GM’s Mysterious Earnings Report

General Motors reported earnings today that appeared non-eventful on the surface. Upon further inspection there are some underlying concerns, including a glaring one-time event that stands out. That is an adjustment to earnings with a tax benefit (as opposed to paying taxes) of $35 billion for a “deferred tax valuation release.” This was coupled with a goodwill impairment charge of about $27 billion, which allows GM to reduce the previously unusually high goodwill assets that were recorded on its balance sheet.

GM uses non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) to calculate its calendar year operating income of $7.9 billion. The GAAP number does not allow the tax benefit and is a bit more troubling at a LOSS of $30.4 billion. I do not claim to be an accountant, but the huge numbers thrown around here could be a concern and should be further investigated. My understanding of the tax benefit, in … Read More ➡

Malibu Lags Competition as GM Maintains Green Focus

Perhaps General Motors should have put more focus on competing in the largest segment of the auto market instead of focusing on being the market leader in the least popular, plug-in, electric vehicle (EV) field. A Detroit Free Press article reported that GM had to slash Chevy Malibu prices by hundreds of dollars to try and catch up with vehicles like the Toyota Camry, which is currently eating the Malibu’s lunch.

Chevy spokesman Michael Albino is quoted as admitting that, “The midsize segment is the largest and most competitive in the industry.” Maybe GM should have realized that when they spent so much time and money hyping the Chevy Volt instead of building the most competitive car that they could in the best-selling, midsize field. In fact, the Toyota Camry (built in America), which is the market leader in the segment, sold 31,897 units in January to make it the … Read More ➡

Toyota and Nissan Shift From Electric Vehicles; Death Knell for Chevy Volt?

According to Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, “Because of its shortcomings – driving range, cost and recharging time – the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars; we need something entirely new.” Uchiyamada is considered the “father of the Prius.”

An article by Reuter’s exposes the limitations of EVs and focuses on Toyota’s, along with Nissan’s, change in strategy, which is now moving away from EVs. Even the most ideological and extreme green energy proponents and backers of the Chevy Volt will have to open their eyes to the sad truth uncovered by the latest report.

The truth is that the technology of lithium-ion based, pure electric vehicles is not the most efficient manner to power motor vehicles. This is something that has been said before by many credible sources. In fact, I previously reported that auto industry executives and engineers voiced similar concerns. Even … Read More ➡

Dismal Sales for Chevy Volt in January

Chevy Volt Akerson photoJanuary’s dismal numbers for Chevy Volt sales may give a clue as to how successful (or not) President Obama will be in reaching his goal of having a million electric vehicles (EVs) on American roads within the next few years, a goal that is increasingly becoming unlikely. It also gives us a glimpse into a bizarre strategy General Motors has had by focusing so strongly on plug-in cars while they lose market share elsewhere. The numbers are in, and GM can proudly say that they are the market leader in an insignificant field with a paltry 1,140 Volts sold in January. The best selling passenger car on the road, the Toyota Camry, sold 31,897 during the month, giving an indication of how illogical GM’s misguided focus has been.

GM’s lame reasoning for the post-election lows (actually, the lowest since February of 2012) for Volt sales is that consumers pulled sales … Read More ➡

Lobbying Muscle and Green Agenda Blinded Boeing to Reality

Boeing 787 DreamlinerWith the revelation that All Nippon Airways replaced defective lithium ion batteries 10 times, Japan Air Lines replaced “quite a few,” and United Airlines replaced “multiple batteries,” in the months preceding the smoke emergency that grounded their Dreamliners, is there anything that can be said about the technology that can overcome its now-horrible reputation?

Boeing has worked on the 787 for 10 years or so, with an ample amount of time to determine what kind of battery technology would be functional with the “super-efficient” jet with “exceptional environmental performance.” Had the Chicago-based manufacturer –and its airline customers – concerned themselves more with achievable plans that built on proven fossil-fuel designs and economic sensibility rather than appeasement of environmental activists, and the accompanying millions of dollars in government subsidies for such, they might not be burning through millions of dollars in costs and lost productivity due to idle airplanes … Read More ➡

TARP Watchdog Blasts Treasury on Bailouts

GM logo/ObamaA watchdog for the government’s bailout program, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), has hit the US Treasury Department with a hard combo of critique regarding some of the Administration’s actions since pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into bailed-out companies like General Motors and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC). SIGTARP issued a report lambasting Treasury for allowing excessive pay for executives at GM, Ally Financial and AIG and followed that with statements that scrutinized Treasury’s continued refusal to exit its stake in Ally Financial, which is currently 74% owned by the government.

The Detroit News quotes the SIGTARP report as stating, “While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, the U.S. Department of the Treasury continues to allow excessive … Read More ➡

Will Departing Duke CEO Rogers Officially Join the Obama Team?

Jim Rogers and windmill photoNow that he’s been forced out as chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, James Rogers is apparently looking for something else to do, and may now be more receptive to the idea of becoming President Obama’s next Secretary of Energy.

The new speculation, primarily from the Charlotte Business Journal, which is based in Duke’s home city, arose following an interview that Rogers did with Bloomberg News while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Whereas Rogers used to routinely dismiss suggestions that he might be up for a cabinet post, when asked this time by Bloomberg reporter Tom Keene what he would bring to the job if the president asked him to serve, he was unhesitant.

“What I would bring is someone that’s been in the industry a long time and understands the importance of getting the balance right between cheap, affordable energy and meeting our … Read More ➡

Boeing Battery Quick Fix May Be Elusive

The crisis that has enveloped Boeing over the grounded Dreamliner, at a cost of billions of dollars in losses in addition to what has already been “invested” in it  — voluntarily by its owner/investors and coercively from taxpayers – exemplifies perhaps more than any other redistributionist corporatism scheme why government intervention is more headache than help.

Pass the industrial-strength Excedrin.

Of immediate concern to the Chicago-based jet-manufacturer is the lithium-ion battery that powers so many of the 787’s critical functions. Two instances of “thermal runaway” on Dreamliners’ owned by Japan-based airlines caused that country, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, to suspend their use pending investigations. Other flaws since July such as cracked engines, damaged cockpit windows, and fuel leaks have compounded concerns.

But the scare factor surrounding the battery is the biggest deal.

“This is an unprecedented event,” said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety … Read More ➡

Union and Taxpayer-Owned GM Accused of Mistreating South American Workers

There are a couple of little-noticed news stories on General Motors that belie the success narrative that portrays GM as a robust and growing corporation that is rewarding its workers around the globe. Both stories revolve around GM’s South American operations, one involving injured Colombian GM workers who allegedly lost their jobs after being hurt at work and who are now on hunger strikes; the other centers on a strike by Brazilian GM workers who are protesting job cuts there.

The allegation of abusive treatment to Colombian workers is the more disturbing of the two affairs and warrants more coverage from the media than has been given. According to reports, workers at a plant in Bogotá, Colombia work under abysmal conditions and it is typical of GM to fire workers that are injured there who can no longer perform their jobs. Some of those desperate ex-workers took the extreme step … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Green Technology Hobbling Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner?

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was a guest last night on the Willis Report on Fox Business Network. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis: The recent string of battery fires on Boeing 787 Dreamliners could be traced to one thing says my next guest. You can simply point the finger at the government’s obsession with pushing green energy. Paul Chesser, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policies Center joins me now. Paul, welcome back to the show. You know, it occurred to me that we are reporting on this Boeing story all wrong. All the reporting just talks about the fires. It never goes back to this idea that companies like Boeing are being pushed very hard by governments all over the world to make these green products. Whether they are ready for the market or not.

Paul Chesser: Right. … Read More ➡

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