Did GM Delay Recall With Deadly Results? Problems Reported Years Ago

Chevy CobaltGeneral Motors recently recalled close to a million vehicles for a deadly problem that resulted in six deaths. The models involved were Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 through 2007 model years. The question is, why did NHTSA and GM wait so long to recall vehicles with a dangerous defect when the problems surfaced years ago?

Scouring the internet reveals many reported stalling incidents for the models in question. My particular Google search went back to 2009 and unearthed disturbing evidence that GM did not properly address issues with faulty vehicles. While the vehicles were manufactured by the “old” version of GM, “new” GM certainly would have been aware of the problems as far back as 2009. Following is an exchange from a forum that ran during the 2009 time period. A poster named Matt eerily references the problem on a Chevy Cobalt chat room on February … Read More ➡

GM Promotes Gay Rights as Company-Wide Problems Mount

General Motors continues to find innovative ways to make political points while losing market value. The company continues its heavy ad spending, this time at the Olympics. The marketing wizards at GM are trying to tap into the LGBT consumer market, which equals approximately 3.5% of the total population. At the same time, GM shares are getting hit once again as higher inventory levels are leading to heavy discounting. The company still looks a lot like Government Motors.

The main problem for GM regarding inventories centers on the very important (and most profitable) truck segment. The WSJ reported that truck discounts are growing as a result of a 151 day supply of Chevy Silverados and a 131 day supply of GMC Sierras. A 60 day supply is considered to be ideal in the auto industry. GM has had a history of stuffing inventory channels to prop up revenue. Revenue is … Read More ➡

GM’s Debt Rises as Earnings Disappoint; Warns on First Quarter

GMGeneral Motors announced disappointing earnings results today and issued a warning that first quarter results will underwhelm as well. The reasons behind the earnings’ miss are surely going to be explained away by pundits and proponents of the company still known as Government Motors to many. Sorting through the smoke and mirrors can lead to some important and simple explanations as to what is going on at GM.

Before looking at the reasons why GM has drastically underperformed the broader markets since the Obama-orchestrated bankruptcy process of 2009, let’s take a look at one of the most critical takeaways from the latest earnings announcement. GM is now approaching pre-bankruptcy debt levels with over $36 billion in short and long term debt. The company issued $28 billion of new debt with $20.2 billion of that going to pay down existing debt.

What’s that you say? You thought GM had a … Read More ➡

Bailed-Out GM Falls to Third Place in Global Sales, January Sales Disappoint

Mary Barra and VoltGeneral Motors shares are dropping again today as January sales figures disappointed Wall Street. Sales for the month fell 11.9% from a year ago with weakness across the board. The news follows last week’s announcement that GM has now dropped to number three in global sales, being surpassed by both Toyota and Volkswagen.

The bad news at GM comes amidst continued political hype for the company. GM CEO, Mary Barra was a guest of honor at President Obama’s State of the Union address last week. Ms. Barra may want to start focusing on the continuing problems at GM instead of politics. Her Obama-appointed predecessors had maintained a strategy that was more concerned with appearances and political correctness than on profitability and sales growth, which has led to the company losing market share both domestically and globally.

GM’s news release for January’s poor sales performance had the same old flavor. … Read More ➡

Obama/Barra Embrace Shows GM is Still Government Motors

Barra SOTUThe Obama Administration may have sold the last of the taxpayers’ shares in General Motors, but it appears that politics will continue to play a powerful role in the management of the company. New GM CEO Mary Barra did not seem too concerned about appearances when she attended the State of the Union as Obama’s guest. Her predecessor Dan Akerson in previous months had gone to great lengths to distance GM from the federal government.

