By on December 3, 2010

It’s the policy of many automakers that you can’t get through the factory gate unless you drive something made by that company. If recent trends continue, GM’s largest stockholder will have to park outside and walk.

The U.S. government, now owning 33 percent after a pre-IPO 61 percent of GM, bought most of its cars from the competition. Bloomberg had to file a Freedom of Information request with the GSA until they handed over the data. This is what they received:

Ford 21,980
GM 21,440
Chrysler 13,063

More Fords than GMs!

There had been concerns that the government would buy GM and Chrysler to help itself. There are two theories why it did not:

“There was a paranoia that the government was going to buy GM and Chrysler models to help them out because they had a foot in the door,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive. Counter-psychology, aha. At TTAC, we don’t have much faith in IHS analyses. Another rationale makes more sense:

As mentioned by Ed a few days ago, the GSA has gone on a hybrid binge, snapping up almost a quarter of Detroit’s hybrids. The trouble is, GM doesn’t have too many hybrids. Ford sold at least 11,066 hybrids to the U.S. government in the past two years, compared with 3,316 for GM, which discontinued sales of its highest volume hybrid, the Chevrolet Malibu, last year.

Even if there would have been a conspiracy to buy mostly from Government Motors, the disjointed government bureaucracy would not have been able to pull it off, says government contract law specialist Jeff Green: “The government is so disaggregated that it would be hard to favor one company over another. I would have been really surprised if someone were able to game the system.”

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11 Comments on “U.S. Government: Owns GM, Buys Ford...”

  • avatar

    So, it’s a non-issue.

  • avatar

    With the government’s history of never knowing what’s best for anyone, I’d say this is actually bad news for Ford.

  • avatar

    And people actually believe that Ford has changed for the better.
    This report is proof that Ford is still the same old Ford we saw 20 years ago…one that STILL uses fleet sales (after they said they wouldn’t) to prop up the mediocre monthly sales reports.
    To quote Cinderella:
    “The more things change, the more they stay the same”
    Let me know when there is some actual change at Ford…not all of this smoke and mirrors garbage.

    • 0 avatar

      Sales to government agencies are not the same as sales to rental car companies. Government agencies don’t dump the vehicles on to the used car market within 18-24 months, thus depressing resale values. Government agencies will use the vehicle until it dies.

      There is nothing wrong with these sales, and Ford is wise to pursue them. GM would love to have them, but, given that these sales have been driven by a desire for hybrids, it must produce a competitive hybrid, an achievement that so far has eluded the company.

    • 0 avatar

      Dude, do you ever shut up? If you can read and comprehend you might have noticed why Ford had so many sales to the Feds: they have hybrids to sell, GM mostly doesn’t. Do you want a for profit business to turn down sales to the Government? Does that make sense? If GM had hybrid cars instead of trucks, those sales most likely would have gone to GM.

      You really need to get over your irrational GM love and Ford hatred. It’s making you look unreasonable. This was meant for Silvy by the way.

    • 0 avatar

      can’t we just get along.  Kumbiya

    • 0 avatar

      DO NOT FEED THE TROLL!!! Back under the bridge with you…

  • avatar

    I think the Ford Escape Hybrid is the wheels-of-choice for many politicos these days, which would help explain the reason Ford comes out on top.

    And let’s face it, nobody in the market does a better job of fleet sales than FoMoCo, particularly the types that Geeber identifies.

  • avatar

    450 and 550 level cab and chassis trucks are another area where GM loses because they don’t have an entry. The Silverado 3500 C&C tops out at 13,600lbs GVWR while the F-550 goes to 19,500lbs. Drive by any USFS facility and you’ll see the impact that deficit has on sales.

  • avatar

    The government installation where I worked went from owning all its own vehicles to using GSA cars – the exact mechanism – buying, leasing, or what is unknown to me. These vehicles seemed to me to be getting changed out every couple of years, rather than driven into the ground.

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