The Truth About Cars » Greentech The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Greentech GreenTech Automotive At Heart of IG’s Investigation of DHS Nominee Tue, 06 Aug 2013 12:00:44 +0000 Gulf Coast

Neighborhood EV startup GreenTech Automotive and it’s sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management, which are the subjects of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how they solicited foreign investors seeking EB-5 visas, are also at the heart of a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s  investigation of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas. The USCIS-IG is examining Mayrokas’ role in helping those firms secure a job-creating investor’s visa for a Chinese executive. Mayorkas has been nominated by Pres. Obama for the number two position at DHS and would be acting director until the president names Janet Napolitano’s replacement as secretary of Homeland Security. GreenTech/Gulf Coast has been the largest beneficiary of the EB-5 program since 2009, with almost 100 approved and more pending.

A email sent to members of Congress from the IG’s office said that its investigation of the EB-5 visa program began last year after a referral from the FBI’s counter intelligence unit. The EB-5 program allows those who are not U.S. citizens to get a citizenship-tracked permanent residency visa to this country if they invest $500,000 to $1 million in a manner that is considered job creating. The email said that Mayorkas was alleged to have helped Gulf Coast, run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, get a particular Chinese investor in GreenTech, co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a visa, though both the original application and an appeal were denied. The Washington Post has reported that Clinton, McAuliffe and other GreenTech and Gulf Coast personnel had a dozen email and phone contacts with Mayorkas and other high level Homeland Security officials regarding the investor’s visa.

According to the Inspector General’s email, there are also allegations that officials in the USCIS Office of General Counsel obstructed a Securities and Exchange Commission audit of the EB-5 program that took place before the current SEC investigation. The FBI has been looking into the EB-5 program and other foreign funded projects since at least March of 2012, according to emails the Associated Press obtained. National security concerns prompted the look into Chinese investments in American technology and infrastructure.

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Lincoln Bedroom Sleepover Salesman Launches Neighborhood Vehicle With Bill Clinton In Attendance Fri, 06 Jul 2012 15:55:39 +0000 Associated Press writes (via the Clarion Ledger) that a company called GreenTech will today roll out a “two-seat neighborhood electric vehicle, a cross between a golf cart and conventional car, with a 115-mile range.” It won’t do more than 35 mph, and will cost around $10,000. The “car” might be unremarkable, the guest list of today’s event is not. The party in Horn Lake, Mississippi,will be attended by a lot of formers. Former President Bill Clinton and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will attend, with former Democratic National Committee Chairman and now chairman of GreenTech, Terry McAuliffe, doing the honors. The CEO is Chinese businessman Xiaolin “Charles X” Wang.

Does this ring a bell? Yes, it’s the same company that says it erects a 300,000 car factory in Inner Mongolia. Yes’ it’s the same company that was started by a former and then fugitive Brilliance manager who said he would finance the company with funds raised through the EB-5 visa program. That program promises green cards to people who invest $500,000 in an underprivileged part of America. The Center for Immigration Studies along with many others call it either “a scam” or “investor fraud.” Terry McAuliffe is Bill Clinton’s former fundraiser who famously sold White House coffees and Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers to the highest bidder. No wonder Bill is at the party.

We could say a lot more about this, but we won’t. We already have. Click to be amazed.

PS: Thegreencarwebsite has different pricing information:

“The model comes with a choice of two battery packs; one lithium ion giving the car a driving range of 115 miles, the other, lead acid with a range of 51 miles. The lithium ion car will cost $18,000 or $10,000 with a battery lease contract. The lead acid model will cost $15,000. “

Good luck.


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Terry McAuliffe Fires Back At Automotive News Thu, 15 Sep 2011 23:28:50 +0000

Just as Automotive News [sub] failed to cite Bertel’s ahead-of-the-game reporting on Terry Mcauliffe’s GreenTech Automotive firm as the inspiration for its coverage, McAuliffe himself has decided to ignore TTAC’s leadership in order to lash out at the leading industry paper’s write-up on his highly suspect venture. In response to AN [sub]‘s piece titled When you do the math, promoter extraordinaire Terry McAuliffe’s grand hybrid vehicle plan just doesn’t add up, the former Clinton fundraiser and DNC chair has written a feisty letter to the editor [sub], in which he argues

The Sept. 5 article about our efforts at GreenTech Automotive (“Real deal?”) stands in stark contrast with the Aug. 28 article in which you reported on partnerships between Toyota and Ford, Tesla, Aston Martin, Lotus and (“Doing deals, Akio style”). The latter story says Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda “is breaking tradition to transform his ossified giant into a nimble competitor.”

