The Truth About Cars » Terry McAuliffe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:09:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 » Terry McAuliffe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com GreenTech Automotive At Heart of IG’s Investigation of DHS Nominee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/greentech-automotive-at-heart-of-igs-investigation-of-dhs-nominee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/greentech-automotive-at-heart-of-igs-investigation-of-dhs-nominee/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498311 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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Politically Connected EV Startup GreenTech Automotive Subject of SEC Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/politically-connected-ev-startup-greentech-automotive-subject-of-sec-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/politically-connected-ev-startup-greentech-automotive-subject-of-sec-investigation/#comments Sat, 03 Aug 2013 22:02:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498056 NBC12.com – Richmond, VA News

Electric car startup GreenTech Automotive, which set up a factory in Horn Lake, Mississippi to manufacturer their low speed neighborhood EV called MyCar, is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the way it solicited foreign investors. GreenTech Automotive was co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe resigned as chairman of GreenTech in late 2012 when he started his campaign.

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According to the Washington Post, the SEC subpoenaed documents relating to GreenTech and Gulf Coast Funds Management, a sister company that shares a McLean, Virginia address with GreenTech. Gulf Coast Funds is run by Anthony Rodham, whose sister, is former U.S. senator and secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Commission is looking into allegations that the company guaranteed returns to foreign investors that GreenTech sought out by using the federal EB-5 program that will grant foreigners visas to the United States if they invest half a million dollars or more to create jobs in this country. GreenTech has a strategic partnership with China’s JAC Motors.

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SEC officials declined comment and a spokesman for McAuliffe’s campaign said he “has no knowledge of any investigation.” GreenTech and Gulf Coast representatives confirmed the subpoenas and said the companies would cooperate with the SEC investigation. The investigation came to light when internal Department of Homeland Security documents and emails were obtained by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a critic of the EB-5 visas. Some of the documents raised the possibility of “fraud”.

McAuliffe originally said he would build a factory “right in the heart of Virginia,” but after getting incentives from state and local governments in Mississippi, GreenTech located their factory in Horn Lake. Republican Gov. Haley Barbour attended the July 2012 ribbon cutting ceremony, along with McAuliffe’s close friend, former president Bill Clinton.

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When he was still with the company, McAuliffe said last that GreenTech could build 10,000 cars in 2013 and that the factory would be hundreds of people at their Mississippi factory. Actual production has been much smaller, as has hiring. GreenTech won’t release any production figures but Autoblog reported that 2012 production would be closer to 1% of that figure vehicles, 110 vehicles earmarked for Denmark.

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One former employee at the Horn Lake plant told the NBC affiliate in Richmond, Virginia that it was all for show. “They would take everybody and put them out on the line and we would stand over the car with tools in our hand and look like we were doing something to the car, but we wasn’t doing anything.” A company spokesman denied that and described the activities there as “a training build”. A neighbor recently said that the plant is quiet and that nobody he knew who applied there had gotten jobs.

Memphis, Tennessee’s WMC-TV Action News 5 (auto start video) says they’ve found no evidence of significant car production at the Mississippi facility. GreenTech allowed WMC-TV cameras in the factory but wouldn’t let them close to the production line.

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Lincoln Bedroom Sleepover Salesman Launches Neighborhood Vehicle With Bill Clinton In Attendance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/lincoln-bedroom-sleepover-salesman-launches-neighborhood-vehicle-with-bill-clinton-in-attendance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/lincoln-bedroom-sleepover-salesman-launches-neighborhood-vehicle-with-bill-clinton-in-attendance/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 15:55:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451588 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/terry-mcauliffe-fires-back-at-automotive-news/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/terry-mcauliffe-fires-back-at-automotive-news/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 23:28:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=411397

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 Salesforce.com (“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” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/an-mcauliffes-chinese-ev-factory-dead-on-arrival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/an-mcauliffes-chinese-ev-factory-dead-on-arrival/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2011 16:04:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410384

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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