It seems the promise of job creation for taxpayer funded green initiatives, such as the Chevy Volt development, is partially being kept. The only problem is that many of those jobs are going to China. General Motors confirmed last week that it would develop an electric vehicle platform in China. USA Today reports that GM Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky, stated that GM and Chinese auto company, SAIC, will develop a new electric vehicle that would draw upon the Chevy Volt's technology. Girsky also hinted that future Chevy Volts will be built in China in order to qualify for Chinese subsidies of about $19,000 per car. Girsky claims that neither China nor SAIC are demanding that GM share Volt technology. Whether they are demanding it or not, it is obvious that they will get it.
Not surprisingly the new partner - in a 50-50 joint venture with the state-run auto industry - is China. And also unsurprisingly, General Electric will join GM in a related partnership in the communist nation.
Media headlines about General Motors trumpet events that would lead one to believe that the company has successfully transformed itself into a self-sustaining, profitable American corporation. Readers are to believe that thousands of jobs are now being created at GM and the taxpayers are on their way to reaping the rewards of their so-called "investment" of $50 billion in an ownership stake of the company, even as Wall Street pricing of GM shares indicates otherwise. However, there is a portion of Americans who do not buy into the GM success story and now refuse to purchase vehicles from the company based on moral grounds.
The story of bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, has turned into a major scandal for the Obama Administration as questions arise about the government's free spending of taxpayer money on failing so-called green initiatives. A $535 million federal loan was initially rushed through for the company as Obama touted Solyndra as being a prime example of how the bold new green-energy driven economy would create jobs while saving the environment. Now the results bring into question how dangerous the green economy strategy may be.
The weakness of General Motor's management team regarding one of the most basic concepts of car sales has surfaced as the company tries to learn how to effectively market its vehicles. An article on thespec.com points out that GM's "Chevy Runs Deep" ad campaign has not resonated well with consumers. No big surprise there. Management, led by an Obama appointed non-car guy, CEO Dan Akerson, continues to try and sell cars through the use of ineffective ads that focus on patriotism and politically driven themes as opposed to focusing on specific product offerings.
It seems that what is new is old again at General Motors. New GM has rehired Old GM executive, Bob Lutz, to advise New GM executives on how to run a car company. Certainly, the new executives could use the help as GM share price has fallen about 40% year to date. While there are some negative aspects of having one of the leaders of a failed company giving advice on how to run the business, Mr. Lutz (unlike current GM leadership) at least knows the auto industry.
August sales figures for General Motors' much-hyped Chevy Volt came in at a paltry 302 units. While evidence mounts that consumer demand for the Volt is not what it was projected to be, GM continues to blame supply rather than demand for the dismal sales performance. Could the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are being funneled to GM for production of green vehicles be behind the continued misrepresentation of the Chevy Volt sales performance?
For the better part of a year there have been many assertions that the auto industry was on the road to recovery with optimistic projections of sky-rocketing vehicle sales as consumer demand was to return to pre-recession levels. At the time of General Motors' IPO less than a year ago, many reports circulated implying that the stock would be a sure win. One major financial TV network even started a campaign to have all taxpayers "benefit" by being allowed to participate in the IPO.
It looks like there will be a new group of individuals who lose out under the General Motors bankruptcy process. GM has decided not to take responsibility for defects in Chevy Impalas that predated its bankruptcy filing. Consumeraffairs.com reports that GM has asked a court to dismiss claims relating to faulty suspensions in more than 400,000 Chevys produced for model years 2007 and 2008. GM claims that it is not their problem, since they are "New" GM and the cars were built by "Old" GM.
A new report by USA Today offers further evidence that demand for the much-hyped Chevy Volt is not living up to the great expectations laid out by General Motors. Additional negative news includes an overheating charger fault and a power loss glitch, both of which were recently exposed. The USA Today piece cites a study by CNW Marketing that revealed that "prospects are starting to lose interest in the Volt."