Apr 10

Op-Ed: GM releases Fresh Start Results, Loses 4.3 Billion Between July and December

 

[ad#post_ad]On Wednesday GM released its ‘fresh start’/GAAP compliant results, and while this report is of interest for many people anxious to find out just how ‘new’ GM is doing, the results have been prepared by GM with a much different intention from releases in the past.

The very first line of the chart set accompanying the results from GM said it all, “Building the Foundation to Go Public”…at least it used it. Shortly after GM put out the press chart, the most important statement in the whole release disappeared, now there is just a empty space with no indication of what you are about to read.

That statement really got to the heart of the matter. The report itself was not intended to wow anyone, nor is it intended to convince anyone the company is A-OK right now, it is not prepared with a focus on the ‘spin’…this report is for taking out the trash.

GM has looked around for anything lying around the Ren Center that could be bad for the bottom line in upcoming quarters, or that could appear as a negative in the future, and they have put it in here. ‘One time’ items are running wild, and reasonable assumptions abound, a good clean report all around. Unsurprisingly, it ends up to the tune of a 4.3 billion dollar loss.

GM CFO, Charles Liddell characterizes GM’s progress as follows: “As the results for 2009 show there is still significant work to be done. However, I continue to believe we have a chance of achieving profitability in 2010.”

While GM is still talking up the finer points of its business in this report, that is not at all what this report is intending to represent. GM is cleaning house. They are setting up the pins to be knocked down. This report is the target for the next quarters to destroy.

The only real information to be gleaned from this report is the cash. (It is always about the cash) How much do they have, and is it going up or down. Well, it is still going down (1.9B used in Q4) and they have about 23 billion of it left (non-restricted). Which would be more than adequate going forward, except for the black hole that is Opel, and the fact the pension fund is still under funded by 27 billion…and of that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) just recently concluded that GM will have to add 12.4 billion to by 2014.

But nevermind all that, the days of ‘real’ trouble are still years in the future, thanks to the 50+ billion the government provided GM out of C11, which was clearly calculated to at least see them through the next election cycle. Right now GM has two goals in mind while releasing this financial update, and neither of them is profitability or the current cash flow chart, and those two goals are both only three letters long: IPO and DoE.

IPO
The general consensus (and the rumblings from GM itself) indicate that a IPO is coming later this summer, and to make it successful GM needs to cultivate a atmosphere of optimism and hope for the future. The best way to do that is by first selling cars, lots of cars; and secondly by having a a really great, breakout quarter to really get the ball rolling to go along with those sales.

Enter the master of managing expectations and beating expectations by a penny, former Microsoft CFO, Charles Liddell. He was born for handling a job like this. If turning a profit in the upcoming quarters was considered a miracle, GM is halfway to sainthood already…it is in the bag.

Short term success/acceptance of a IPO very many times is based on sentiment at the time, which can be brought out by just plain old good self promotion. Looking past the initial buzz, and at the actual viability of the company, it doesn’t look so good. GM has to make a profit of at least $5.9b in 2013, and $6.4b in 2014 to just meet commitments on their pension funds. /how likely is that?

For GM’s part, they themselves have said they need to maintain their piece (market share) of a auto industry that sells north of 10.5-11 million just to break-even. And while the SAAR has shown signs of life of late, GM reported US market share down to 19.6% from 22.1% and globally at 11.6%, down from 12.4%. To that end, GM has voluntarily reinstated over 660 dealers that only months ago were deemed unprofitable, and a necessary elimination under the turnaround plan, as a last resort to ‘goose’ sales in the short term ahead of the IPO. /very old GM

DoE
More specifically, the letters ATVML, which stand for Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program. This road has been a long and winding one. Even before GM went bankrupt they were looking to the DoE to start the process, but there was a viability clause in the program that says they have to have a reasonable chance to be in existence for the term of the loan. Wisely the DoE decided to not light that money on fire, keeping it to themselves and telling GM to come back later.

After GM’s bankruptcy they did indeed go back to the DoE, and figured while they were there why not request a additional 2.6 billion dollars on top (GM submitted the plan to develop the Volt and two other spin-offs based on the Voltec platform), bringing the total request to well over 10 billion. At the time it was thought that a clean and rinsed GM, flush with taxpayer’s money would get at least a piece of this money without much effort. Turns out…not so much

While the DoE was busy handing out cheques to Ford (they asked for 11 billion, and got 5.9) and Nissan (received 1.6 billion, only took 1.4B), GM was slow-rolled again. No GAAP reporting, no cash. It is thought today’s milestone is one of the last hoops to jump through to gain access to this resource.

