By on September 15, 2011

It is a regular occurrence. Every few months, the Lansing Senator Debbie Stabenow rushes to the aid of GM and Ford and defends them against the nasty Chinese. The problem is: GM and Ford don’t want or need her help.

Yesterday, Stabenow fired another of her regular letters to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and complained “about a recently reported Chinese trade practice that would be a clear violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.” Says the letter (full text here):

“China’s actions are part of a disturbing trend where China demands American advanced-technology product secrets in order for those products to be sold in the world’s second largest market. In contrast, the United States—the world’s largest market—follows the rules and allows Chinese products to be sold freely. Many Americans rightly believe that China is playing us for fools:  China gets to access our large market, while our products face numerous restrictions and outright intellectual property theft.”

There are a few troubles with Stabenow’s complaint.

One, Debbie does not know what Debbie is talking about. She has her information from the New York Times, which “recently reported that China is attempting to pressure American automakers, including General Motors and Ford, to transfer core technologies of their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to Chinese companies, in order for those vehicles to qualify for China’s clean energy vehicle incentive program.“ Don’t Senators usually have better sources? The CIA? The U.S. Embassy in Beijing? China Daily? Wikileaks?

Two, no official policies have been announced in China. It looks like China will be happy if foreign joint ventures will build Chinese EVs under “Chinese” brands to keep up Chinese appearances. Nobody is talking about handing over technologies.  And even that is unclear until the law is finally announced.

Three, both GM and Ford, signal desperately: “Please, stop helping us!”

Writes the Detroit News:

“Both GM and Ford said they have no plans to build electric vehicles in China.

Ford spokeswoman Meghan Keck said the matter wasn’t an issue for the company.

“We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s continued support of our industry. However, the issues she raised apply to electric vehicles, which we do not currently sell or produce in China,” Keck said.

GM spokesman Greg Martin said the company has no plans to build the Chevrolet Volt in China. “

Should’t Ms. Stabenow at least ask Ford and GM whether they require assistance from their Senator?

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30 Comments on “Ford And GM To Senator Stabenow: “Please, Stay Out Of This.”...”


  • avatar
    relton

    She’s running for reelection next year, in the most hostile climate for liberal democrats in a long time. She’s pandering to her base.

    What else is new?

    Bob

  • avatar
    Zackman

    China is stealing everyone’s technology just fine on their own, no outside or domestic help needed!

    Seeing the Volt pictured, I wonder how a Volt would work for my commute? Hmmm…I gassed up this morning and averaged 32.043 mpg with almost exclusive highway driving.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Damn, there are a lot of Volts out there

    http://www.cars.com/for-sale/new/chevrolet/volt/_/N-ma8Zfh1Zr0xZm5d?mkId=20053&mdId=35025&rd=100000&zc=00001&PMmt=1-1-0&stkTypId=28880&isDealerGrouping=false&rpp=50&feedSegId=28705&searchSource=SORT&crSrtFlds=stkTypId-feedSegId-mkId-mdId&pgId=2102&sf1Nm=price&sf1Dir=ASC&sf2Nm=location&sf2Dir=ASC

    How come nobody is buying them? I thought they were “sold out” and unattainable?

    Or maybe are people buying BMW’s, Audi, Lexus or C-classes with their 40 g’s.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I don’t know who said they were “sold out”, but they aren’t, as the link provided proves. However, Chevy initially planned for 10,000 Volt Sales in 2011, and only 3,172 have been sold.

      It’s my understanding that the Volt is still not available nationwide, though as of May, you can buy one in DC, NYC, California, Austin, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia.

      Those states, plus the Austin metro area, combine for about 99 million people, or 30% of the total US population. 3,172 is 31.7% of the projected 10,000 2011 sales.

      So by my very vague math, less than a third of the population live in a state where Volts are available, while less than a third of the 2011 sales target has been met. Coincidence?

      • 0 avatar
        Contrarian

        I know a guy in upstate NY that has 2 of them so they aren’t restricted to the city.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Labor Day weekend, Dominion Chevrolet/Buick/GMC had their first one on display. And I’ve seen one on the streets of Richmond since then. They’re starting to show up.

      • 0 avatar
        MonroeSS

        I think the Volt is getting people into Chevy dealerships, who wouldn’t have otherwise. Then these people realize how good the other offerings are and end up buying something else.

        Year to date sales change vs last year proves it.

        And oh never mind that the Volt has one of the industry’s fastest turn around time.

      • 0 avatar
        WildBill

        Have seen exactly two Volts in the Columbus area, over 1.5 million souls in the metro area and just two. Hmmmm…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Or maybe are people buying BMW’s, Audi, Lexus or C-classes with their 40 g’s.

