Bailout Watch 55: Give 'Em Enough Rope…
Non-industry bailout supporters almost always qualify their backing with a number of conditions to be placed on automakers who receive government assistance. As Automotive News [sub] reports “The problem with the plan included in the energy bill: the string attached. Actually, it’s more of a rope. A cable even.” One such rope or cable is the requirement that retooled factories produce vehicles which are 25 percent more efficient than their competitors. Though that may be theoretically possible, AN worries that regulating the loan program could be a nightmare. Unsurprisingly, the Project For A New Generation Of Vehicles (PNGV) is brought up as an example of what happens (or not) when the government gives Detroit money without attaching firm enough conditions. And just like that, there’s another article in Automotive News which reports that automakers are calling on Washington to “change restrictions attached to the money that may impede its benefit for the struggling companies.” An industry lobbyist confides that preliminary conditions were written-up when the energy bill passed last December, but they “were not given much thought at the time.” The big problem? The requirement of 25 percent efficiency improvements, of course. GM CEO Rick Wagoner says that efficiency gains are “typically made in smaller increments.” No kidding, Rick. Detroit got over a billion to develop a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles starting in 1993 and we still haven’t seen any tangible results, thankyouverymuch. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi has not made clear if she is willing to change restrictions on the use of the money or how that would be accomplished. Furthmore, she says that “full funding” of the loan proposal is still up in the air since their are many other programs fighting for access to the federal teat. Stay tuned for future Wagoner press conferences calling on the government to distribute the $25b “in unmarked bills, stuffed in a suitcase and hand delivered to the RenCen.” After all, if Detroit were into the whole “accountability thing” it wouldn’t be asking for a bailout in the first place, would it?
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
- ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
- Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
- Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
- Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.