It is ironic that while the program is intended to “support the development of advanced technology vehicles and associated components in the United States,” Walter Borst (GM’s Treasurer) told a congressional oversight committee this past July that, “securing those funds are a component of GM’s shorter-term liquidity assumptions.” and indicated these funds are a source of liquidity that GM is factoring into its plans in order to meet its capital requirements in the future. /hrm

Volt
A big part of any Department of Energy money coming GM’s way will be because of the plan submitted to the DoE based on the Volt’s high visibility, and its ability to compete in the US market. Therefore, given the recent pressure of Nissan pricing the Leaf at $32,780, and Mitsubishi’s announcement last week that not only will they sell the i-MiEV in the US in 2011, but that they are “targeting sub-$30,000 for the U.S.” (pre-rebate). Look for GM to back away from talking up a $40,000 price tag, or the fact they will be losing money at that price. (Bob Lutz certainly won’t be commenting about it on Letterman again).

So our Volt is not only the focus of getting vital DoE money, but it is going to be the poster child of GM’s upcoming IPO. Volt pricing is no longer about supply and demand, or what the public will pay…or even if GM can make money on it or not. For better of worse, the Volt is all about image now, it will be the face of ‘new’ GM, and it has to be perceived as a competitive, if not dominant player going forward, regardless of actual P&L. It is the ‘sizzle’ of new GM, and the sizzle is what will sell the IPO…not the steak.

GM doesn’t want to sell high volumes of a car at a loss, and they don’t want multi-year back order lists. I’d look for a Volt MSRP around $35,000, with less talk about the Volt being unprofitable and more talk of unexpected cost savings. $35,000 would be a competitive price, but would not likely generate huge backlogs, giving GM time to slow roll as Nissan burns through their allotment of $7,500 rebates and battery prices come inline with the asking price.
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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010 at 7:55 am and is filed under Financial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 109


  1. 1
    RB

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:07 am)

    If it is not an audited report, and I don’t think it is, then one cannot be confident of any of the numbers in it. That is, “management judgment” will produce numbers that are pretty much whatever management wants them to be. Auditors do make a difference.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:08 am)

    Here’s hoping you are spot on with the Volt info!
    Nice piece.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  3. 3
    Starcast

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:08 am)

    ” the fact the pension fund is still under funded by 27 billion…and of that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) just recently concluded that GM will have to add 12.4 billion to by 2014″

    This is GMs real problem and it should not be. They could have off loaded it in C11. But Obama owed the union.


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    carcus1

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:09 am)

    On Volt vs. Leaf pricing.

    The problem likely is a long term one as Nissan may very well be able to sell the Leaf in the low $20k’s with no rebate and still make money.

    There’s just not a lot to a BEV. If Nissan’s got the battery price handled, then the car is going to be inexpensive to build. The Volt … not so much.


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    carcus1

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:14 am)

    Starcast: This is GMs real problem and it should not be. They could have off loaded it in C11. But Obama owed the union.  

    And now, we all owe.


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    RB

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:18 am)

    GM has to make a profit of at least $5.9b in 2013, and $6.4b in 2014 to just meet commitments on their pension funds.

    Gobbledygook. If they have to pay it to the pension fund, it is not profit, just another part of overhead.


  7. 7
    Tagamet

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:20 am)

    I suppose we can choose to bemoan things *past*, or look forward to the good news about the Volt. Personally, I’m focused on the fact that the Volt has become even more important in the GM plan for success AND that it may well *be* “comfortably under 30K” – post taxes.
    And to top it off, they are already coming off the production lines.

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!


  8. 8
    carcus1

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:22 am)

    “Short term success/acceptance of a IPO very many times is based on sentiment at the time, which can be brought out by just plain old good self promotion. Looking past the initial buzz, and at the actual viability of the company, it doesn’t look so good. GM has to make a profit of at least $5.9b in 2013, and $6.4b in 2014 to just meet commitments on their pension funds. /how likely is that?”

    /..something about a 10 foot pole? I mean really. Anyone thinking about buying stock is going to be aware of these obligations, are they not? Wasn’t this a major factor in old GM’s stock decline?


