Romney Wants Reexamination of GM Bankruptcy Process

The Detroit News reports that Mitt Romney wants a reexamination of the General Motors’ bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Romney is quoted as stating, “I think it’s important for us to go back and look at what happened and take apart this bankruptcy process. See to what extent the finger of politics was placed on the scales of justice and see if we can’t be more fair to the people involved in this process.” I agree with the sentiment, but I do have to ask, where were the Republicans on this issue over two years ago?

Three years ago I served with a group called the Main Street Bondholders who went to Washington to present the case of individual bondholders who were discriminated against throughout the GM bankruptcy process. Most members were retired senior citizens who were not amongst the top 1% of income earners in the US and relied upon income … Read More ➡

Can Taxpayer-Subsidized Battery Maker A123 Survive?

A123 logoThe taxpayer-funded ($279 million) battery supplier that gave big raises and parachutes to its executives shortly after it cut “Green jobs” at its Michigan factories, reported last week it would suffer big losses again for 2011.

A123 Systems, whose fortunes were entwined with those of electric vehicle startup manufacturer Fisker Automotive, also announced it would look to China and India in order to survive.

A123 also received grants and tax credits from Michigan that could total more than $135 million.

The company said it would realize a loss of $257.7 million for last year, compared to the $152.6 million in losses for 2010. A123, which received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy to refurbish plants in Livonia and Romulus, Mich. (plus another $30 million sub-grant for another energy storage project), has never been profitable. 

A123 is an investor in Fisker, which had its own $529 Read More ➡

GM-Funded EV Company Gives Up on DOE Loan, Ends Operations

bright automotive

In administrating its stimulus-fed loan and grants programs, the Department of Energy has been accused of incompetence, carelessness, recklessness, and cronyism. Now it can add inconsistency to those distinguishing characteristics.

Last week Bright Automotive, an electric vehicle start-up company that General Motors helped two years ago with an investment of at least $5 million from its venture capital arm, gave up hope on winning a $450 million loan from DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. As the company announced the withdrawal of its loan application and that it would end operations, CEO Reuben Munger and COO Mike Donoughe sent (and released to the media) a letter to DOE Secretary Steven Chu that sharply criticized the loan programs processes and outlined their frustrations. 

“Bright has not been explicitly rejected by the DOE,” the Bright executives wrote, “rather, we have been forced to say ‘uncle….’”

“Last week we received the fourth ‘near … Read More ➡

GM Chevy Volt Halt Confirms Green Energy Policy Failure

Volt photoI hate to beat a dead Edsel, but the Chevy Volt story is just too important to let slip away. After last week’s announcement by General Motors that it would be temporarily halting production of the Chevy Volt due to low demand, you would think that the evidence would finally be conclusive that the over-hyped, over-subsidized vehicle is a flop. The response by GM and lack of same from the Obama-loving media is worthy of continued criticism from those of us who have recognized that taxpayers have been bilked out of billions of dollars to produce a car that does practically nothing for the environment or foreign oil dependence while being unwanted by the 99% of consumers that can not afford, nor want the car. In fact, most 1 percenters don’t want the car either.

Americans should closely follow the Chevy Volt saga, as it epitomizes the crony capitalism, deception … Read More ➡

Millions Spent on Ads Does Little for Chevy Volt Sales

Volt/AliensIt looks like there is plenty of inventory of Chevy Volts available for those aliens that seemed to be so impressed with the car on Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately for General Motors, earthlings do not seem as enamored with President Obama’s favorite vehicle. Despite GM spending millions of dollars during the month to advertise the taxpayer subsidized Volt, only 1,023 sold in February.

The pitiful sales number is not stopping the ridiculous headlines on the web by proponents of the Volt. One reads, “Chevy Volt Sales Sizzle” as others brag about the car outselling the even more dismally selling Nissan Leaf. One shill site stated that the Volt outsold the Leaf by a “massive” margin of 545 units. Given the fact that GM outspent Nissan by millions of dollars on ads, we can guesstimate the added advertising cost per additional vehicle sold at about $10,000. In addition to the ad … Read More ➡

Surprise! Another DOE Solar ‘Bet’ Produces Green Job Losses

Abound logo

Yet another solar company that received loan guarantees from the Department of Energy has dismissed factory workers, lopping off 70 percent of its U.S. employees. Loveland, Colo.-based Abound Solar announced Tuesday it would lay off 280 workers at its production plant near Longmont, leaving 120 still employed. The start-up (2009) company attributed the cutbacks to the need for upgrades at the plant to manufacture more efficient solar panels, with plans to restore production levels and rehire most employees within six to nine months.

“Hopefully at the end of that time period we will bring people back,” said Steve Abely, Abound’s Chief Financial Officer, to the Boulder Daily Camera

DOE’s $400-million loan guarantee to Abound closed in December 2010, after President Obama delivered a weekly message a few months earlier hyping his jobs plan in a “clean energy economy,” in which he cited his plans for Abound:

Energy Secretary Steven ChuRead More ➡

Obama-Supporting Law Firm Advised on Failed Fisker Loan

A123 logo

An international law firm, which gave substantial political donations to President Obama and fellow Democrats over the last three campaign cycles, received its own significant stimulus award to advise on a controversial Department of Energy loan transaction with a struggling electric vehicle manufacturer.

The firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLC, received $1,842,180 in Recovery Act funds to provide legal advice, conduct due diligence, and review documents for two loans from DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. One $529 million loan award was to Fisker Automotive to develop and produce two lines of electric vehicles, with plans to create 2,000 new jobs at a renovated General Motors plant in Delaware. After receiving $193 million under that loan, DOE halted payments to Fisker in May 2011 after it failed to reach milestones set out in the agreement. Work on renovations to the Delaware plant was suspended, and the company … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Gas Savings: Myths and Reality

There has been much written and said about the operating costs of the Chevy Volt. Proponents and critics have both been a bit deceptive on claims about just how much the Volt can save or cost you by mostly running on an electric charge before switching to gas. Snopes.com gives a fairly accurate picture of the true fuel savings in a recent analysis.

First, it is important to recognize that true operating cost consists of depreciation, insurance and maintenance as well as energy consumption. The high cost of the Volt puts it at an immediate disadvantage to conventionally powered vehicles. Even after federal and state tax giveaways, the vehicle costs about $15,000 more than comparable gas-powered cars. It is unlikely that the car will hold much of its value considering that improvements should be made in alternate vehicle technology (thus making the Volt obsolete within years) and the battery is … Read More ➡

Modica Criticizes Tax Credits to GM Dealers Selling Chevy Volts to Gov’t

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EXCLUSIVE: GM Dealers Get Chevy Volt Tax Credit for Sales to Gov’t

IRS for 8936

I discovered an interesting fact while reviewing the 2011 IRS form 8936 used for the $7500 EV tax credit. While under most circumstances it is the wealthy purchasers of Chevy Volts and other high priced plug-in vehicles that get the taxpayer-funded handout, it appears that General Motors’ dealerships that sell the vehicles to government entities are benefiting by being able to claim the credits. These dealers are able to double-dip into the seemingly endless pool of taxpayer funds designated for cronies of the Obama Administration under the guise of green initiatives. Not only do taxpayers pay for Chevy Volts purchased by various government “units,” the sellers can claim the credits which were designed to help individuals be able to afford the costly vehicles.

The instructions for form 8936 state, “If you are the seller of a qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle to a tax-exempt organization, governmental unit, or a … Read More ➡