It is mostly unanimous that Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl ad appearance was a stirring and emotional tribute to America and Detroit. The ad was heartfelt, despite the fact that bailed out Italian-owned auto company, Chrysler, paid for it. Unless NBC offered some significant discounts to their ad rates, the ad cost Chrysler about $14 million. Considering the political nature of the ad and the fact that Chrysler vehicles were not touted in the ad, I must ask the cynical question; what’s in it for Italian-owned Chrysler?
Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, is a pretty smart guy. I don’t think he would cavalierly spend $14 million just to pay tribute to America and Detroit. An article in Businessweek touches on one possible ulterior motive when it states, “Chrysler continues to seek low-interest loans from the U.S. Energy Department to develop and produce fuel-efficient cars. The company sought $3.5 billion in such loans … Read More ➡ “What’s Behind Eastwood’s Super Bowl Ad?”
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).
The ad … Read More ➡ “GM’s Dubious Super Bowl Ad Claims”
President Obama said in his State of the Union speech last month that he would not “walk away from the promise of clean energy,” and according to a Politico report, he “doubled-down” on the promise by highlighting (more) commitments to federal grants and incentives for wind energy, solar power and natural gas vehicles in quasi-campaign speeches out West.
“We’re not going to cede the wind industry or the solar industry or the battery industry to China or Germany because we’re too timid to make that same commitment here in the United States,” the president said at another appearance at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. “We’ve got to double down on a clean-energy industry that’s never been more promising.”
The president speaks as if these energy technologies would wither without government support. But last year USA Today reported that big companies were “aggressively” jumping into clean technology, with one … Read More ➡ “Green Tech Doesn’t Need Taxpayer ‘Investment’”
I recently questioned the existence of a binding “no-strike clause” that the media reported on back when General Motors was making a plea for its taxpayer-funded bailout. The claims were that the UAW could not strike at GM or Chrysler until 2015. UAW Communications Coordinator, Tom Brune, has responded and gave a bit of clarification as to what the so-called no-strike clause actually means.
The response by Mr. Brune is appreciated, but we still see this subject from two different points of view. My feeling is that the no-strike clause was misrepresented to the public and implied that UAW workers at GM could not strike until 2015. It seems Mr. Brune feels that the clause exists in the state of a National arbitration agreement as Local UAWs are required to have strikes approved by the International UAW and he requests that I “set the record straight.”
So here are some … Read More ➡ “UAW Weighs in on GM’s “No-Strike Clause””
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.
First, let’s address the claims that criticism of the Volt is political. Why do those that have different opinions than those supporting the tax subsidization of the Chevy Volt get vilified as right-wing agents with an ulterior motive? It is also the height of hypocrisy to complain about criticism of the Volt being political when the car itself has been nothing but about politics.
Let’s review the history of the … Read More ➡ “What’s Behind Lutz’s Chevy Volt Tirade?”
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 … Read More ➡ “Was UAW No-Strike Clause Another GM Bailout Deception?”
Federal tax credits, loan and grant programs that expired at the end of last year have plugged the financial flow that made so-called “renewables” and electric vehicles viable, so they are now shedding employees and going bankrupt, illustrating that the “clean” industry owed its existence solely to government.
Even with the government money, they are failing. Yesterday Indiana-based Ener1, an energy storage company that received $118.5 million from DOE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Despite plans to have 1,400 employees in Indiana by 2015, the company had downsized in the state from 380 to approximately 250 since March. Ener1’s stock price fell from more than $4 a share to under a dollar, and the company was booted from the NASDAQ stock exchange in October, when its stock was trading for less than 20 cents.
The Department of Energy seems to have no limit in its willingness to subsidize … Read More ➡ “Taxpayers Take Hit as Layoffs, Bankruptcies Plague Green Firms”
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?
A culture of deceit has been evident at GM since the Obama Administration orchestrated a manipulated bankruptcy process that favored the politically powerful UAW over other classes. It was during the time of the bankruptcy process that the Chevy Volt hype gathered steam as the public was presented with a green wonder-car that served as partial justification for using $50 billion of taxpayer money to bailout GM. While Akerson’s part in the story came later, the stage was set for the Volt to become … Read More ➡ “Will GM’s Akerson Come Clean on the Chevy Volt?”
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.
President Obama has been campaigning on a platform that touts the Administrations’ intrusion into the American auto industry as a bold success that saved millions of jobs. GM takes center stage as the … Read More ➡ “As Goes GM, So Goes Obama Reelection”
As the U.S. government Venture Capitalist-in-Chief (and President) Barack Obama and his Department of Energy investment guru (and Energy Secretary) Steven Chu pour other peoples’ money into their favorite “clean” technology schemes, private backers appear to be following them off the cliff, “as publicly traded battery makers watched their stocks tank and their businesses stumble,” according to a Dow Jones report late last month.
According to a Dow Jones-owned industry tracker called VentureSource, private investors put $372.7 million into 14 battery deals over the first three quarters of 2011. Whether they would have transferred so much cash into the otherwise shaky enterprises, without the government leading the way, is doubtful at best. But since the Obama administration wants to create “Green jobs” with a new energy economy, the fools have rushed in, ignoring the fact that government manipulation of industry only creates bubbles that eventually burst.
“Building a whole new … Read More ➡ “Energy Dept. Makes More Bad Bets with Taxpayer Money”