Nimble competition is a key to success in our modern age of change and innovation. Yet you seem to take GreenTech to task for attempting just that. We aren’t trying to be GM, and we never plan on being bailed out by the U.S. government. We are embracing a different, leaner business model in which our world-class partners will play a key role in our success, and we are doing it with private capital.

Developing a car from the ground up is an incredibly difficult and technically complex task, even for industry giants in operation for more than a century. Yet you criticize GreenTech for beginning with a neighborhood electric vehicle as a path to producing a fully certified, quality hybrid or electric vehicle; in other words, you criticize GreenTech for thinking big but starting small.

Frankly, your negativity emboldens us. We remain excited about our progress, from our new operations in Mississippi to our 8.8 million-square-foot plant under construction in Ordos, China, to the new distribution agreement in the very green country of Denmark. We remain entrepreneurs in our unwavering commitment to American job creation, quality products and doing business in the new ways globalization demands. Every one of our cars will be built with a spirit of courage, perseverance and vision for an affordable, green future.

With all due respect to McAuliffe, that defense is as unimaginative as the EV hype game he’s playing. And since he refuses to substantively address the criticisms leveled at him, I’ll simply take this opportunity to repeat what I wrote the last time I looked at this story, to wit:

I’ve only been blogging about the car industry for about three and a half years, but I’ve seen this movie way too many times before. If you’ve missed out on the ZAP saga, to cite the most infamous example of the “NEV today, domination tomorrow” scam, read thisthisthis and this for a primer on how this game works. It’s not pretty, and I hoped it was left behind in 2008, when it still fooled a few people. Today there’s no excuse for anyone to be taken in by such an unimaginative, played-out scam.

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AN: McAuliffe’s Chinese EV Factory “Dead On Arrival” Tue, 06 Sep 2011 16:04:48 +0000

Remember Bertels’ stranger-than-fiction write-up of former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe’s Mongolian EV /Visa plant? Charles Child at Automotive News [sub] has looked at McAuliffe’s scheme and comes away less than entirely impressed, noting that

even casual scrutiny of his vision reveals overwhelming obstacles. Let’s be plain: His plan is dead on arrival.

You won’t find a zinger like that in Bertel’s piece, but only because he keeps his head down detailing the entire bizarre history of McAuliffe’s venture, its roots as the “Hybrid Kinetic Motors” visa scheme, its ties to a couple of notorious former Brilliance boys and its money-first, product-later approach. Child’s takedown isn’t as well researched (nor does it contain anecdotes about former a Ambassador driving a lawnmower into a swimming pool), but the few remaining folks out there who think the former Democrat fundraiser might be on to something big should probably read on. After all, McAuliffe has put so much hype out there, this story is something of a target-rich environment for truth-tellers.

Child quickly identifies McAuliffe’s major contribution to the project: hype.

What keeps the vision alive is McAuliffe’s audacity. With confidence and verve, he spells out his job-creating optimism on friendly national cable shows such as “The Daily Rundown” and “The Ed Show,” also on MSNBC… Bold auto visions are fine. But they require staggering amounts of money and manpower. And there’s no tangible indication that McAuliffe has either.

But not all the hype has been good: conservatives dislike McAuliffe for obvious reasons, but even parts of the left wing seems to be shunning the Clintonite hustler. And speaking of manpower, do you want to guess how many employees GreenTech has?

About 50 employees, says Alan Himelfarb, executive vice president for strategic planning. Not even 50 engineers. Fifty total employees.

Consider that GM has added around 2,000 engineers in recent years, just for its hybrid and electric development efforts, and you get a sense of how outgunned GreenTech is. Still, a startup could theoretically catch the OEMs napping… but that’s where the “staggering amounts of money” come in. And, reports Child,

The Chinese partner is Shengyang Zhong-Rui Investment Co., which GreenTech says has investments in banking, commercial real estate and Chinese airlines. But no investments in automotive operations are listed in the GreenTech press release.

