Now Wall Street analysts are wondering the same thing, and the beleaguered lenders at the Department of Energy must be deeply concerned about what they will do next. As Forbesreported yesterday, the close ties between the two speculative companies could produce “two Solyndras for the price of one."
In the words of Yogi Berra, it looks like déjà vu all over again as General Motors plans to "relaunch" the Chevy Volt. Just in case you missed the first rollout that saw certain financial news networks dedicate loads of airtime to help GM build the hype surrounding a vehicle that was to be a savior for GM as support was garnered for a taxpayer bailout and subsequent IPO, we now get a second take on the failed first production.
Among the objections about taxpayer subsidies for the high-profile Chevy Volt, manufactured by Government Motors, is that the many grants, loans and tax breaks that lowered the sticker price on the electric hybrid car facilitated its (paltry) sales for the benefit of wealthier individuals who were purchasing it – those with average annual salaries of $170,000. So can you imagine how happy the affluent customers (like Leonardo DiCaprio) of the heavily subsidized, $102,000 electric Fisker Karma are, to be able to purchase their gimmicky sports sedan at a discount, with a $7,500 tax credit to boot?
Some very humorous (if not cost-effective) ads were exhibited by General Motors during this year's Super Bowl game. GM continues to freely spend its stockpile of taxpayer supplied cash reserve as it even aired a spot touting the Chevy Volt. At a cost of $3.5 million for a 30 second spot the expense equals about 15% of the total revenues GM brought in during the entire month of January for the Volt when sales fell to a dismal level of 603. What is the reasoning behind spending so much to advertise a vehicle that sells in such small numbers and is not profitable if not political? But the ad that may lead to more controversy than the Volt folly was the one in which GM claims their trucks are more dependable than Ford's; a claim that is highly debatable and not backed by studies at Consumers Reports (CR).
Well-respected car guy and General Motors supporter, Bob Lutz, posted a piece on Forbes that attacked "right-wing" criticism of the Chevy Volt. With all due respect and noting that I have nowhere near the credentials of Mr. Lutz, I feel it appropriate to respond to the ridiculous defense that we have seen of a vehicle that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars while offering little in return. I also have some questions of my own for Mr. Lutz and GM.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 08:58
NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica last night discussed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of the Chevy Volt fires with Gerri Willis on the Fox Business Network. Here's a transcript:
Back during the days of General Motors' bankruptcy proceedings, media reports cited the many "sacrifices" made by the politically favored UAW. I have long wondered what these many sacrifices were, as UAW members seem to be doing pretty well since the GM bankruptcy. One such "sacrifice" was a supposed agreement that the UAW could not go on strike at GM until after 2015, as mentioned in this Bloomberg piece, and accepted as fact by all media sources. I questioned this assertion in a piece I wrote in December of 2010, but as has been the case with much of the coverage of GM, the potential GM deception was left unchallenged by auto journalists and the mainstream media. Recent reports of a strike authorized by GM UAW workers in Kansas now raise the question of if my suspicions were correct that there are no binding agreements to prevent strikes at GM plants.
General Motors' CEO, Dan Akerson, is scheduled to testify at congressional hearings on the NHTSA delay in reporting Chevy Volt fires. GM and the government agency waited about five months to report an incident involving a Volt which erupted in flames weeks after a crash-test. Up to this point, Akerson has not exactly been honest about the Volt; can we now expect him to come clean?
For electric vehicle enthusiasts with the “if you build it, they will come” mentality, who endorse endless taxpayer subsidies for plug-in automobiles and infrastructure to charge them, there’s bad news this week.
Last week the Detroit News reported that NHTSA claimed that the White House had nothing to do with the agency's delay in disclosing its Chevy Volt fires to the public. Supposedly, NHTSA contacted the White House three months after the Volt fires and waited another two months before releasing the information to the public. Whether or not the Obama Administration is being honest about its involvement in NHTSA's Chevy Volt investigation, it is clear that we are in an unprecedented situation with the President of the US having his reelection chances largely tied to the success of General Motors, which was once an icon of American industry but now epitomizes taxpayer bailouts, crony capitalism and political theater.