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Automotive

Auto industry gains are lifting Detroit's spirits

Chevrolet-Volt

Dec. 7, 2009 file photo, a pre-production Chevrolet Volt is driven at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in December 2009 during a news conference in Hamtramck, Mich. General Motors Co.

Carlos Osorio / ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

DETROIT — In Detroit, a city all too familiar with bad economic news, the past week has brought some good news for a change.

Ford announced $2.1 billion in earnings, General Motors said it would pour millions into investments at auto plants around the country and Chrysler reported a drop in losses.

Some current and ex-auto workers, local residents and even restaurant owners say any successes by Detroit's carmakers are reasons for optimism in the oft-maligned city.

Ford electrician Rick McDonald says the carmaker's successes mean a little more job security, and employees who cut back on spending over the lean period may start to change those habits.

Even so, residents are realistic about what hope means. The car companies aren't promising new jobs, despite their recent progress.

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