  9. 9
    RB

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:22 am)

    4 carcus1: There’s just not a lot to a BEV. If Nissan’s got the battery price handled, then the car is going to be inexpensive to build. The Volt … not so much. 

    Regarding cost of production, I’m more optimistic on that. The only cost differential for the Volt is the ICE, a standard component that costs gm a few hundred dollars. So that would allow Volt to be within a thousand dollars of the Leaf, and for a vastly superior design. The challenge to gm is making the corporate overhead costs, including pensions and other legacy costs about the same. If they can do that, they can run Nissan into the ground, because the car itself is better.


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    JohnK

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    Wow. Thanks for all that. It is a lot to digest. But it really really makes sense. Explains some of the yo-yo swings on what the price discussions have been. And the startup volumes.


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    RB

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:26 am)

    7 Tagamet: I suppose we can choose to bemoan things *past*, or look forward to the good news about the Volt. Personally, I’m focused on the fact that the Volt has become even more important in the GM plan for success AND that it may well *be* “comfortably under 30K” – post .
    And to top it off, they are already coming off the production lines.Be well,
    TagametLJGTVWOTR!!  

    Yes, exactly so. Beyond that most of us are not trying to buy the corporation, only a car, so when they are out there soon we can do so :) And as we learned (from Noel?) yesterday, “if we come they will build it”


  12. 12
    Tagamet

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:28 am)

    RB:
    Yes, exactly so.Beyond that most of us are not trying to buy the corporation, only a car, so when they are out there soon we can do so   

    AMEN!

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!! (soon)


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    JohnK

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:31 am)

    It would seem that for the near term and mid term plans and strategy are being handled fairly well. Long term, looks like still some problems. I sincerely hope that GM and American business in general start to think in longer term planning. Short term thinking really leads to trouble.


  14. 14
    Nelson

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:33 am)

    I’ll say this again and again until I turn blue in the face. GM should not be allowed to go public until it has sold 200,000 Volts in the U.S. I’ll let you all ponder on what could go wrong with a pre-Volt IPO.

    NPNS!


  15. 15
    Adam

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:34 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    carcus1

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:39 am)

    RB: The only cost differential for the Volt is the ICE, a standard component that costs gm a few hundred dollars.

    What percentage of a car’s cost would you say is in the ICE, tranny, and all related components (cooling system, fuel tank, exhaust, catalytic converter, fuel pump, smog pump, O2 sensors, ECM, etc. , and all the sensors/warning systems/wiring harness that makes these things work together )?


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    ECO_Turbo

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:45 am)

    If they lost $4 billion just doing what they do for six months, seems to make $1 billion for development of a revolutionary new product like the Volt a good deal!

    Why not spin Volt and enough people to support it off as a separate company. Potential Volt buyers buy stock too, I imagine. If people are affraid of liability lawsuits it moves those away from the deep pockets.


  18. 18
    RB

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:51 am)

    16 carcus1:
    What percentage of a car’s cost would you sayis in the ICE, tranny, and all related components (cooling system, fuel tank, exhaust, catalytic converter, fuel pump, smog pump,O2 sensors, ECM, etc. ,and all the sensors/wiring harness, that makes these things work together )?  

    A riding lawnmower has all those components and yet in most cases cost less than $1000. If one is considering the incremental cost of adding a small ICE to an otherwise existing car, I think the cost to gm is comparable. The challenge to a new company in the EREV market is in the design. Once that is complete and working, then my guess is that the incremental bump in manufacturing cost over a BEV is small, and maybe even favorable to the EREV, as the batteries in the EREV can be smaller than those in the BEV.

    GM has a problem with corporate overhead, and that large amount is a smaller fraction of the cost of a more expensive vehicle. Setting aside corporate overhead, I think the actual manufacturing cost of a Volt to gm is only slightly more, if any, than the manufacturing cost of a Leaf to Nissan.


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    RB

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:55 am)

    Above I forgot to say “Nice post, Statik”. Thank you.


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    Roy H

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:58 am)

    Another lesson on creative financing. Hard assets, buildings, equipment etc. $20B Company valuation $70B+ includes hard assets + $30B good will + $20B intangible. Shouldn’t good will be included in intangible? Obviously I am not an accountant.

    If the Volt is the “poster child” of the GM IPO, then this is great news. It not only guarantees that the Volt program will not be cancelled, but suggests that this technology will be spread out to all of the GM line! Hurray!


