Three years ago, at a groundbreaking ceremony for an LG Chem Battery plant in Holland, Michigan, President Obama promised that this and other pants will be “a boost to the economy in the entire region.” Instead, the plant has become an example for what is wrong with a state-directed command economy. It also is yet another chapter in the Chevrolet Volt debacle. (Read More…)
Those who watched the State of the Union address last night and have an interest in autos may have noticed a conspicuous absence; Barack Obama failed to mention his goal of putting 1 million EVs on the road by 2015.
As we come to yet another hiccup in the launch of the Dodge Dart, it’s worth taking a look backwards to examine how we got to this point; the elimination of a second shift at the Dundee, Michigan plant that builds the Dart’s 1.4L FIRE engine, as well as the firing or re-assignment of 58 workers.
As both Ronnie and Michael Karesh noted, the same 1.4T FIRE engine that’s so delightful in the Fiat 500 Abarth is weaksauce in the Dart. The 1.4T’s clunky dual-clutch auto doesn’t help matters either. If it weren’t for government mandated fuel economy targets imposed as a condition of the bailout, that engine – and possibly the Dart – wouldn’t even be here right now.
It’s the kind of mistake that only a blogger (said with a contemptuous sneer) would make. The Wall Street Journal reports that
“U.S. regulators rated a new Chrysler Group LLC compact car with highway fuel-economy of 41 miles a gallon, a move that fulfills a key element of the company’s 2009 federal bailout and cleared the way earlier this year for majority owner Fiat SpA to increase its stake in the Detroit auto maker.”
They got it wrong.
White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer apologized to WaPo and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer for having “overshot the runway.” Pfeifer had accused Krauthammer of falsely claiming that a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had been removed from the White House and sent back to the British Embassy. In a blog post on the White House Blog (yes, the White House blogs too) Pfeiffer produced a smoking gun: A Churchill bust that was still at the White House. The trouble was there had been two busts. Now there is only one. (See, and I would have sworn Bill Clinton took all available busts when he vacated the White House.)
What do busts have to do with cars? (Read More…)
Victor Muller could not save Saab.
Vladimir Antonov could not save Saab
Pang Qinghua could not save Saab.
Rachel Pang could not save Saab.
Now, Barack Obama is supposed to save Saab.
At least that’s how the Swedish metalworker union IF Metall sees it. (Read More…)
“The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are.”
Phillip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
At the High School I attended, progress reports were never a good thing. Halfway through each term, students who were averaging a D or lower would receive a print-out of their grade accompanied by a line from the teacher explaining how the miscreant in question was failing to live up to expectations. True to form, the White House’s just-released “One Year Progress Report” [PDF] on President Obama’s “Blueprint For A Secure Energy Agenda” includes some devastating evidence of abject failure. But unlike my post-progress report conversations with the parental stakeholders, Obama has a lot more to explain to voters than a simple “insufficient homework turned in.”
You heard it yourself. When Obama is out of office, he’ll buy a Chevrolet Volt and drive it himself. The Secret Service, which famously wouldn’t let Obama drive the Volt down the Hamtramck assembly line, generally protects the President for up to 10 years after they leave office – we’d assume that the “no driving” clause applies here. So Obama’s Volt may sit for a long time – hopefully it won’t brick.
Meanwhile, the DoE’s projection of 120,000 Volts produced in 2012 (let alone sold to consumers) still looks a little optimistic. GM just restarted production of the car a few days ago. Their sales target of 45,000 in 2012 has been abandoned after coming 2,300 units short of their 10,000 unit goal in 2011. GM now says that they will adjust “supply to meet demand”.
Last year, President Barack Obama declared that one of the “Apollo projects of our times” is the goal for the United States to be “the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Companies that made and people that bought those electric vehicles received generous government money. One holdout in the rush for EVs: The U.S. government. It did not do as its President said, and ended up with a drastic cut in purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles after the speech was delivered.