(AXcess News) Washington – The U.S. auto industry is back on track and poised to make more profits this year, according to Rebecca Blank, acting commerce secretary.
Blank said Thursday at this year’s Washington Auto Show that, with the economy improving, the future looks bright for the auto industry. The automobile industry was one of the hardest hit during and after the recession from 2008 to 2011, with most major companies losing money. However, with the U.S. economy picking up, the car industry enjoyed a good 2012, and Blank said she expects an increased profits in 2013.
“Last year, the automobile industry recorded good results, and we expect better results in 2013, ” she said. Blank said consumer spending is increasing and people are buying more houses and this is good indication for the auto industry.
Blank, who inspected a few of the cars at the show, said she was fascinated by General Motors’ Volt electric car, which won North America Car of the year in 2011. She said she would like to have one someday. She said her family just bought a Ford Focus and has a 10-year-old VW Passat.
All the auto companies displayed some of their best, sexiest and sassiest cars at this year’s auto show, but the focus of most of these manufacturers is on convincing drivers to buy electric cars and fuel-efficient cars.
Some of the electric cars on display are already on the road. Ford has sold more than 1, 200 of its C-MAX Energi cars across the U.S and Canada. Toyota has launched its Rav4 AV, while General Motors will launch its Chevrolet Spark EV this summer.
Trista Schieffer, the Spark’s lead development engineer, said it is always good to have cars that would not cause drivers to worry about fuel. She said electric cars are usually urban vehicles for predictable users, including workers who have a relatively short commute. Schieffer said most electric cars can be charged at any electric outlet.
Gil Portalatin, chief program engineer for electrified powertrain programs at Ford, said electric cars are good for those who might not want to spend too much on gasoline.
However, Martha Voss, Toyota’s D.C director of corporate communication, said electricity has its own issues. She said electricity is expensive, and defective batteries are also a problem the auto companies must address.
Companies also displayed hybrid cars, which use gasoline and electricity.