Since those days the rebound has been strong and all of the Big Three are showing they're now on firm financial footing with strong sales.
President Obama proved that point today in his remarks at a Missouri Fords plant.
The president said everyone in his administration knew it was the right thing to do and in retrospect, looking at how healthy GM and Chrysler are after bankruptcy and Ford is without it, it's hard to argue the point.
"One of our outstanding business leaders making Ford the number one automaker in the country. Mr. Alan Mulally is here," said Obama.
At the Claycomo F-150 plant in Kansas City the president showed, if nothing else, he sure knows how to play to a crowd.
But Ford is not the number one selling U.S. car company, GM still owns that distinction by a couple hundred thousand vehicles.
"We bet on the America worker we bet on you and today that bet has paid off because the American auto industry has come roaring back," Obama said.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are all very profitable and adding jobs and investment in plants all over the world. But, five years ago that wasn't the case; the president relied on auto experts for numbers and guidance.
One of those analysts was analytics president Jim Hall.
"I cannot even imagine how bad it would have been when it was bad and my guess is we would still be absolutely flat lined or in the decline if we hadn't have done it," said Hall.
Hall says because, there was no capital available for another automaker, at the time, to buy GM or Chrysler out of bankruptcy, and with the job loss that would have occurred, he advised the task force that the federal government had no choice but to act.
"The do nothing was the worst thing you could do because it was bad for the industry and it turned out to be an accelerative decay for the economy there was no way around it," Hall said.