ron Blume said the president is coming to Toledo because "It presents an opportunity to visit somewhere he hasn't been and reflect on what an extraordinary two years it's been for the automotive industry."
Blume was quick to point out that Chrysler's current financial structure is sound, even though the borrowed from private sector lenders to repay the government. "Investors with no other motive than to make money are investing with Chrysler which is a tremendous vote of confidence."
As to the $14 billion in taxpayer dollars that were lost as part of the $80 billion automotive industry bailout, Blume said it was more important to focus on the positives. "We can talk about what we've lost, but we also have to talk about what we've gained," Blume said. "More than one million people are working today because of what the president did."
So, President Obama is coming to town Friday. It's not the first time he'll speak to workers in our area. Do you think he'll say anything we haven't heard already? What would you ask him? We'll be there, so let us know what questions you want asked.