And without investment, McAuliffe’s staged “cornerstone laying” of the plant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia was just that: the laying of one stone, no more, no less. And absent the billions needed to make this kind of startup take off, plans to sell EPA and DOT-certified cars in the 2013-2014 timeframe appear to be… on hold.

the Web site of the Ordos provincial government in China says GreenTech pledged to start production of hybrids and electrics at its plant in 2013.

But last week the company scaled back those estimates.

“Our expanding product portfolio, including hybrid and electric full-speed vehicle will come in due time and we have not yet set a timetable for the next product introduction” after this year’s neighborhood electric vehicle, the company said in a statement. “We fully understand the challenges in time, money, and technical expertise to produce a quality hybrid or electric vehicle.”

In other words, it could easily be another five years before GreenTech, which hopes to have 100 employees by year’s end, even starts production of hybrid or electric cars. At least cars that are capable of driving on freeways. In the meantime, the venture is leaping into the mainstay of EV hucksterism: neighborhood electric vehicles. Like Zap, Miles and many more before them, GreenTech’s “world-changing” automobiles will be limited to 30 MPH and banned from streets with a speed limit above 45 MPH. According to a GreenTech presser, this NEV (called the “MyCar”) will be built in Mississippi and,

We will make the first 100,000 U.S.-built MyCars available to consumers for $10,000 apiece.

But even at those low prices, GreenTech will be waiting to sell its first 100k cars. Child cites market research from International Market Solutions showing that the US market for NEVs last year was a little over 26k units (for comparison, the Toyota Camry sold 30k units in August alone). GreenTech’s response?

neighborhood electrics “are a small market for sure, at least right now. We have a few ideas on how to create some awareness and build that market. Our goal of 100,000 units is a cumulative sales figure over time. We look forward to achieving that.”

I’ve only been blogging about the car industry for about three and a half years, but I’ve seen this movie way too many times before. If you’ve missed out on the ZAP saga, to cite the most infamous example of the “NEV today, domination tomorrow” scam, read this, this, this and this for a primer on how this game works. It’s not pretty, and I hoped it was left behind in 2008, when it still fooled a few people. Today there’s no excuse for anyone to be taken in by such an unimaginative, played-out scam.

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Clinton’s Sleepover Fundraising Maven Breaks Ground For 300,000 Car Factory In Inner Mongolia While Chinese Head To The U.S. On $500,000 Green Cards Mon, 08 Aug 2011 22:59:40 +0000

Today, my phone rang repeatedly, and my email inbox quickly filled with questions. They all said: “Did you see this? Do you know these people?”

I knew the guy in the picture. I used to be married into a family that was in the Washington Green book. I lived in Virginia two driveways from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  I was surrounded by gentleman farmers and politicos. Jeez, the late Ambassador Fritz Nolting drove into my pool on a riding mower with a cocktail in one hand and a cigar in the other. Talk about distracted driving.

The right man in the picture wanted to be Governor of Virginia. He still does. The left man wants to be a tycoon.

The man who leans over that sign somewhere in the godforsaken desert of Inner Mongolia, China, is Terence “Terry” McAuliffe. Yes, the very same Terry McAuliffe who was a Democratic National Committee head and a close Bill Clinton adviser who, according to a United States Senate document organized the famous coffees and sleepovers that saved Bill Clinton from electoral annihilation.

According to one source, “McAuliffe’s soft money strategy was responsible for President Clinton’s 1996 scandal concerning the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers and the White House coffees, two tactics employed to solicit huge donations from wealthy friends and patrons of the Clintons.”

Putting the Lincoln Bedroom up for sale for $100,000 a night (on average) was only a minor scandal compared to what was called “Chinagate.”

Al Gore, friend and beneficiary of Buddhist monks, praised McAuliffe as ”the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe.” Coming from Gore, that’s the best endorsement one can get.

Yes, you are looking at THAT Terry McAuliffe.

Yes, it’s the same and he is back in China, and back in the fundraising business. This time, he promises to bring 300,000 cars to China. Made in America by Americans. Assembled in China. In that new factory which is going up behind the two gentlemen.

Wait, there is more. A lot more.

The company that will perform the economic miracle is GreenTech. The man to the left of McAuliffe is Charles Wang. Ring a bell?