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    Tim Hart

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:26 am)

    Living in Iowa, you have to have a lot of hope for GM as there are twice as many Chevy and GMC cars and trucks on the road compared to Ford or Toyota or Honda, etc. And I mistakenly thought they got the unions off their back from the bankrupcy settlement. That looks like the biggest problem going forward to me. I hope GM survives and prospers and becomes great again, but just as much I hope every one of us gets to own the car of our dreams! Just think how much more fun it will be sharing our stories after we actually own the dream.


  22. 22
    Shawn Marshall

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:32 am)

    RB:
    A riding lawnmower has all those components and yet in most cases cost less than $1000.If one is considering the incremental cost of adding a small ICE to an otherwise existing car, I think the cost to gm is comparable.The challenge to a new company in the EREV market is in the design.Once that is complete and working, then my guess is that the incremental bump in manufacturing cost over a BEV is small, and maybe even favorable to the EREV, as the batteries in the EREV can be smaller than those in the BEV.GM has a problem with corporate overhead, and that large amount is a smaller fraction of the cost of a more expensive vehicle.Setting aside corporate overhead, I think the actual manufacturing cost of a Volt to gm is only slightly more, if any, than the manufacturing cost of a Leaf to Nissan.  

    RB – Usually enjoy your posts and agree with many of them but I think you are guilty of wishful thinking here. I think BEVs are very much simpler than the Volt. We’ve learned that the integration of the ICE in the Volt with the electric motor is very complex. Further, I don’t think riding lawn mowers have all the features mentioned.

    Great job by the enigmatic Statik as usual despite some cryptic prose.

    Our wild government overturned centuries of law in taking over GM and negating the claims of bondholders. It is outright theft; it was done to benefit the UAW for political purposes. As much as I love the Volt concept, my conscience would never allow me to buy one from GM.

    Please GM, spin off the Volt to an American Capital Enterprise.


  23. 23
    Dave K.

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:34 am)

    More than a just good image. GM needs the public to be happy with them. GM needs to be an example of how an American car builder can provide environmentally friendly vehicles in large number. Ford is not there yet either, but wouldn’t be surprised to see a strong move in this direction.

    When the GMCO IPO rolls around the Volt is sure to be considered in the decision to buy stock or not. The questions are: How many Volt and how soon? The usual statement from GM forecasting greater things just up around the bend may not get it done this time.

    Most car buyers will not pick the Leaf over the Volt when they’re offered side by side. The Volt has much more going for it.

    A GM 2-mode hybrid or an EV from one of several other manufacturers? When car buyers finally drop 30k for a car will the Leaf have a Volt next to it. The entire GMCO IPO and future pay back of debt rides on this question.

    =D-Volt


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    Sharon

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:39 am)

    Thank you for this insightful op-ed. It’s just about the most interesting, informative, and yet concise piece I’ve read about GM. Also, it goes a long way toward explaing the role of the Volt going forward from a non-engineering point of view.


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    CDAVIS

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:41 am)

    ______________________________________________________________________
    Statik,
    That is an outstanding article. You have a unique writing style that reformats cold boring financial reporting into entertaining to read common sense perspective.

    With regards to GM’s forward going NOLs, GM will in the end either be long term government owned (comfortably sucking at the tit of us taxpayers) or go through a “real” bankruptcy. In the mean time, they will continue to professionally game the system to pick the taxpayer’s pockets. So why do I support the Volt and the Voltec Team despite my negative sentiment about GM? Because the GM Volt is as important for America as was putting a Man on the Moon. I look at it as my tax dollars going to good use.
    ________________________________________________________________________


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:53 am)

    RB: A riding lawnmower…..

    Ok. I could go on and on about why I disagree, but as it’s the last weekend of snow skiiing, I think I’ll go outside and play instead.

    /BTW nice job Statik. I’d suggest you get a job writing for the WSJ or something but I imagine the editors with their advertising pressures in place would send it back to you with a lot of “suggestions”. I’m reminded of why I like the internet.

    //wonder if Lyle’s going to get another call from big Ed?


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    Dmitrii

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:59 am)

    I don’t get it.

    Earlier I read that GM hopes to return money government gave to GM in this summer.
    How can it be?


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    Is this only for General motors america or its all world ? I hear always we are rocking in china, india , brasil etc but where is the money from this rocking ? is money supposed to flow only in one direction as “emerging market investments” and no returns ?

    As the impression they gave , they should be profitable from the other parts of the world.


