Chevy Volt Sales Plunge – Obama’s Flagship EV a Failure

Obama and VoltThe Chevy Volt has inarguably been the poster child for President Obama’s push to electrify America’s auto fleet. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to produce and subsidize the plug-in electric car. For years we have heard about the supposedly amazing technology for the Volt which would lead America to energy independence, be a “game-changer” for General Motors and provide a multitude of new green jobs. Proclamations were made that supply for the wonder-car could not keep up with the demand. Well, March’s sales figures are in and give further confirmation that the lofty claims were all lies.

March’s sales for the Chevy Volt plunged over 35% from last year to a paltry 1,478 units. To put that in perspective, that’s about one Volt sold every two months per dealership. The number is also down from an only slightly less paltry 1,626 sales in February. GM’s excuses for the … Read More ➡

No April Fools: Obama’s Green Energy Stimulus is Officially a Joke

Three Stooges photoPresident Obama’s alternative energy “stimulus,” administered through his Department of Energy by previous Secretary Steven Chu, had already become a joke because of the failures and foibles of so many recipients of Recovery Act funds. But now – as though officially commemorating the absurdity of this historically bad U.S. government program – one of its bankrupt beneficiaries has changed its name from one of simplicity to one of mockery.

Electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems has changed its name to B456 Systems. Incorporated.

Reporting the development, headline writers across the nation rubbed their eyes, double-checked the wire information, and then – especially realizing how close they were to April Fool’s Day – had to add extra assurance to the breaking news.

For the Boston Herald, where A123 was headquartered near MIT, it was this:

A123 Systems changes name to B456 (seriously)

The Milwaukee Read More ➡

GAO: Bad Publicity Scaring Prospects Away from Stimulus Money

MoneyThe publicity surrounding President Obama’s failed strategy to stimulate the economy, by putting clueless manager Steven Chu in charge of the Department of Energy’s lending activities, has become so bad that few “green energy economy” entrepreneurs want to accept taxpayer money any more.

That’s according to a report published earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office, which reviewed DOE’s loan programs for a briefing to both the House and Senate’s Appropriations subcommittees on Energy. Amusingly though, the Web site of DOE’s Loan Programs Office still calls itself “The Financing Force Behind America’s Clean Energy Economy.” The minor blip that undermines that premise is that DOE is having trouble getting someone to borrow $55 billion.

GAO’s director for Natural Resources and Environment, Frank Rusco, undertook an audit/investigation that evaluated three types of DOE loans: the 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing programs. The 1705 program backed … Read More ➡

Will Politics or Law Govern Upcoming Ruling on GM Creditor Case?

There has been an important story brewing over the past several months regarding General Motors’ flawed bankruptcy process that has been widely ignored by the media. GM may have to readdress its 2009 bankruptcy settlement due to a lawsuit by a group of GM creditors against hedge funds over a settlement involving the company’s Nova Scotia debt. The creditors brought to light the fact that the company did not have its ducks in a row at the time of its 2009 bankruptcy filing and allege that GM was still in the middle of backroom negotiations with hedge funds beyond the deadline. A court decision is now imminent.

Essentially, the dealings should have been finalized and reviewed by presiding judge Robert Gerber but were not properly disclosed. This is no small matter and it is estimated that the cost to GM could be about a billion dollars, which was approximately the … Read More ➡

I’ve Had My Last Cup of Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks coffee cupAt the Starbucks annual meeting on March 20, CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder named Tom Strobhar to sell his stock if he disagreed with the company’s embrace of gay marriage.

Shareholders do have this prerogative. That is the beauty of securities markets. But the issue is not so simple. Institutional investors now own the majority of shares of publicly-held companies traded on U.S. exchanges. Many people own stock through mutual and pension funds, overseen by professional managers. As a practical matter, lots of Starbucks shareholders do not have the opportunity to easily sell their stock.