Remember this story? Remember how Ed Niedermeyer wrote:

Greentech Automotive is the hybrid vehicle firm founded by the former CEO of Brilliance with plans to build a plant in Mississippi with funds raised through the EB-5 visa program. Not to be confused with Hybrid Kinetic Motors, the hybrid vehicle firm founded by the former Chairman of Brilliance with plans to build a plant in Alabama with funds raised through the EB-5 visa program.”

Yes, one and the same.

This will get a bit complicated, so bear with me. Let me introduce you to a few people. You know, in China, connections are everything.

Meet Yang Rong, identified by Automotive News [sub] as “the ousted former CEO of Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., BMW AG’s partner in China.” Automotive News tells this story:

“In the early 1990s, Yang was one of the first entrepreneurs to strike it rich in China’s auto industry. He was hailed in China as part of a new generation of savvy businessmen and credited with catapulting Brilliance from making dreary buses into BMW’s partner in making BMW 3- and 5-series cars.”

“But in 2002, after feuding with a Chinese provincial governor over the location of a new factory, Yang found himself charged with unspecified economic crimes. He fled the country under a false passport for Los Angeles, where he joined his wife and four children. Most of his own personal wealth had to be abandoned in China.”

Automotive News missed the good part. The dispute was about more than a location of a plant. It was about who owns what of Brilliance, a company that became the first Chinese corporation listed at the NYSE after 50 years.  According to this account in the China Auto Review,  Yang “was forced out as chairman of Brilliance China and served a warrant for allegedly committing “economic crimes of embezzlement of state assets” in late 2002.” Here is one of the many lengthy court documents, in case you have the time.

To make it short, China would love to have Yang back, but he’s not coming.

Yang went on to found the Hybrid Kinetic Motors company, which we had chronicled in 2009 under the Farago regime. Hybrid Kinetic Motors promised to bring a huge car industry to the American equivalent to Inner Mongolia, a place called Northern Mississippi. Rong had explained to Automotive News [sub] that the plan was to “build a $6.5 billion auto plant in northern Mississippi, where he would hire 25,000 workers to eventually produce 1 million cars a year.” It will happen real soon now.

Then, there is another man. His name is Xiaolin Wang. According to a puff-piece in Wikipedia, written by an editor by the name of Beijingren (= Beijing Man) who had written nothing else than this article and had then vanished from Wikipedia, “Charles Xiaolin Wang is an experienced business entrepreneur, financier, and lawyer with an extensive background in capital markets financing and international business transactions. He currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer at GreenTech Automotive.” In the top picture, he is the man to the left of the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe, Terry McAuliffe.

Xiaolin Wang was Rong’s lawyer and business partner at Hybrid Kinetic. Yang Rong, no stranger to feuds, started a new feud with his lawyer. Says Automotive News:

“Yang’s project split in two after a falling out between him and the man he had appointed to manage it: his former attorney and Chinese entrepreneur Xiaolin Wang.”

“Yang — listed in court documents as Benjamin Yeung, the name he uses in the United States — sued Xiaolin Wang and three other project managers. Yang alleges that the other managers had been steering control of the venture away from Yang and had begun operating under a different but similar name.”

“Yang’s venture is called Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings Ltd. Xiaolin Wang and the others had been operating as Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Corp.”

An out-of-court settlement had Xiaolin Wang change the name of his company. It was known as GreenTree Automotive, and was either later renamed to GreenTech, or Bill Brabec, the Jackson, Miss. attorney for Xiaolin Wang, had the name wrong. Or who knows.

Hybrid Kinetic, run by Yang or Yeung, and GreenTech, run by Xiaolin “Charles” Wang, went forth and operated in parallel.

Both attracted investors via the EB-5 visa program, a scheme which the Center for Immigration Studies along with many others call either “a scam” or “investor fraud.”

Allegedly, if someone invests $500,000 in an underprivileged part of America, green cards for the “investor” and the immediate family beckon. There are a lot of Chinese who paid much more to enter the U.S. illegally, so that’s considered a great deal. Some killjoys claim the investment must be “active” and the investor must be involved in managing the company. Minor detail.