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    Herm

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    RB: Regarding cost of production, I’m more optimistic on that. The only cost differential for the Volt is the ICE, a standard component that costs gm a few hundred dollars. So that would allow Volt to be within a thousand dollars of the Leaf, and for a vastly superior design. The challenge to gm is making the corporate overhead costs, including pensions and other legacy costs about the same. If they can do that, they can run Nissan into the ground, because the car itself is better.  

    I have heard it costs GM about $2k for the ICE and support components.. but I think Nissan also has an advantage on the battery cost of a couple more thousand, and rumors it is about to release a new generation of the batteries.

    Not putting an ICE in a vehicle takes a lot of the development, regulatory and compliance costs out of it. Nissan is also gun-ho on mass production and that itself lowers the cost. They have made a bet range anxiety will not be a big issue.


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    statik

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:04 am)

    /thanks for the kind words

    Random Factoids:

    * this is the longest ‘content’ piece of all-time at GM-Volt.com
    * I may or may not be getting paid by the word


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    Roy H

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    Unni: Is this only for General motors america or its all world ? I hear always we are rocking in china, india , brasil etc but where is the money from this rocking ? is money supposed to flow only in one direction as “emerging market investments” and no returns ?As the impression they gave , they should be profitable from the other parts of the world.  

    Yes, this is total, but the profits from international operations do not make up for local losses.


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    statik

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:31 am)

    Dmitrii: I don’t get it.Earlier I read that GM hopes to return money government gave to GM in this summer.How can it be?  (Quote)

    This is a long and winding road. The money GM is ‘paying’ is actually coming out of a government funded post bankruptcy escrow account. So taxpayers repaying taxpayers if you will.

    Where it really gets ‘exciting’ is when you realize that escrow account is overfunded to the debt obligation, and is restricted, meaning GM can not touch the money while it still owes the loans (unless they get sign-off from the US/Cdn gov’t).

    However, when they do ‘repay’ the balance of the loans, they can then access the remainder of the cash account still outstanding without asking the government’s permission to do whatever they please with…many billions of dollars.

    It is likely GM will these extra billions to pre-pay/paydown a portion of their underfunded pension obligations ahead of time, which I am pretty confident will be spun as another ‘achievement’ of the company.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:33 am)

    Dmitrii: I don’t get it.Earlier I read that GM hopes to return money government gave to GM in this summer.
    How can it be?  

    GM must pay back the government loan before they can issue an IPO. The loan portion was $8.4B they still owe about $6B. This actually gets paid out of the grant portion. Don’t you love high finance?


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    DonC

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    Adam: I don’t have health insurance, nor can I afford that too

    That is most unfortunate. Most likely you will get sick, end up in bankruptcy, and the rest of us will be forced to pick up your tab for your healthcare, which you will ultimately get. Bummer all around but it happens all the time.

    On the other hand, it you’re thinking about buying a Volt but think you can’t afford health insurance then you’re just plain stupid and irresponsible. In this case you need to mature and get your priorities straight.


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    Evil Conservative

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:46 am)

    Dmitrii: I don’t get it.Earlier I read that GM hopes to return money government gave to GM in this summer.How can it be?  (Quote)

    I thought the same thing. A couple months ago there was a post on this sight that said GM was going to return all the money they “borrowed” from us tax payers and show a profit by July. I said “no way that would happen” and got a lot of -1′s. I guess I was right.

    The only way GM can return the money is to sell stock. They only way they can sell stock is to get the Government out of the office. The only way they can get the Government out of the office it to return the money. Round and round we go.

    Even IF GM got the okay from the government to issue stock to pay off the “loans” they will still be in the same place they are today …. burning cash. They have made some changes that have helped but there is no way they show a profit by July.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:50 am)

    “(GM submitted the plan to develop the Volt and two other spin-offs based on the Voltec platform), bringing the total request to well over 10 billion. At the time it was thought that a clean and rinsed GM, flush with taxpayer’s money would get at least a piece of this money without much effort. Turns out…not so much”

    So this explains why the Converj project got cancelled.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    Great article statik though I think once you pointed out this was GM’s effort to clean up the balance sheet by dumping every conceivable cost into the “one time expense” bag you could have stopped. Couldn’t help yourself though, could ya? Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Personally the plan to do an IPO this summer was news to me. Interesting information. Seems premature but what do I know. One thing I’ve noticed is that the “car guys” think it’s important that GM pay the government back and get “out from under” government ownership. To me that’s misguided for two reasons. One is that this is going to be such a long term project that running around with that as an immediate goal seems misguided. Two is that the pressures from WS to meet short term goals is what killed GM in the first place, so it’s unclear what would be so great about having GM be subject to those pressures again.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:55 am)

    Yesterday I drove a Toyota Prius Hybrid for the first time. It was a used 2006 that came in to our dealership.

    I’ve never been a fan of Toyotas. I’m sure that they are okay, current brake and electrical problems aside, but they are just boring looking designs. The old Celica GT’s were kinda cool back in the day, but today’s batch of cars aren’t just ‘plain vanilla’… they are ‘sugar-free plain vanilla’. Yawn!

    I took a few minutes to check out the interior. VERY minimalist. Now, I don’t know what a 2010 Prius looks like on the inside, but if it is similar to this, there is no comparison to a VOLT. And the seats look like they came off a base model Chevy Aveo… again, VERY minimalist.

    I got the biggest kick out of the ‘contrast in design’ of the shifters between the Prius and VOLT. Where Chevy now has the record for the LARGEST gear selector ever designed for a car inside the VOLT, Toyota surely has the smallest…. It was pure comedy.

    My point is: If the VOLT does come in between $35,000 to $40,000 it will most certainly be worth the price difference since the features, fit and finish, power and performance are all light-years ahead of the Prius and the Leaf.

    Based on everything posted on this site, the VOLT is built to a much higher standard than either of these two cars. I think in the long run GM’s only mistake was not making the VOLT a ‘Cadillac’ from the very beginning. Instead of a low-priced-high-mileage-Cadillac they are ending up with an expensive Chevrolet.

    I still want one anyway.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:08 am)

    Sharon: Thank you for this insightful op-ed. It’s just about the most interesting, informative, and yet concise piece I’ve read about GM.

    statik: Random Factoids:

    * this is the longest ‘content’ piece of all-time at GM-Volt.com
    * I may or may not be getting paid by the word

    The random factoids don’t match Sharon’s descriptor of “concise.” ;-) Otherwise, it is definitely informative. Thanks, Statik.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:12 am)

    Evil Conservative: They only way they can sell stock is to get the Government out of the office.

    This is just complete BS. With the exception of the congressional pressure to reinstate dealers, which admittedly was horrible, but which was primarily driven by conservatives who champion free markets except when free markets disadvantage their campaign contributors, exactly how has the government interfered with GM’s decision making? Can you give even one example? Inquisitive minds would like to be informed.

    As for the government interfering with GM’s entire ability to pay back the money, the fact is that GM’s ability to pay back the money is based on government action. Had the Fed not bought $1.2T in mortgage backed securities, the corporate bond market would not have reallied. Had the corporate bond market not rallied, the stock market would not have rallied. And had the stock market not rallied there would be no possibility of GM accessing the IPO market. The idea that the government is somehow harming GM reminds me of all the members of the T Party — and there are a lot of them including one of my family members — who take welfare checks and then complain about government being in people’s lives. Or, to take another example, seniors how want the government to keep its hands of “their” Medicare.


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    prowler

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:33 am)

    CorvetteGuy:I think in the long run GM’s only mistake was not making the VOLT a ‘Cadillac’ from the very beginning. Instead of a low-priced-high-mileage-Cadillac they are ending up with an expensive Chevrolet.
    I still want one anyway.  

    Agreed. Given the limited production at the beginning, it better fits Cadillac. Given the demographics of the Cadillac buyer, it would be fueled by the same early “snob appeal” of the Prius by the “I don’t feel guilty buying a Cadillac because I’m “green” and saving the world” crowd.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:36 am)

    SHANGHAI (AP) Friday April 9, 2010, 8:44 am EDT

    Weak sales in the United States and a surge in car purchases by newly affluent Chinese buyers helped to make this the world’s largest auto market last year, when total vehicle sales jumped 45 percent over 2008 to 13.6 million units.

    The U.S. market is recovering but cannot match growth in China, where many are still buying their first cars. Demand for bigger cars is growing as families that bought small cars the first time trade up to better, larger vehicles.

    Sales in the U.S. climbed 24 percent in March compared to the same month a year earlier, according to figures compiled by AutoData Corp. China’s auto industry does not release comparable monthly sales data adjusted for annual rates.

