AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 24 (UPI) -- Automaker Chrysler said it paid off government loans worth $7.5 billion Tuesday, closing the book on loans it incurred when it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
"I am pleased to announce that, significantly in advance of the initial plan and little more than 23 months from that momentous day, we fulfilled our promise," Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in a statement, referring to the company's exit from bankruptcy.
In a statement, President Barack Obama called the payoff "a significant milestone for the turnaround of Chrysler."
"I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did," Obama said.
Chrysler had owed the U.S. government $5.8 billion and the Canadian government $1.7 billion, the Detroit Free Press reported.
At an event Monday, Marchionne called it the impending payoff the end to "a very painful but necessary chapter in our history."
"What the governments did was something exceptional, hopefully to never be repeated again," he said.
Marchionne made his comments at the opening of the first stand-alone Fiat dealership in Michigan, Fiat of Lakeside in Macomb Township.
But Chrysler planned to celebrate "Payoff Day" at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, a plant that was rescued by the bailout and now builds the Chrysler 200.
Previously, the plant produced the Sebring sedan.