In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reminded listeners his administration "refused to let Detroit go bankrupt."
"We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way," he said.
Obama said auto sales have hit a four-year high and employment in the auto industry is increasing -- noting that General Motors Co. announced this week it is hiring 1,500 workers for a research center in Michigan "to help make sure the high-tech cars of tomorrow are designed and built right here in America."
The president said Detroit is not just making more cars and trucks, but is making "better ones."
"After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and light trucks will average almost 55 miles per gallon -- nearly double what they get today," he said.
"It's good for your wallet, it's good for our economy, and it's good for the environment," Obama said.
The president said the technology responsible for improved cars and trucks "will also help America stay on the cutting edge for decades to come" and he told listeners he had signed bipartisan trade agreements into law this week "because I want to see more cars on the road in places like South Korea imported from Detroit and Toledo and Chicago."
"So next time you see one of those brand new 2013 models on TV or on the lot, think about how far we've come together," he said. "Think about how -- thanks to the hard work and can-do spirit of the American people -- more of those cars and trucks are being manufactured by American workers at American companies in communities all across the country."