General Motors Over-Hyped Pension Move Doesn’t Help Liability Problem

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.

A Bloomberg Businessweek report notes Moody’s Senior Vice President Bruce Clark’s opinion that “When all is said and done, the company’s total underfunded pension liability will be reduced by only $1 billion.” Also noted is that GM will pump about $4 billion into the pension fund to achieve this reduction. Government Motors’ underfunded obligations will go to about $24 billion but is still headed in the wrong direction. The shortfall was less than $21 billion a year ago.

Another important fact overlooked by the “journalists” that cover GM is … Read More ➡

Nissan: Taxpayer Money Needed for Expensive Electric Cars

Ghosn photoHighlighting that electric vehicles are no more than a scheme to extract money from taxpayers rather than sell a viable product, the producer of a dismal-(but still highest) selling all-electric car in the U.S. confirmed they wouldn’t exist at all without government.

Francois Bancon, Nissan’s global general manager of product strategy and planning, could not have been more clear in a discussion with the media at the Australia launch of the all-electric Leaf. In the U.S., taxpayers are backing a $1.4 billion loan guarantee for Nissan to retrofit a Tennessee manufacturing plant to produce the Leaf.

“Yeah, [government support] is the key,” Bancon said in an interview reported by Web site Car Advice. “This technology is expensive; the car is expensive.

“Where we sell the best is where the governments offer their support…which is not only the incentive for the direct purchase, but also they are investing … Read More ➡

Non-Union Retirees Join “Hosed by GM Club”

The president of the GM Retirees Association, Jim Shepherd, sent a scathing letter last week to GM CEO, Dan Akerson. The letter was in response to General Motors’ decision to modify pension plans for non-union retirees. Mr. Shepherd stated that the non-union retirees wanted to express their “absolute consternation and disgust” and described the move by GM as not being only unfair but, “it is sheer irresponsibility and greed.”

So, on behalf of its many members, I now welcome the GM non-union retirees to the “Hosed by Government Motors Club.” As I mentioned when I welcomed Canadian taxpayers to the club, members of the club include former GM shareholders and bondholders, widows and other accident and asbestos litigants, owners of “Old” GM vehicles who did not have their vehicles’ problems covered by “New” GM, Indian tribes and others who have had their lands polluted by Old GM, Delphi Read More ➡

Why Some Americans Will Never Buy a GM Vehicle

I recently wrote about a boycott of General Motors’ products that was contributing to the company losing market share. The Heritage Foundation now has come out with a report that analyzes the wealth redistribution which occurred during the Obama Administration orchestrated GM bankruptcy process. This redistribution saw money taken from US taxpayers and GM bondholders and given to the politically powerful UAW. The unethical behavior at Government Motors, which has been occurring both during and since the bankruptcy process, gives reason enough to those paying attention to eliminate GM vehicles from the many quality choices offered to new car shoppers.

The Heritage Foundation report confirms what I have long expressed, which is that UAW members sacrificed little compared to other, less politically-favored groups. Even the allegedly corrupt and seldom honest ex-car czar, Steve Rattner, is quoted as stating, “We asked all the stakeholders to make very significant sacrifices. We should … Read More ➡

Akerson Admits GM Bankruptcy Not Well Thought Out

Akerson photoGeneral Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, discussed some of the issues plaguing GM’s share price in today’s Wall Street Journal. Akerson laments a bloated bureaucracy at Government Motors that has not greatly improved since the company’s 2009 bankruptcy process. Despite admitting that the bankruptcy was rushed through without proper planning, the Obama-appointed Akerson did not mention the continued UAW overhangs at the company.

Regarding an inherited bloated management structure at GM and the inefficiencies that went along with it, Akerson stated, “The good thing about our bankruptcy is that it took only 39 days. The bad news is that bankruptcy took only 39 days. If we had been there longer, people would have asked these questions and looked at these things.”

