8:42 AM, Apr 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The administration’s enthusiasm for GM extended to its electric car, the Chevy Volt. President Obama once said he’d like to drive one when he leaves office and no reason he couldn’t. There’s lots of inventory lying around.
The company couldn’t sell the car for reasons that are fairly obvious anywhere outside of Washington: it costs an arm and a leg. Washington tried to fix that in the usual ways, cash rebates and such. The government even bought some Volts. But the car never sold in the numbers that GM had confidently predicted it would and 18 months ago, as Reuters reported, the company was:
losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds … with cheap Volt lease offers ... some Americans [were] paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.
Which is the sort of thing that leads one to believe that GM and the government are a perfect fit.
The company did not give up, however, and now:
Hoping to boost demand for its slow-selling Volt hybrid, Chevrolet is planning to sell two versions of the redesigned 2016 Volt, including a lower-priced model with a smaller battery pack and shorter driving range.
As Paul Lienert and Bernie Woodall of Reuters report:
Chevrolet has sold just 58,158 Volts since the car went on sale 39 months ago, despite price cuts and heavy discounting. In comparison, the best-selling Ford F-series pickup last month sold more than 70,000.
Given the economics, it is probably a good thing the Volt hasn’t sold. It might have driven the company into another bankruptcy.
10:14 AM, Apr 2, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The new CEO of the new General Motors testified yesterday before Congress and said that she is “deeply sorry” about the company’s negligence in selling cars that came standard with a flaw that could kill you. The company knew. A government regulatory agency knew. And if the administration of President Obama did not know, then one is inclined to wonder why not and go to the only possible explanation, which is incompetence. The administration rescued the company from bankruptcy, after all, using billions of taxpayer dollars. Should it not have taken a careful look at what the money was buying?
11:22 AM, Mar 31, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The script is familiar. General Motors’ top executive heading down to Washington to be grilled by Congress. As Joseph B. White of Market Watch reports, fifty years after the Corvair controversy that made Ralph Nader a household name:
3:46 PM, Mar 12, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Two car companies – Toyota and GM – some of whose vehicles are having engineering problems serious enough to be a safety risk and require massive recalls. One is investigated by Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while the other is not … until very recently, that is. Toyota, the company that did face government investigation and sanctions is, of course, not even an “American” corporation. GM is. And was, for a time, a ward of the state.
10:12 AM, Dec 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The American taxpayers stand to lose billions as General Motors today announced a plan to buy back 40 percent of the company owned by the federal government.
9:00 AM, Nov 5, 2012 • By EDWARD NIEDERMEYER
The auto bailout debate, already a triumph of narrative over reality, took another turn for the absurd last week as both presidential campaigns exchanged salvos over what amounted to a misunderstanding about Chrysler's plan to build Jeeps in China.
2:07 PM, Sep 4, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Today is the first day of the Democratic convention in Charlotte. Coincidentally, GM, the embattled car company that was bailed out by the federal government, has some good news to report.
Sep 10, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 48 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
If you missed Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention last week and tried to play catch-up the next morning, you could be forgiven for concluding that nothing the Wisconsin congressman said was true.
Twelve hours after the speech, Josh Marshall, editor of the liberal Talking Points Memo, popular among journalists, asked: “Will the Paul Ryan Lying Thing Break Through in the Mainstream Press?”
Um, yes. It would.
11:24 AM, Aug 14, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Not so hot, it seems. First, there is the simple matter of costs.
The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That's 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.
1:27 PM, Jun 5, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mitt Romney maintains that "President Barack Obama is holding on to the government's stake in General Motors to avoid an embarrassing financial loss before the election, and says he'd sell the stock quickly if he wins the White House," according to the Detroit News, which recently interviewed the Republican presidential candidate.
1:01 PM, May 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking in Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden admitted that auto workers lost jobs because of actions taken by the Obama administration:
3:00 PM, May 3, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Detroit Free Press reports that “General Motors made $1 billion in the first quarter, beating analysts’ expectations before being dragged down by a special accounting-related $590-million charge in struggling Europe.”
2:56 PM, Aug 18, 2011 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Just to close the loop on President Obama’s claim that GM is “now making a profit for the first time in decades,” reader D.B. sent along GM profit-loss statements from 1990 to 2000.
5:21 PM, Aug 17, 2011 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Yesterday I pointed to President Obama’s
alarmingly statist “reasonable” view of his government’s handling of Chrysler and GM. But in focusing on Obama’s ideology, I missed the bigger story. To refresh, here’s what Obama said: