By on September 15, 2011

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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7 Comments on “Terry McAuliffe Fires Back At Automotive News...”

  • avatar

    It isn’t often that AN allows a writer to “call out” an entrepreneur, but that is clearly what Charles Child was allowed to do, in a front page article, which has incurred the wrath of Mr McAuliffe. Positioning the article on the front page shows that AN agrees that this type of green technology scam, with it’s inevitable promises of funding and sales, has run it’s course, and is no longer taken seriously.

    • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        Took the word right out of my mouth.

      • 0 avatar

        SilverHawk: And that, friends, is why “journalism” shouldn’t always be “objective.” And why I get so testy when the “you has a bias” crowd comes around. My hat’s off to AN on this one, for both calling McAuliffe out on the front page and then allowing him his weak-sauce reply (although a hat tip to Bertel would have ben nice). You have to be prepared to shine a bright light on this kind of stuff, or it keeps coming back again and again.

      • 0 avatar

        My hat’s off to AN on this one

        I don’t recall Automotive News taking such as activist approach with pre-bankruptcy General Motors, the Cerberus era of Chrysler or, for that matter, with anyone else.

        I don’t see why a source like that is editorializing about anybody’s business plans, as that doesn’t to be their usual MO. There is a line between news and editorial that mainstream publications are supposed to maintain. They aren’t op-ed blogs.

        (For the record, what I know of the business plan also sounds unworkable. I’m not defending McAuliffe or his company, but questioning why a trade publication is going out of its way to opine about one particular firm.)

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    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,

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