With President Obama praising Ms. Barra in front of the nation, the field is once again set for GM to take the stage during upcoming elections. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also jumped on the bandwagon, giving kudos to both Ms. Barra and the auto bailouts in general when she spoke at a recent car convention. The political attention given to the appointment of a female CEO leads to the question that no … Read More ➡

Chevy Malibu Problems Epitomize GM’s Struggle

Government MotorsGeneral Motors is now approaching its fifth year of existence since emerging as a new entity as a result of the 2009 auto bailouts which saw taxpayers fund a bankruptcy process to the tune of $50 billion. Much has been debated about the “success” of GM since the controversial government-orchestrated restructuring. While GM management recently announced a dividend in an attempt to ensure investors of financial stability, a more telling indicator of the likelihood of future profitability may be found through an analysis of how competitive the company’s vehicles are.

Let’s face it; it should not be that hard for a corporation to look good to Wall Street after receiving an influx of $50 billion to its balance sheet along with the removal of creditor liabilities. But just how well are the company’s cars selling and what is the prognosis for longer-term sustainability? A closer look at the best-selling, mid-size … Read More ➡

Curious Timing for GM Dividend Announcement

The internet was ablaze Tuesday evening with stories presenting a perceived positive move by General Motors’ outgoing government-appointed management. All hail! “General Motors to pay first dividend since 2008,” trumpeted the headlines. GM shares immediately spiked up in after-hours trading with shares rising about $1.60 or 4% on the news. Unfortunately for those duped by the proclamation, GM followed the story hours later with a profit warning. For the time being, the bad news outweighed the good with GM shares reversing course and ending the day Wednesday with a loss of over one and a half percent on a day that the market rallied.

So, let’s ask the questions mainstream journalists won’t. Why in the world would GM announce a dividend (subsequently hurting investors who buy on the news) hours before giving negative guidance? Why was this decision and announcement made by outgoing management just days before new CEO, Mary … Read More ➡

Awards Won’t Drive Sales for Recalled Chevy Silverado

Silvardo awardGeneral Motors seems to be really good at winning awards for its vehicles. The Chevy Silverado just took home the North American Truck of the Year Award at the Detroit Auto Show. The truck also was just embarrassingly recalled due to a potential fire hazard. Unfortunately for GM, the bad news outweighs the good as awards do not always result in increased sales. Just look at the award-winning Chevy Volt as an example.

Like the Silverado, the 2011 Volt was a recipient of the North American Car of the Year Award. In fact, it seems that the Volt has won more awards than Wilbur, the Prize-Winning Pig from the children’s tale, Charlotte’s Web. But winning awards did not make the Volt appealing to mainstream consumers as sales have never lived up to the hype. And while the Silverado may literally be off to a blazing start, figuratively speaking sales … Read More ➡

After Denial, Tesla Mailing New Connectors Following Calif. Fire

Emily LitellaWere the late Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner still with us today, Tesla Motors might look to her character Emily Litella for its latest public relations campaign to address overheating and fires with its Model S charging systems.

“Never mind,” the Weekend Update commentator would say.

That’s was also essentially the response from Tesla on Friday when the company announced – after it had vehemently denied any culpability about overheating systems or power cords just three weeks earlier – that it would send all Model S owners new cords to replace the defective old ones. This followed a garage fire in Irvine, Calif., which local authorities blamed on either “a high resistance connection at the wall socket or the Universal Mobile Connector from the Tesla charging system.” New charger connectors will be mailed in the next two weeks, according to a Bloomberg report.

“These are very rare … Read More ➡

Dismal Chevy Spark EV Sales Make the Volt Look Good

Barra and VoltThe final tallies for 2013 sales are in for the Chevy Volt and its little sister, the Chevy Spark EV. The results are ugly.

While the Volt relies on both a gas engine and electric power, the Spark is actually an electric-only vehicle, assumedly designed to compete with the all-electric Nissan Leaf which had sales of 22,610 for the year. The Spark EV did not compete well, with sales for 2013 coming in at only 589 for the seven months in which it was offered. Chevy Volt sales for the year also disappointed, coming in at 23,094 and down from 2012 sales. The Volt’s sales drop came during a year when overall US car sales rose about 8%.

Back in November of 2012, new General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, hyped the Chevy Spark EV and proclaimed that GM would focus on such plug-in electric vehicles in the future. If this … Read More ➡

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