    The Chinese industry group said total vehicle sales rose 56 percent in March from a year earlier to 1.7 million units, bringing sales for the first three months of the year to 4.6 million.

    “Passenger car sales turned out to be even better than earlier market estimates,” said Rao Da, general secretary of another industry group, the Shanghai-based China Passenger Car Association, which released separate data showing similar trends.

    “We are confident that China’s vehicle sales will surpass 17 million units this year, growing by about 25 percent,” he said.

    China’s searing growth has buoyed foreign automakers like General Motors Co. and Toyoto Motor Corp. as they weather languid sales in their saturated home markets.

    GM reported earlier that its sales in China jumped 68 percent in March over a year earlier to a new monthly record of 230,048 vehicles. First quarter sales surged 71 percent to 623,546 units.

    Ford Motor Co. said first quarter sales jumped 84 percent to a record 153,362 units.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/China-passenger-car-sales-up-apf-2293714334.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=9&asset=&ccode=

    =D-Volt

    BTW: For all the regulars. Statik and have kicked the topic of stock trading (and poker playing) around from time to time. Have mentioned interest in cancer diagnostic kits and health many times here. One of my stock holdings was going down in flames. Lost 50% which by itself, was about the price of a Volt. This week the company secured a deal to sell product and had a huge surge upward. Took a nice profit of 70k in a three day period. It sometimes pays to take a bit of risk.


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    AnonymousProxy

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:40 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Starcast

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:52 am)

    DonC: This is just complete BS. With the exception of the congressional pressure to reinstate dealers, which admittedly was horrible, but which was primarily driven by conservatives who champion free markets except when free markets disadvantage their campaign contributors, exactly how has the government interfered with GM’s decision making? Can you give even one example? Inquisitive minds would like to be informed.

    The government forced them to keep the union contracts and retirements and forced them to give the union 30% of ownership. GM did not go through a regular C11.

    T Taxed
    E enough
    A allready

    People would not complain about loosing their Medicare if the government had not forced them to pay in to it. Can I opt out please?

    Funny how Dems want to force people pay for things but if you complain you should not take what you were forced to pay for. So Can I opt out please? If not then please stop whining about people who take what you promised them.

    A better question will you take all the money you have paid into Medicare and SS plus interest (lets use the rate the s&p 500 has returned including dividends over the time you have paid in )
    to opt out. YES YES YES!!!!!!!


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    Tagamet

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:53 am)

    DonC: This is just complete BS. With the exception of the congressional pressure to reinstate dealers, which admittedly was horrible, but which was primarily driven by conservatives who champion free markets except when free markets disadvantage their campaign contributors, exactly how has the government interfered with GM’s decision making? Can you give even one example? Inquisitive minds would like to be informed. …

    Hi DonC,
    Which *specific* conservatives are you aware of who applied pressure re ownerships? Did they outnumber the liberal congressmen? You could list those too, if you would. I’d like to know so that I don’t inadvertently vote for them.
    Re govt having made no interventions into GM’s business: who was it that had the entire upper management at GM thrown over-board? I could be wrong, but I didn’t get the sense that they left willingly.

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!********** NPNS


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    AnonymousProxy

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (11:55 am)

    Starcast: The government forced them to keep the union contracts and retirements and forced them to give the union 30% of ownership. GM did not go through a regular C11.

    You can thank the Unions “Grand Pubah” for that……..Obama.


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    Streetlight

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    We know, we know. GAAP means unfriendly disclaimers, CYA assumptions – and so on.
    Its rare as an American auto manufacturer in California , that a former D-J company, stages an IPO. This IPO will be even more special. You see the United States c/o His Excellency owns 61%.
    Now as to management. This CFO has a little glamor having been CFO and a possible #1/#2 at Microsoft. The word being he took the GM job with a wink-and-nod he’d be GM’s pres/ceo . I certainly hope that the board goes with a much more suitable choice. For the CFO, he, like the CEO, wouldn’t know a differential from the back end of a turnip truck. Traditionally, there’s tension between marketing and finance competing in large corps. Actually I’d really like to see this happen before the IPO. Get Leadership together. Whitacre can proclaim himself emperor, king of the hill or whatever – he’s still a 70-year old temp. GM must have dynamic, insightful and irresistible marketing-sales leadership- period. Our goal-reestablish the GM brand and sell 750,000 units/month.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (12:28 pm)

    RB:
    Regarding cost of production, I’m more optimistic on that.The only cost differential for the Volt is the ICE, a standard component that costs gm a few hundred dollars.So that would allow Volt to be within a thousand dollars of the Leaf, and for a vastly superior design.The challenge to gm is making the corporate overhead costs, including pensions and other legacy costs about the same.If they can do that, they can run Nissan into the ground, because the car itself is better.  

