Hurricane Sandy Reduces 16 Fisker Karmas to Ashes

Fisker logoWe’ve already seen Fisker Karmas spontaneously ignite in a Texas garage and a supermarket parking lot in California, which were blamed on isolated incidents.

But now the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) electric automaker has seen several of its $102,000+ luxury hybrids go up in smoke all at once, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

Jalopnik.com reported Tuesday night that approximately 16 of the Karmas that were parked in Port Newark, N.J. Monday night as Hurricane Sandy approached were submerged by the storm surge. According to the Web site’s unidentified source, the vehicles then “caught fire” and “exploded.” Jalopnik has exclusive photos of the Karmas in which they all were thoroughly destroyed by what must have been an intense inferno.

Fisker – which was supposed to received $529 million from the Department of Energy’s stimulus allocation but was shut off because its business performance shortcomings – has acknowledged the incident.

“We can report that … Read More ➡

Chinese Back in the Picture to Buy Bankrupt A123 Systems

A123 logoIs it back to China for Obama-boosted battery maker A123 Systems?

In August the Massachusetts stimulus recipient (more than $279 million, plus a bundle of other government contracts) announced that Wanxiang Group would infuse the failing company with quick cash as part of a plan to assume as much as 80-percent ownership. A barrage of questions and concerns followed – most prominently from Republican Sens. Charles Grassley (Iowa) and John Thune (South Dakota) – about the logistics of the deal, the potential relocation of taxpayer-funded jobs overseas, and the protection of U.S.-financed technology. Required approval by both the Chinese and U.S. governments seemed to be a high hurdle.

That, in addition to stipulations such as A123 keeping all its government goodies and maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, appeared to be too much to see the deal through. So when the company declared bankruptcy on October 16, … Read More ➡

Fiat’s Benchmark to Outsource Chrysler Jeep – $1 in Savings

Obama Marchionne photoFiat CEO Sergio Marchionne discussed, in limited detail, some of the Italian company’s plans for future production of its vehicles, including the Chrysler and Jeep brands, during an earnings conference call yesterday. There has been much recent speculation on the possibility that some of the once American-owned Chrysler Jeep vehicles will be outsourced and produced overseas.

It was confirmed that at least some Jeeps will be manufactured outside the US in the near future. The plan is to produce a new, smaller Jeep in Italy that will be sold in Europe and also exported to America. The question now is, how many more American-made Chrysler products are at risk of being outsourced? Marchionne’s answers to analysts’ questions give insight into the mindset of Fiat’s management regarding where the company’s loyalties lie.

Marchionne announced that he wants full “unification” of Fiat and Chrysler by 2015 and made clear that Italian manufacturing … Read More ➡

Failed Renewable Technologies Are An Expensive Teaching Moment

LGChem logoA story that went viral over a week ago showed how (non)-workers at a Michigan electric vehicle battery plant, funded through the stimulus by taxpayers, spent their time playing games, reading magazines, watching movies or helping charities like Habitat for Humanity – that is, when they weren’t ‘off-duty’ on their cyclical furloughs.

According to a report by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, the LG Chem factory in Holland, Mich. – blessed with $151 million from a Department of Energy Recovery Act grant and $100 million from Wolverine State taxpayers – had “yet to ship out a single battery.”

But another local television station discovered some workers doing something else with their paid-but-free time: teaching students about their failed industry. WZZM, the local ABC affiliate, reported that engineers from LG Chem visited a local job training facility called Careerline Tech Center after they were invited by its director, Dave Searles.

“We’re working … Read More ➡

AUTO BAILOUT BOMBSHELL: Fiat Says Chrysler, Jeep Production May Move to Italy

Obama Marchionne photoComing hot on the heels of speculation that some Jeep production may be moved to China comes a bombshell from a Bloomberg report. Fiat is now considering moving Chrysler and Jeep production to Italy.

According to the piece, “To counter the severe slump in European sales, (Fiat CEO Sergio) Marchionne is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America. The Italian government is evaluating tax rebates on export goods to help Fiat. Marchionne may announce details of his plan as soon as Oct. 30, the people said.”