Hybrid Kinetic (which sometimes calls itself “HK Motors” – something that in China can be easily confused with “Hong Kong Motors”), was incorporated in Delaware, is headquartered at Pasadena, California, and wants to open a plant in Baldwin County, Alabama. Governor Bill Riley confirmed to HK Motors that “HK Motors could apply for and receive all statutory incentives based on the company’s proposed $1.5 billion investment.” On HK Motor’s website it says that letter “officially confirmed that approximately $1 billion in incentives is available to HK Motors.” Edmund’s said:

“Pouring millions of state funds into an untried automaker headed by an entrepreneur with a question mark hanging over his head (he says he’s done nothing wrong, that the charges against him in China are politically motivated) is something that’s ought to require a heck of a lot of due diligence on the part of state officials.”

The fine State of Alamaba apparently does not subscribe to Edmunds or its ideas.

GreenTech Automotive (GTA)  “was founded in 2006 by accomplished entrepreneurs Terry McAuliffe and Charles Wang,” says its website.

Wang is CEO, McAuliffe is Chairman. According to some accounts, Xiaolin “Charles” Wang was still with Yang Rong a.k.a. Benjamin Yeung when Greentech was founded in 2006. According to the puff-piece Wikipedia article, the founding happened 2008,  and Hybrid Kinetic did never exist in Wang’s illustrious career.

And what about government money? In 2009, the Memphis Daily News said “because Wang and his team are seeking much of their capital in China, the financial particulars are murky at best. What confounds this project is the silence from local and state officials.” Last year, the same paper heard that Mississippi governor “Barbour was noticeably absent as Charles Wang talked of building 150,000 hybrid cars a year in a plan that is still awaiting financing.”

It’s not that Wang and McAuliffe don’t have any friends formerly in high places. Wang told the Memphis Daily News:

“Former President Bill Clinton also has been active in the project, traveling to Hong Kong and introducing company representatives to heads of state at his recent global initiative.”

He just doesn’t have any money to invest.

Still with me?  Amazing. TTAC loyalty knows no bounds.

Now we move on the really brilliant part: Xiaolin “Charles” Wang had wisely disassociated himself from Yang Rong a.k.a. Benjamin Yeung. The latter Yang Rong will never ever return to China, where he has been ronged. The former Wang however proudly appeared in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, otherwise famous for China’s Modern Ghost Town , where a city planned for a million stands empty. This will most likely change immediately with the arrival of Terry McAuliffe.

“Mr. McAuliffe fills a room” said the Washington Post. That’s an understatement. At the notorious May 2000 Clinton fundraiser, he filled the former MCI sports center in Washington, DC. $26.5 million were raised in three hours for the Democratic National Committee. As the New York Times remembers, “the donors, from those in black tie to those in blue jeans, were beckoned by the Midas of fund-raisers, Terry McAuliffe, who, in the end, squeezed 13,625 people into a space designed for 12,000.” Roomfilling above plan!

If McAuliffe can fill a stadium with people who want to be separated from their money, then producing “a full line of vehicles powered by U.S.-made high-efficiency combustion engines, hybrid powertrains and pure electrical drivetrain” in the middle of nowhere will be a cinch. As Greentech’s press release says:

“The product line will include subcompact, compact, midsize and sports vehicles, all to be designed specifically for and sold exclusively in China. Full production capacity will be 300,000 vehicles per year and the core components of these vehicles will be made at GTA factories in the United States.”

“And because our core components will be made in America, we will create 2,000 new American jobs when we reach full production capacity,” said McAuliffe.

The joint venture is called Ordos GreenTech Automotive Co., Ltd., and is a partnership between GTA and Shengyang ZhongRui Investment Co., Ltd., a Chinese investment holding company.

License from the Chinese government? Not mentioned. Does anyone need a license here to make cars? Feasibility study? Minor details for a McAuliffe. A few phone-calls, possibly from Bill’s wife, done.

Remember: When The Washington Post called him a “huckster,” McAuliffe corrected it to “hustler.”

Not only that, McAuliffe is an experienced investor. In the 1990s, McAuliffe invested $100,000 in a company later called Global Crossing. When the company went public seventeen months later, the stock’s value rose quickly and McAuliffe’s initial $100,000 investment was valued at nearly $18 million. Global Crossing filed for bankruptcy in 2002, after McAuliffe had smartly sold his stock.

With a man like this, could anything go wrong? Ordos will become China’s new Detroit. Gee, it already looks as deserted as Detroit. Liu Shufu of Geely will slap himself for paying $1.5 billion to get the 300,000 car Volvo. With a McAuliffe, he could have had the same for a few cups of coffee.

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