As a result of the Obama Administration being able to protect UAW interests in a rushed-through bankruptcy process, many of the underlying problems at GM were not addressed. Akerson … Read More ➡

Century-Old Electric Car Technology Still Doesn’t Sell

Jay Leno electric car

Enthusiasts can’t overcome their amazement at the innovation of electric cars – technology that is 100-plus years old. 

 In Friday’s edition of the Vancouver Sun, writer Andrew McCredie – who is tooling around in a modern, all-electric Nissan Leaf and blogging about it – marveled at the 1912 electric car produced by the Anderson Car Company, which was on public display at the local “Electrafest” over the weekend. McCredie, seemingly blinded by the nostalgia surrounding the car, ignored the obvious: that its cost, range, and efficiency illustrate that there has been no significant technological advancement, in practical terms for American usefulness, with today’s electric vehicles.

“Perhaps most amazing is that electric cars were, in fact, the norm back in 1912, as gasoline engines were still very much in their infancy…,” McCredie wrote. “This particular car was purchased new by a certain Dr. French in 1912 for the princely … Read More ➡

General Motors Still a Risky Bet for Retail Investors

GM stock price imageThe new General Motors will be turning three years old in early July. GM’s rocky childhood has given evidence to what disadvantage small investors are at when it comes to making educated equity investment choices. Let’s look at some of the lessons to be learned from one of history’s largest busted IPOs (along with the recent Facebook debacle) and consider the current underreported risk factors.

Let’s start by realizing that the single best indicator of how “successful” and healthy a publicly traded company is would be the company’s stock performance. Professional money managers and those that control the majority of the investment capital in the world have the best insights into how profitable a company is likely to be in the future. When big investment houses underwrite IPOs like GM or Facebook, it is likely that the shares will get positive ratings once the quiet period ends since those giving … Read More ➡

First Solar’s Crony Socialism is a Big Failure

First Solar Logo

Renewable-loving Los Angeles is showing that even the power of billions of dollars in taxpayer “stimulus” cannot overcome the dominant hand of government regulation, and ironically it’s costing President Obama more green jobs.

One of the darlings of the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, First Solar, has seen its stock price take a drubbing, laid off thousands of workers, and left its leadership – with significant influence from Walmart’s Walton familyscrambling to save the company. The latest stumble has led to another setback of worker inactivity at First Solar’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project in California, approximately 75 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, despite $646 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans. At issue is a disagreement with Los Angeles County safety inspector over electrical installations and whether they meet standards.

According to one “Green tech” Web site, approximately half of the workers … Read More ➡

Walmart Withdraws from ALEC, Wallows in Bribery Scandal

Mike Duke photoIn an unsurprising, capitulatory move last week, Walmart joined several other major companies and withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advances the principles of free markets and limited government at the state level through legislative idea exchanges.

The move preceded Friday’s annual shareholder meeting, in which executives emphasized their commitment to principles of integrity. That came into question especially since April, when the New York Times revealed that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in order to expedite building permits and other favors in Mexico.

A number of investors and pension funds attempted to remove some Walmart directors from the board, including CEO Mike Duke (in picture), former CEO Lee Scott, and S. Robson “Rob” Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton. Because the family holds nearly 50 percent of stock in the company, proposals they don’t support will always fail … Read More ➡

Chevy to Build Impalas, Malibus at Underutilized Volt Plant

Volt asembly lineCBC News reports that an Ontario General Motors’ plant where Chevy Impalas and Equinoxes were built will be closed down, costing Canadians around 2,000 jobs. GM reportedly plans to partially move production of the Impala to its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. You may remember the Hamtramck site from the Chevy Volt commercial which trumpeted the building of Volts there. It now seems that low demand for the Volt has led to the plant having enough time to build other, conventionally-powered vehicles. While the Volt may have been the car GM “had to build,” it appears that consumers would “prefer” them to build cars like the Impala.

It is also reported that GM will build 2013 Chevy Malibus at the Chevy Volt plant. The additional tasks will give workers that produce the low-selling Volt something to do, other than stay home on paid leave as they have had to do … Read More ➡

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