"These companies were saved," said Daniel Ikenson, director of trade policy studies at the Cato Institute. "Of course they're going to succeed, when the government was propping them up. The industry has done well, primarily because the cyclical demand for autos is up, oil prices are low, and people are buying SUVs again. I don't think this has anything to do with the auto bailout itself. It's a function of the market."
"We're still feeling the effects in the economy — the lack of certainty that the administration is not going to subsidize or intervene on behalf of an industry that it favors, or a particular company that it favors," Mr. Ikenson said. "It's done so on solar [power], it's done so on wind energy, it's done so on all sorts of green technologies. Other big players in industry, they know that somebody's going to be there to backstop them. There's a bigger lesson here."