Politicians see opportunities on the show floor
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, pictured, and acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank are scheduled to tour the show floor, meet with automakers and view new models.
DETROIT -- The election season is over, but plenty of politicians will be shaking hands at the Detroit auto show next week.
Top Obama administration officials are scheduled to attend the show along with number of governors and legislators.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank are scheduled to tour the show floor, meet with automakers and view new models.
Vice President Joe Biden last week canceled his plans to attend the Detroit show because he is scheduled to present a set of recommendations next week to curb gun violence.
For the third straight year, LaHood will make remarks during the Detroit show's opening Monday morning, a spokeswoman said. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari also will tour the floor that morning.
David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also is scheduled to attend the show.
State and local politicians sometimes use the show to promote vehicles and manufacturing operations from their states -- and urge industry leaders to create more jobs in the politicians' areas.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, along with Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and U.S. Reps. John Dingell, D-Dearborn; Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township; Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak; and John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, are scheduled to tour the show.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are also expected to attend.
The government officials will meet with top auto executives from the Detroit 3, including Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The Detroit automakers will be highlighted at the show for their profitability and adding workers, The Detroit News reported.
U.S. light-vehicle sales in 2012 rose 13 percent to 14.5 million vehicles, and many automakers expect sales to top 15 million vehicles in 2013.
"This is a challenging time [for officials to attend] because we're in a transition period for the administration and Congress," said Dingell, who handles government booking for the show. "But it's also very important that this administration show significant support of the auto industry."
In 2009, the U.S. Treasury provided $79.1 billion in loans to General Motors, Chrysler Group, GM's GMAC Financial Services, later renamed Ally Financial Inc., and Chrysler's Chrysler Financial. The government has recovered roughly $45.6 billion.
Last month, GM said it would spend $5.5 billion to buy back shares owned by the Treasury, reducing the government's stake in the automaker to 19 percent from 26.5 percent.
Dustin Walsh is a reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.