So, let’s be real clear here, we are talking about vehicles that will be built in Italy and exported to America. The evidence is clear that Fiat is looking at ways to move production of vehicles from the US to elsewhere, whether it be China or Italy, costing American jobs. This is becoming indisputable, despite outcries from certain … Read More ➡

Emails Show White House Exerted Pressure for DOE Loan to Abound Solar

Abound logoThe claim that the many beneficiaries (like Solyndra and Fisker Automotive) of President Obama’s green energy stimulus program received their millions of taxpayer dollars based on measurable metrics rather than political favoritism has always been undermined by the circumstantial evidence, but documents obtained by Complete Colorado indicate the White House applied direct pressure to its own Department of Energy to reward (another) one of its allies.

The company that reaped the benefit was Abound Solar, which filed for bankruptcy in June. In a copy of a June 2010 email, as analysts who evaluated applications were discussing doubts about the Loveland, Colo.-based solar panel manufacturer, DOE Loan Program Executive Director Jonathan Silver informed an agency credit advisor “that the WH (White House) wants to move Abound forward.” Another message from that loan program credit adviser, James McCrea, describes an atmosphere of “transaction pressure under which we are … Read More ➡

Romney is Right About Chrysler / Jeep China Outsourcing

Fiat Chrysler logosThere is nothing like having unbiased media coverage of the all-important presidential campaign leading up to next week’s election. And the media is nothing like unbiased. We see this playing out again as Mitt Romney is now being accused of misrepresenting a story that Bloomberg.com reported on Chrysler’s potential outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing to China. A look at the original comments from the article gives evidence as to how unfair the criticism is and just how right Romney was for pointing out the likely future outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Romney stated during an Ohio rally, “I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China.” Governor Romney was referring to the Bloomberg (hardly a right-wing organization) piece which stated, “Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler … Read More ➡

Rep. Moran is Proof of Failure of Congressional Ethics Regime

James MoranRep. James Moran (D-VA), whose son is seen on an undercover video providing instructions on how to engage in vote fraud, has a long history of ethical problems. The fact that he is still in Congress is confirmation of the ineffectiveness of three bodies tasked with enforcing ethics, the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the House Ethics Committee.

Moran’s most egregious misconduct took place in the context of the PMA scandal. The PMA Group, a lobbying firm, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to lawmakers who obtained earmarks for PMA clients. The Justice Department failed to prosecute the PMA gang that included Reps. James Moran (D-VA), Peter Visclosky (D-OH), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Bill Young (R-FL). Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the ringleader, passed away in February 2010.

The Department argued that its conviction of former PMA lobbyist and former … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Failed A123 Execs Ask for Bonuses

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was a guest on Fox Business Network’s The Willis Report on October 24. Here’s a transcript:

Tracy Byrnes: All right. Well, it was not too long ago, President Obama blasted Wall Street fat cats and their shameful bonuses.

President Barack Obama: You guys are drawing down 10 million, 20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in decades?

President Barack Obama: There will be time for them to make profits and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.

Tracy Byrnes: Seems to be a very different story though for one of Obama’s failed green energy bets. A handful of execs who helped drive electric car battery maker A123 Systems into the ground, now want over million worth of bonuses. … Read More ➡

EXCLUSIVE: Sen. McCaskill’s Husband’s Businesses Benefitted From $20 Million in Stimulus Funds

McCaskill/Shepard photoAn analysis of public records by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has found more than $20 million in federal stimulus funds benefitting real estate projects financially tied to Joseph Shepard, husband of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press published an analysis, stating, “businesses affiliated with the husband of Senator Claire McCaskill have received almost $40 million in federal subsidies for low-income housing developments during her first five years in office…”

The NLPC analysis released today showed more than $20 million in financial benefits from the federal stimulus law to real estate projects associated with McCaskill’s husband, with all of the $20 million benefitting projects different than those identified by the Associated Press story.

Missouri Tax Credit Fund: More Than $1 Million in Annual Income For the McCaskill Household in 2009, 2010 and 2012

While the AP study focused on federal subsidies going to entities … Read More ➡

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