Romney Was Right: GM to Make Electric Cadillacs in China

General Motors’ recently deceased, plug-in electric Cadillac ELR had not even officially been declared dead before word was out that GM has plans for another plug-in Cadillac for American markets; this one to be built in China. It seems that the brass at GM believe that the Chinese can succeed where American manufacturing has failed regarding being able to build electric Cadillacs that appeal to American consumers.

It has now been about seven years since taxpayers sunk about $50 billion into GM to fund the Obama Administrations’ auto sector bailouts which rewarded the Obama-friendly UAW while hosing less politically-popular classes like GM bondholders. That time span seems to be long enough for GM to feel that moving manufacturing jobs to China will not face criticism as the move to build Cadillacs in China follows earlier announcements that the Buick Envision SUV would also be built there.

During the 2012 …

Hot Tesla Model 3 to Get Unneeded $1.5 Billion Tax Subsidy

Tesla Motors recently reported that it has received close to 400,000 orders for its yet to be released, $35,000 Model 3. Most of the pre-ordered vehicles are not even expected to be delivered until after 2018. While congratulations may be in order to Tesla for seemingly developing a mainstream electric vehicle (EV) that has so much consumer interest that demand is far outpacing supply, one question must be asked. Why the hell is the vehicle being subsidized to the tune of $1.5 billion in future tax credits?

If Tesla has proven that EVs can be profitably manufactured, it is time for our government to stop handing out the $7,500 tax credit that goes to each of the mostly affluent purchasers of the cars. The credits are capped for the first 200,000 vehicles delivered, making the total subsidy $1.5 billion. Tesla reportedly has doubled that sales figure before even building a …

Is Obama Propping up GM With Government Purchases?

General Motors recently reported lackluster sales results for the month of March. GM share price took a hit on the news, but there is one fast-growing area of sales for the company that is outperforming other segments. Government sales for GM rose 55% in March and capped off a first quarter that saw government sales increase 23% over the prior year.

GM did not give an explanation for the increase in government sales, localities often contribute to the sales figures. In the past federal grants went to localities to pay for GM vehicles when the Obama Administration sought to prop up crony corporation GM in any way possible. Given the close ties between the Administration and GM, more transparency is needed as to exactly how taxpayer money is getting to GM.

I reported in November of last year that the Department of Homeland Security has been overspending on vehicle purchases

Innovation Desperation: GM Overpays for Self-Driving Car Startup

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that General Motors has paid over a billion dollars in cash and stock to acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco startup company that designs self-driving software. The technological and regulatory obstacles facing autonomous driving development are huge, but don’t expect that to stop GM from throwing billions of shareholder dollars at the latest hyped wonder-technology.

Cruise Automation is a small firm that employs about 40 people and has no major sales revenue to speak of. That works out to GM paying about $25 million per employee. The billion dollar company, however, is reported to be growing quickly with plans to hire another ten people.

The idea of GM wantonly spending $1 billion for the start-up brings to mind the costly Chevy Volt folly which saw a multi-billion dollar investment in an infeasible technology reap no rewards for GM shareholders. Even with billions of dollars …

GM Finally Puts Cadillac ELR Out Of Its Misery

Here’s one that wasn’t hard to see coming. General Motors has announced that it is ending production of the Cadillac ELR, which was essentially a gussied up Chevy Volt at twice the price. You can call this one a mercy killing as the overpriced, pseudo-green, government-subsidized vehicle was doomed for failure as low sales figures reflected the lack of value offered by the vehicle. That failure was predicted here back in December of 2013 when the ELR was rolled out.

As with the sales-challenged Chevy Volt, most of the media bought into the Cadillac ELR hype, calling it a potential “Tesla Killer.” Priced at about $76,000, the ELR ran a 0 to 60 time in an embarrassing 10 second range. Despite that, GM CEO Mary Barra had high hopes for the car. That is a fact that should make GM shareholders nervous.

