By on November 20, 2012

Earlier in the year, GE bought 12,000 Chevrolet Volts, and the company was promptly accused of “crony capitalism” and of “forcing its employees” into unwanted cars. The subtext was that the GE purchase propped up GM’s Volt sales. Now GE does the same with Ford, but at a smaller scale.

GE will buy 2,000 C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles for its corporate fleet, Reuters reports. In turn, Ford will market GE’s alternative fuel infrastructure technology, including charging stations and natural gas fueling stations.

GE wants to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles.

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16 Comments on “GE Green-Lights Big Ford Purchase...”


  • avatar
    spinjack

    Errrr…GM, GE, who was buying what from who?

  • avatar

    “Earlier in the year, GE bought 12,000 Chevrolet Volts”

    Only they haven’t. Total fleet sales for the Volt are under 2000 units for the year.

    • 0 avatar
      Off a Cliff

      Could have been the previous MY, or paid for them and are trickling them out gradually.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Or they committed to buying 25K EVs by the end of 2015 and it’s only 2012 now.

        Which is what GE actually said they planned to do. GE is a big company and the unit that is being encouraged to switch to Volts isn’t all that big.

        And GE makes power generation and distribution equipment – a lot of it. If EVs take off, they stand to make more money. So they’d take an interest in this whether an Obama or an O’Reilly was in the White House. For the same reason that electrical utilities have been buying EVs off and on – even the worthless ones that were a Le Car stuffed with lead-acid cells – for decades.

  • avatar
    gasser

    No wonder GE can’t raise their dividend back to pre-crash levels

  • avatar
    hubcap

    “…the company was promptly accused of “crony capitalism” and of “forcing its employees” into unwanted cars.”

    GE isn’t forcing its workers to buy Volts right? GE is buying Volts as fleet vehicles. If workers are affronted by this they can always terminate their employment.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Oh the horrors! My employer bought me a car to provide to me for my work for FREE. It’s not an A6? WTF?!?

    My employer could hand me the keys to a smartfortwo and let me commute for free and I would drive it with a smile on my face.

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      I know! Right? I wish my employer would give me a car to drive!

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I don’t believe it’s free for all employees (probably depends on type of job), but GE generally subsidizes company cars for its employees that qualify for the program. It used to be even more subsidized back in the 80s.

      But I’m not sure how ridiculous you need to be to say “crony capitalism” or anything about force re: employees, but that never stops the usual suspects with their irrational knee-jerk hatred.

      As for what Alluster said, my impression is that the Volt sells 2000-2500 units/month, but I’m not sure about fleet vs. not breakdown. It’s entirely possible that GE is buying them over time and not all at once.

      FWIW, Volt says are up quite a bit from that article on February sales:
      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-57527745/chevy-volt-sales-race-ahead-of-nissan-leaf/

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No commuting for free, at least in the US. If you use a company supplied vehicle to commute to your regular place of work then your employer must report those commuting miles on your W2 as a taxable fringe benefit or deduct the standard IRS mileage deduction from your check. There are some exemptions.

      Disclaimer: consult your own tax professional concerning your own situation.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I wasn’t talking about commuting, but rather employees who regularly travel to for off-site work.

        However, as I mentioned, the miles aren’t usually given to you for free, but rather are subsidized.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Corntrollio, my response was aimed at APaGttH.

        Now if it is non commuting miles then the company normally pays for that 100%. Now there are exceptions in some cases. For example the boss at the company that also provided me with a company vehicle couldn’t lower himself to be seen driving something so cheap as a Taurus so he payed the difference in the cost of lease + maintenance contract between it and the Caddy he wanted as well as paying the miles at the then current rate for his personal and commuting use.

        Disclaimer: consult your personal tax professional.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    What’s a bit ironic about all of this is that, prior to Jack Welch’s gutting of all-divisions-not-profitable-enough (er, anything other than financing, medical diagnostic equipment, and jet engines), GE was one of if not the biggest supplier of EV motors and controllers.

    • 0 avatar
      3touring

      This is true. As an engineer in the GE Drive Systems group in the early 90s, I got to drive a Ford Ecostar with a power converter that we developed. It actually had pretty decent dynamics. The program had a spectacular end (remember the sodium batteries?) and ended up as a footnote in the corporate history. And yes, through joint ventures and divestitures GE drew down it’s power conversion business, only to recently purchase Converteam to give it another go.

  • avatar
    iainthornton

    Working at British Steel our company car choices were limited to anything British (am I the only person who had great experiences with a Rover/Sterling 827?) or a Volvo (because Volvo was a big customer of ours). You can’t blame a company for effectively investing in their own technology or supporting customers.


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