But there is a larger issue. Why is one of the world’s biggest and most widely admired companies taking sides on such a controversial issue? If Schultz can tell shareholders who disagree with him to take a hike, doesn’t this necessarily extend to customers, partners and employees? After all, these relationships are voluntary, too.… Read More ➡

Apple’s 100-Percent Renewable Claim Fails the Sunlight Test

green Apple logoApple, Inc. has grown into a widely admired and one of the most valuable companies in the world, producing terrific products that generate long waiting lines every time a new innovation is announced. You would think executive leadership would not feel the need to bow to environmental pressure groups to appear it is eco-friendly.

But apparently acceptance by the likes of Greenpeace, and a warm reception at Silicon Valley liberals’ cocktail parties, still ranks high in importance in the corner offices in Cupertino, Calif. – even though their boastful claims aren’t true.

The latest example surrounds Apple’s absurd assertion that its electricity-sucking data centers, which support services like cloud computing and iTunes, are powered completely by renewable energy. Why the Mac-makers would brag about a phony achievement that is so easily debunked makes you wonder how smart they really are.

“Our goal is to power every facility at Apple … Read More ➡

What Twinkies Can Teach Us About GM

TwinkiesBin Laden is dead and Twinkies are alive! That might have been the rallying cry if we were in an election year and if the Bakers Union was deemed as important as the UAW to the parties seeking reelection. But the Obama Administration is not as dependent on smaller unions, like the Bakers Union, for contributions and votes. That fact allowed the Hostess bankruptcy to proceed in an unimpeded manner in which such processes were designed to.

It was recently reported that the Hostess bankruptcy would not lead to the end for brands like Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and a bunch of others. The initial filing brought speculation that Twinkies would disappear forever as panic set in for junk food enthusiasts and lead to boxes of the iconic brand being hoarded by many. The outcome can give us some insight into how the General Motors bailout could have been handled … Read More ➡

Will GM Buy Back Ally Financial on the Cheap?

GM Ally logosI recently wrote about how government-owned Ally Financial was the only big bank that failed the Federal Reserve’s stress test and how that ties in to General Motors’ operations. The bailed-out bank formerly known as GMAC received about $17 billion of taxpayer money as part of the auto bailout (aka bankruptcy) process. It is now possible for GM, which relies on the auto lending unit of Ally Financial, to buy back the best segment of the bank on the cheap after taking advantage of the taxpayer largesse that saved the lender.

The Obama Administration has received criticism for its lack of vision for Ally as Treasury has given no indication that it would end the government’s intrusion into the private sector by selling its Ally stake. Since GM sold off most of its Ally / GMAC holdings (which was required for Ally to get a taxpayer handout) and the government … Read More ➡

Bailed-Out Ally Financial Only Bank to Fail Stress Test

GM Ally logosThe Federal Reserve’s latest round of stress tests for the banking industry showed only one bank remaining on a shaky financial foundation. That bank was government-owned Ally Financial (the bailed-out company formerly known as GMAC), which also happens to be General Motors’ prime source for financing.

GM divested itself of GMAC so that the struggling lender could be classified as a bank holding company and receive billions of taxpayer dollars. In a move to distance itself from GM, the company was renamed Ally Financial. The government maintains majority ownership of Ally Financial, which in turn has helped GM by financing retail sales and dealership inventories.

GM is the only major automaker without its own captive financing arm. Bailed-out Chrysler recently cut the umbilical cord which maintained the flow of taxpayer-funded financial assistance from government-owned Ally by reaching a deal with Spain’s Banco Santander so that it could have in-house lending … Read More ➡

Save Billions by Ending Electric Vehicle Subsidies for Wealthy

Akerson and VoltIf the White House and Congress are looking for a place to cut, how about ending the $7,500 electric vehicle (EV) tax credit for those making over $200,000 a year?

The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that federal EV subsidies will cost taxpayers about $7.5 billion over the next few years. The majority of those buying costly “green” vehicles, like General Motors’ Chevy Volt, are making far more money than the average American. Why should those that can afford to buy these green toys get reimbursed $7,500 each as the nation is going broke?

Does anyone really think that the dismal electric car sales will get that much worse if we remove the handouts? I believe most of the ideological and rich folks who buy a $40,000 Volt, much less a $100,000 Tesla or Fisker, would have bought the car even without the subsidies. Isn’t it time to transition … Read More ➡