GM CEO Akerson Responds to Criticism

Akerson photoGeneral Motors CEO & Chairman Dan Akerson has an op-ed in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press in response to the growing chorus of criticism of the company in general, and his leadership in particular.  It is rather typical corporate PR, complete with a Teddy Roosevelt quote.

One line is odd, though. Akerson (or his flak) writes:

I believe our culture is our “secret weapon” and is on the way to being a true difference maker for us.

So, how is GM’s culture,  according to Akerson?

A few days ago, Akerson had “expressed his continued frustration with the company’s inability to quickly shed its bureaucratic legacy,” saying “We’ve got to get this company and the culture into the 21st Century.”

Last month, Akerson was asked, “How much of GM’s culture has changed since before bankruptcy, on a scale of one to 100,” and he responded: “20, 25. We have a long, … Read More ➡

Auto Bailout Legacy: GM’s European Nightmare

Steve GirskyThree years into their forced marriage with GM, the American taxpayers have seen the value of their investment in GM deteriorate by approximately $24 billion, largely due to continuing European losses. Exposure in Europe has contributed to crushing the value of GM’s stock due to its chaotic and failing Opel unit in Germany. While government, journalists and Wall Street sympathizers have given the Obama Administration and GM leadership an almost incomprehensible pass on this value destruction and massive loss (presumably due to the macro-economic nature of the crisis), it’s time to call for the accountability that this new Board was supposedly going to deliver. 

Overlooked is that the value-destroying, cash-sucking disaster that is GM Europe was packaged and ready for sale to new European buyers in 2009 before the new Obama GM Board of Directors slammed the brakes on the deal, throwing GM into its current value free-fall. In fact, the decision to not … Read More ➡

New Fisker Fire, While Taxpayers Cover Utility Bills for Empty Plant

Fisker logoAnother government-funded electric vehicle has burned.

This time it’s the second fire in a Fisker Karma, which received $193 million out of a $529 million award from a Department of Energy loan guarantee before the cabinet agency cut the company off for failure to meet still-undisclosed milestones. This blaze (video), according to a report on the automotive Web site Jalopnik, occurred in a Woodside, Calif. parking lot while its owner was inside a store shopping for groceries.

In another development, the State of Delaware has been stuck paying more than $400,000 in utilities bills for a vacant factory that Fisker was supposed to occupy and use to manufacture its next electric car model, the Atlantic.

As for the fire, Fisker has acknowledged the incident. 

“We have more than 1,000 Karmas on the road with a cumulative 2 million miles on them,” the company said in a statement published … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Bailed-Out GM’s Future in Doubt

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed by Tom Sullivan about GM’s future on Fox Business Network on August 11. Here’s a transcript:

Tom Sullivan: Joining me now is an Associate Fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center, Mark Modica. You follow this GM story carefully.

Mark Modica: I sure do.

Tom Sullivan: Do you agree with the other Mark about the fact that GM is looking pretty good right now?

Mark Modica: I agree with some of the comments. The European situation is a mess, so that is an overhang there. As far as the government getting out – no professional investor would say that you base your exit of owing a stock on what you paid for the stock. The government should have been out of GM. They had the opportunity over a year ago to sell their stake – the taxpayers stake. At … Read More ➡

Military Buying Chevy Volts as Glitches Surface

It seems that the supply of taxpayer money available to support the Chevy Volt is never ending. Add the Department of Defense to the list of agencies tapping into the seemingly endless taxpayer funds to purchase Volts, as reported by Stripes.com. The US Military is buying Volts just as a recent poll at GM-Volt.com reveals that over 12% of Volt owners have had electrical problems with the vehicle.

A Marine Corps (pronounced “kawr”, not “kawrps”) Air Station in Miramar California received a couple of the Volts last month. Chris Manis, deputy director of installations and logistics, spoke of the Marines’ green mission when he stated, “Our goal is to reduce our needs of fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” adding, “We can cut back and still execute the missions we need to complete.” And all this time I thought the military’s role was to protect the country.

Miramar … Read More ➡

Obama Boosts GM With Fleet Sales; Localities Buy Police Cars With Federal Money

Government MotorsGeneral Motors announced an increase in government purchases of 115% in July. This follows June’s jump in government fleet sales of 79%. Just what’s going on? GM has claimed that it is localities (mostly for police vehicles) and not federal purchases driving the increases, but aren’t localities struggling with their budgets? Why do the nation’s police forces all of a sudden need new vehicles? A little research uncovers that the Obama Administration is once again being generous with federal grants to localities to purchase new cars, with one of the primary end recipients of taxpayer money being GM.

It seems dubiously orchestrated that GM would make sure that they attributed the unusual increase in government fleet sales to localities rather than federal purchases. It’s almost like money laundering where taxpayer money gets filtered though grants to localities and then gets back to GM via purchases of police vehicles and … Read More ➡

Taxpayers Help Fund Chevy Volt Village

Akerson & VoltWell, I really have to hand it to the Obama Administration and General Motors when it comes to promoting green energy initiatives and the Chevy Volt; if nothing else, they are persistent. Unfortunately, that persistence continues to come at the expense of US taxpayers. The latest folly, as reported by Edmunds Inside Line, involves a $10.4 million grant from the Energy Department to create what Edmunds calls “Chevrolet Volt-ville.”

GM and OnStar have joined a partnership (which includes GE Energy, of course) that had been formed to create a community in Texas called Pecan Street Inc. GM says the community will be home to “the greatest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the world.” In addition to the tax credits already available to Volt buyers, residents receive another $7,500 rebate for purchasing a Volt or $3,000 for leasing one.

Goals of Pecan Street include delivering “reliable and affordable energy to … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Motorists Report Battery Problems in Taxpayer-Subsidized Nissan Leaf

Read More ➡

Wells Fargo Succumbs to DOJ’s ‘Civil Rights’ Shakedown; Agrees to Pay $175 Million

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage logoObtaining mortgage aid by claiming “discrimination” has become a high art. The problem is that someone always has to pay. Just ask Wells Fargo & Co. On July 12, the San Francisco-based bank, the nation’s largest mortgage originator, agreed to spend $175 million to settle accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that for several years it steered black and Hispanic homebuyers toward high-cost loans, so it could charge excessive interest and fees. The agreement, in which Wells Fargo admitted no wrongdoing, ostensibly will defray borrower losses and expand homeownership opportunities in lower-income areas. More likely, it will raise the cost of borrowing for everyone, lower underwriting standards and keep lawyers employed. It amounts to a shakedown. And in the context of the big picture, $175 million is on the low side.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, often in conjunction with nonprofit civil rights organizations and other parties, … Read More ➡

GM Trying to Limit Tax Credit Abuse on Chevy Volt Returns

When General Motors announced its 60 day return policy for the Chevy Volt over a week ago, I contacted them to make them aware of the potential for tax credit abuse on returned vehicles that qualify for federal and state subsidies. At the time, GM spokesman Jim Cain did not think that it would be an issue and it was up to purchasers to decide if they would submit for tax credits on Volts that they returned for refunds. I spoke with Mr. Cain to follow up on the story.

Mr. Cain has informed me that GM is working on language for buyers to sign off on, which is essentially a pledge for purchasers not to claim tax credits on returned Volts. Unfortunately, Mr. Cain admits that there is still “nothing to stop” purchasers from going ahead and claiming the credits, even if they sign off on a form claiming … Read More ➡