Some truths are so obvious that they cannot be denied. But that doesn't stop General Motors and politically-motivated cheerleaders for the Chevy Volt from trying. In the case of the Volt, the truth is that this car has been a dismal failure when considering the amount of hype and taxpayer money that has been spent to produce the supposed green wonder-car. Let's review just how wrong GM CEO, Dan Akerson, has been regarding sales projections for the Volt and how he refuses to take accountability for GM's blunders.
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.
On Tuesday the heavily subsidized electric vehicle battery manufacturer released its latest financial bad news, but also disclosed that it also had a potential buyer – from China. According to media reports, just as A123 reported another $82.9 million in second-quarter losses, good news also magically materialized as Wanxiang Group Corp. was announced as a new investor. A123 had reported recently to the Securities and Exchange Commission that its ability to continue as a viable company was “a going concern.”
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.
General 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.
Well, 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."
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.
General Motors has announced a 60 day money back guarantee policy for all new Chevy models, including the Chevy Volt. The move sets up a scenario where purchasers can buy a Volt, claim the $7,500 federal tax credit (and most likely state credits) and return the vehicle for a refund within 60 days. Did GM really not consider this glitch, or is this just another way for Government Motors to prop up politically important Volt sales leading up to November elections?
It's time, once again, to clarify a major misrepresentation by General Motors and the media. That is the implication that the recently announced move to modify a portion of non-union pensions will result in an improvement of $26 billion to GM's pension shortfall. GM shares are down about 5% since the announcement, bringing into question the accuracy of the rosy projections.