Bankrupt A123 Sold Off To China - Washington Says It's Cool, Now What About Those 63,000 Jobs In Michigan?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

U.S. government funded and nonetheless bankrupt battery maker A123 will be Chinese. China’s Wanxiang emerged as the successful bidder in December. All the deal needed was U.S. government approval. The deal has been approved, says Reuters.

According to the report, the U.S. government committee on foreign investment approved the sale. Some members of Congress and retired military leaders warned against transfer of sensitive technology to China. In blogging circles, the deal was pronounced as good as dead. It wasn’t.

Battery maker A123, hailed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as a contributor to “63,000 jobs,” praised by Senator Levin for hiring “thousands of employees by next year,” praised again by Senator Stabenow for creating “thousands of jobs for us in Michigan,” will power the creation of thousands of jobs in China instead.

A123 had received a $249 million grant from the U.S. government. Wanxiang did bid a similar amount, $257 million, and won against Johnson Controls.

Where are Obama, Granholm, Stabenow and Levin when no one really needs them?

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Icemilkcoffee Icemilkcoffee on Jan 29, 2013

    It's sad that the US doesn't value the importance of battery technology. Well- China clearly sees the value and now they are reaping what we had sown.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Jan 29, 2013

      Oh, I think the US DOES value the importance of battery technology but there simply is no market for it at this time. Not here. Not there. Not anywhere. EVs are a bust! Oil is plentiful. Coal is even more abundant. Natgas is even more copious than we can possibly use for several hundred years into the future yet. And without some semblance of a possible profit or return on investment, battery tech is not going to attract any private or corporate funding. No future in it, as yet. Maybe in a couple of hundred years. China will underwrite battery tech forever and may never see a profit from it, but then again, that is China. Their mentality is totally different from a free, open, capitalist, profit-driven society like the US. And we, the American people, are funding their ventures, indirectly, by buying their Chinese-made goods. So, indirectly, we the American people are also funding their newly acquired battery tech. China can't even feed its own people. Battery tech is not going to put food on the table. Creating battery tech jobs is meaningless if there is no market for its products. And, currently, there is no market for its products. That why A123 died, in spite of being US taxpayer funded. At some point in the very distant future, when the planet runs out of oil, coal and Natgas, that's when we'll see renewables take on a meaningful place in energy generation and storage. But for now and the foreseeable future, renewables are a waste of time, resources and money and only advocated by the very few who want the many to pay for their folly.

  • Darkhorse Darkhorse on Jan 29, 2013

    Good points. I suspect that all of these "renewables" that are being pushed by the Obamanites will never bear fruit in the long-term. They'll be Black Swan technologies we never anticipated that will displace the hydrocarbons. Things like miniature thorium reactors or ZPE sources or God knows what.

  • PlentyofCars PlentyofCars on Jan 29, 2013

    The loss of GM and Chrysler without the bailout sinking the other car companies is bunk. #1) Put in simplistic terms; the day GM/Chrysler goes bankrupt they are debt free companies owned by the former creditors. One of those creditors being the union. If they want their money back they will keep the company running. If they need capital; since they no longer have debt payments; it would be available since the slate is wiped clean. The parts suppliers would downsize if they actually lost business permanently and would continue on smaller. It is not an all or nothing thing. If they needed temporary capital to keep going, the remaining car companies could advance them the money. It is in their interest to do so. #2) Worse case....if GM/Chrysler did close down completely, the other car companies would have to increase production to fill the demand created by the X million people who would have bought a GM/Chrysler car but cannot. They would have to hire more workers and either build more plants or take over GM/Chrysler's plants and workers. Or do you think those X million people would never drive again since they cannot have a Chevy? And which companies would fill this demand and in what percent? The ones who were able to provide the best product to capture those displaced customers. Everyone wins in the long run in REAL capitalism; not the crony kind this battery company was part of. Forget Toyota and the tsunami.... Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen in the 1940s had their factories and their parts suppliers bombed into a total pile of rubble, inside a ruined and completely bankrupt country. A country later broken up into pieces. A large percent of their workforce was also dead. And they all survived that.

  • UrsusAmericanus UrsusAmericanus on Feb 08, 2013

    Nearly the entire electric vehicle industry is being propped up by unsustainable taxpayer dollars provided by stimulus. Hybrids seem to be doing ok but the EVs are going down the toilet within 24 months is my prediction.