Here’s what I said over two years …

Chevy Volt ‘Father’ Bob Lutz Changes Tune on Electric Vehicles

When Bob Lutz speaks, automotive journalists listen. Well, at least they usually do. When a recent Automotive News roundtable discussion showed Lutz blasting General Motors’ Chevy Bolt (and electric vehicles like it), mainstream journalists failed to pick up on the story. Lutz was right on the money when he exposed the EV folly, which is costing automakers billions of dollars and driving up prices of conventional, gas-powered vehicles.

Bob Lutz certainly has credibility in the automotive world. As an ex-GM executive he was known as the father of the Chevy Volt, a taxpayer-subsidized vehicle that I have had plenty of criticism for. Now that such a noted figure as Lutz has changed direction and is questioning the logic of lithium-ion battery technology, the automotive community should be taking notice.

So, since Lutz’s criticisms carry much more weight than my own, we can proceed to some of the bombshells that …

Barra’s Rosy Proclamations Should Embolden UAW

General Motors’ CEO, Mary Barra, continued to project a bright future for the automaker during a recent presentation to shareholders. The prognostication gave a rosy appraisement for financial estimates as far out as 2020, when Barra says GM will have between $9 billion to $10 billion in free cash flow. Her crystal ball also shows that electric cars will compete with gas-powered vehicles by 2022 and that global car sales will increase by 50% to 130 million by the year 2030.

It is very difficult to predict future profitability in the very cyclical auto industry, but GM is desperate to give its shareholders some hope. GM share price has far underperformed broader markets since the company’s 2010 IPO and still trades below the $33 offering price.  The S&P 500 index has gone up by about 70% compared to GM’s decline since trading began. Putting aside the fact that 2020 cash …

GM Should Listen to Marchionne’s Pitch

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ CEO Sergio Marchionne’s quest to merge his company with General Motors continues to garner attention and draw suggestions that GM might be shooting itself in the foot by ignoring the offer to talk. Two respected sources weighed in on the drama, most notably CNBC anchor and ex-hedge fund manager Jim Cramer who has lost confidence in GM management and dumped his shares of the company.

In a TheStreet.com piece, Cramer was rightfully complimentary of Marchionne’s talents. Marchionne is a savvy leader who took advantage of the Obama Administration’s desperation, lack of vision and poor negotiating skills during the 2009 auto bailout process when the Italian automaker was given a free stake in a sinking Chrysler corporation at the low point of the auto sales cycle. Cramer was also right on point with his criticism of GM CEO Mary Barra. From the piece:

As for Cramer, he said

GM Gambles $5 billion of Dwindling Cash Hoard on China

General Motors recently announced that it will spend $5 billion on a joint venture with Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor to develop vehicles for emerging markets. The announcement came around the same time that GM reported results for 2015 second quarter earnings, which showed cash and cash equivalents decreasing $2.2 billion in the first six months of the year. Marketable securities also declined by $2 billion during that time frame.

The decision by GM to spend another $5 billion of its diminishing so-called “cash hoard” on Chinese ventures is a risky move (particularly given China’s shaky markets recently) reeking of desperation by a management team that can’t seem to maintain the company’s share price above the 2010 IPO price of $33. GM stock has been hovering around the $31 range, which reflects a drop in value of approximately 6% during a roughly five year period when the broader S&P 500 index …

GM Hypes Yet Another “Tesla Killer” – the Chevy Bolt

General Motors seems intent on becoming the global leader in producing money-losing vehicles that attempt to compete with Tesla. The latest so-called Tesla Killer from GM is the Chevy Bolt and the hype is beginning with media articles such as With Jab at Tesla, GM Amps Up Chevy Bolt Promotion, Testing. GM shareholders need this latest sequel to the Tesla Killer series as much as movie aficionados need another sequel of Police Academy.

OK, I’m sure there are many fans of the b-rated Police Academy series, just as there are fans of the previous GM versions of Tesla Killers. The difference is, b-rated movies are produced with low budgets; not so with GM Tesla Killers. GM (and taxpayers) have spent billions of dollars to produce the initial series of much-hyped electric vehicles which were never a hit with mainstream consumers. That growing list of vehicles includes the Chevy Volt