He promised to "act swiftly to confront the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime."
Obama said the government would help the auto industry "adjust" to a changing environment, including accelerating already-allocated funds for development of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Industry analysts have been ramping up the urgency of the situtation. One recently likened the $25B funding as "taking a bandaid to a train wreck." At least $50B is needed to stave off bankruptcy for the whole industry, he said.
Obama said the distribution of the already-allocated $25 billion under last year's energy act for helping the auto industry produce more fuel-efficient vehicles needs to be accelerated and should start to be distributed by the beginning of the new year.
Obama also pointed out Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on his transition team in an attempt to reassure Detroit. She has been discussed as the possible Secretary of the Department of Energy.