Terry McAuliffe Fires Back At Automotive News

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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 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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Sep 16, 2011

    The longer I think about it, the less inclined I am towards any subsidies or tax breaks or incentives. All those things done by government tend to distort markets and create all kinds of artificialities. Provide infrastructure perhaps, but don't pick winners and losers. If technologies and business plans work, they'll be successful. Frankly, I'd rather have the government funding research like at Lawrence Livermore and some of the other federal tech incubators than subsidize businesses. To be sure, I favor a system with as minimal business taxes and fees as are practicable. Have a simple tax system that encourages enterprise and then don't distort the market with government intervention.

  • Da Coyote Da Coyote on Sep 16, 2011

    I'll get just slightly political here - only to mention that folks who are closely associated with the present administration (or the Clinton one) were not exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer when it came to science, economics, or business. (Which is why they were in politics.) I wish no private enterprise ill, but Terry Mc C couldn't make a light bulb light - given batteries, wires, and the bulb. He has no business in the automobile industry....well, actually....he has no business in business,

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.