AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: What President Carter did for the Auto Industry

August 15th, 2008 at 12:27pm

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Jimmy Carter

The last time the U.S. auto industry was in big trouble, the federal government stepped up with a long list of items to help save it. Here’s what it did back then.

In 1980, the Detroit three were actually in bigger trouble than they are today. And back then, despite all the uproar about bailing out Chrysler, the Feds were a lot more open to helping the auto industry.

Under President Jimmy Carter, the government agreed to ease up on certain emission regulations. It also agreed to temporarily stop issuing new safety rules. The Treasury Department agreed to give the industry faster write-offs on all the new tooling it needed to make smaller cars. The Small Business Administration provided hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed loans to dealers. And communities that were hardest hit by plant closings were provided with millions in community aid.

Maybe the political climate in Washington will change after November, but it’s kind of remarkable to look back and see how willing the government was to help the Big Three nearly three decades ago.

One Comment to “AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: What President Carter did for the Auto Industry”

  1. Rick Sutherland Says:

    I think it is likely the political climate may change after November, but may be for the worse for auto makers. The climate among the prevailing party is to force the auto makers into changing to new technologies that are not yet viable. I also think those in charge in Washington don’t care if they completely bring down the US auto industry to get what they want.