      These guys are asking a reasonable $59,995:

      http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=newcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listingId=63885112&listingRecNum=1651

      This is my favorite part of the ad: “Price does not include Market Adjustment.” It’s not just a dealership, it’s a comedy club!

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        That is a typo. It should have read 39,995 which is the base price of the Volt. Typos are very common in auto sales ads, do any search and sort by price high to low, you will see

        http://autos.yahoo.com/used-cars/overview;_ylt=ArQzldo_R0ZRHrXYOwUtMu1qVI54;_ylv=3?distance=any&sortcol=price&sortdir=down&make=toyota&askpricelb=75000&askpriceub=any&deliverymileagelb=any&deliverymileageub=any&listingtype=used

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        That is a typo.

        Apparently, it isn’t. If you look at the dealer’s website, you’ll see the very same car being offered at that $60,000 price.

        It should have read 39,995 which is the base price of the Volt.

        Incorrect. Dealers are free to charge whatever they like. This particular has four Volts advertised on his website: one for $42,000, two for $50,000 and the one listed above for $60,000.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Oh well, this is just more proof that the NYT really is just a repository for Democrat talking points. And if you look at who is pulling her strings as she mouths the Time’s meme, it’s the unions. That’s today’s paradigm. For now.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Oh well, this is just more proof that the NYT really is just a repository for Democrat talking points.

      Funny, I hadn’t realized that GM’s Chinese operations were run by Democrats:

      The Chinese government is refusing to let the Volt qualify for subsidies totaling up to $19,300 a car unless G.M. agrees to transfer the engineering secrets for one of the Volt’s three main technologies to a joint venture in China with a Chinese automaker, G.M. officials said.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/business/global/gm-aims-the-volt-at-china-but-chinese-want-its-secrets.html?pagewanted=all

      These claims are coming straight out of GM management. As far as I know, nobody at GM is claiming to have been misquoted.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Why would GM stop now. They’ve gifted every other technology to China for decades just to sell more cars there. Are they smartening up after the horse has bolted?

  • avatar

    The personal contact that I’ve had with Sen. Stabenow only reinforced my opinion that she’s a nice person who isn’t very smart. Capable of repeating talking points but not much of an original thinker. Also, at the NAIAS this year I found myself alone with her and asked her, not as a journalist but as a constituent, how the people on the Hill were doing in the wake of Rep. Gifford’s shooting which had taken place only a few days earlier. It was a human question, not a political one, but she almost immediately got political.

    I don’t agree with Carl Levin on a number of issues, but he’s no fool. Stabenow isn’t a fool but she’s no genius. Stabenow’s elevation from local Lansing politics to the US Senate shows how thin the talent is in the Democratic party in Michigan.

  • avatar

    The personal contact that I’ve had with Sen. Stabenow has only reinforced my opinion that she’s a nice person who isn’t very smart. Capable of repeating talking points but not much of an original thinker. Also, at the NAIAS this year I found myself alone with her and asked her, not as a journalist but as a constituent, how the people on the Hill were doing in the wake of Rep. Gifford’s shooting which had taken place only a few days earlier. It was a human question, a personal one, not a political one, but she almost immediately got political.

    I don’t agree with Carl Levin on a number of issues, but he’s no fool. Stabenow isn’t a fool but she’s no genius either. Stabenow’s elevation from local Lansing politics to the US Senate shows just how thin the talent is in the Democratic party in Michigan. Virg Bernero for governor?

    • 0 avatar
      tikki50

      while I’ll say most politicans really arent all that smart. They just have a well written speech that makes them sound smart(er) – (think dumb and dumber). She does have one solid valid point, our trade issues are completely wacko and no one is trying to close the flood gates. Our coporations have stuck a stick in the pipeline so it can never be closed all the while jobs and technology along with money are flowing freely through it. Unfortunately we need to face China, Mexico, Vitenam, India, Korea, Pakistan, Brazil, along with every other darn country that’s figured out were giving the bank away for a few votes or directed politican money and say sorry the free days are gone , either pay up or bring jobs here. I can only hope my chinese DVD player will last….and thats a pipe dream too! Our country faces a debt problem and they cant think of oh I dont know taxing imports. I have faith that imports even taxed would rise marginally, these outside companies will cut the price and eat the tarrifs for the sake of the sale.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Damn, there are a lot of Volts out there”

    Hey Garbage I can finally get a Volt where I live if I want to pay 5K over sticker.

    “Had the Cruze ECO last week. Comparison in progress.”

    Let me guess your gonna tell me how much cheaper the Cruze is to own and run!…….LOL

  • avatar
    eldard

    Another US senator talking out of her bra. Stabhernow!


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