    I suspect the greater portion of the extra cost on the Volt will be the other refinements. Biggest has got to be the thermal management of the battery that the LEAF doesn’t have.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (12:36 pm)

    Dmitrii: I don’t get it.Earlier I read that GM hopes to return money government gave to GM in this summer.
    How can it be?  

    The hope is that GM can sell $50 Billion in stock and then pay the government back.


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    Exp_EngTech

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    Statik, once again a great “nuts and bolts” analysis of the situation. Thank-you.

    You wrote ….. “For better of worse, the Volt is all about image now, it will be the face of ‘new’ GM, and it has to be perceived as a competitive, if not dominant player going forward, regardless of actual P&L. It is the ’sizzle’ of new GM, and the sizzle is what will sell the IPO…not the steak.”

    AMEN.

    I’ll take my Volt “Well-Done”, with a full order of instant torque, tire chiping FUN !


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    LauraM

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (12:57 pm)

    DonC: This is just complete BS. With the exception of the congressional pressure to reinstate dealers, which admittedly was horrible, but which was primarily driven by conservatives who champion free markets except when free markets disadvantage their campaign contributors, exactly how has the government interfered with GM’s decision making? Can you give even one example? Inquisitive minds would like to be informed.

    The government interfered to a much greater extent than that in terms of the bankruptcy restructuring. Which, I, for one, think was a good thing. GM needed some shaking up. When you’re putting in that amount of new capital, you should interfere!

    However, the fact remains that if the government really cared about maintaining the US manufacturing base, they would have allowed GM and Chrysler to put the pension costs off on the PBGC. I know that that would have created problems for the PBGC, which is in trouble. But that’s going to happen anyway. At least this way, the union workers would have shared in more of the costs. They might actually have to work until 65 like the rest of us. The horror!

    I’m also not happy that GM had to shore up the pensions for Delphi’s union workers. While the salaried workers, like the retired engineers, were left to twist in the wind. I don’t think, in a bankruptcy situation, GM should have had to shore up anyone else’s pensions. But if they’re going to do so, there shouldn’t have been a double standard.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/business/23pension.html?scp=1&sq=delphi%20union%20pensions&st=cse


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:04 pm)

    Starcast: People would not complain about loosing their Medicare if the government had not forced them to pay in to it. Can I opt out please?

    Funny how Dems want to force people pay for things but if you complain you should not take what you were forced to pay for. So Can I opt out please? If not then please stop whining about people who take what you promised them.

    A better question will you take all the money you have paid into Medicare and SS plus interest (lets use the rate the s&p 500 has returned including dividends over the time you have paid in )
    to opt out. YES YES YES!!!!!!!

    Medicare has been running at a substantial deficit for many years. And that deficit is only going to get larger as the population ages, and medical costs skyrocket. If you compare it with any private insurance you’ll see that it’s a very good deal that, I, for one, would love to opt into. Especially when you consider that it covers the most expensive part of the population. (People, on average, demand many many more medical services as they get older.


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    GM Crooks

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:07 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:11 pm)

    Tagamet: Which *specific* conservatives are you aware of who applied pressure re ownerships? Did they outnumber the liberal congressmen? You could list those too, if you would. I’d like to know so that I don’t inadvertently vote for them.

    I don’t have the names, but you could probably find out about your congresspeople by looking at their webpage or the voting record.

    That said, if you’re not going to vote for anyone who engages in this type of behavior, you won’t have anyone to vote for. They’re all guilty. At this point, unfortunately, we’re left with least bad political choices.

    Unless you just want to make a statement. In which case, I think Mickey Mouse would make a great senator….


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    AnonymousPr_Monkeybutt

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:24 pm)

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:27 pm)

    The early production Volt is looking good. The shark fin dorsal antenna looks elegant and sexy. Will the final production Volt have the slim rear view mirrors seen in early walk around videos? When will we see a Volt in red? With the optional 18″ wheels she’s looking like a $35,000 car. Smooth and quiet.

    =D-Volt

    first%20Volt%20-%20line.jpg


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:28 pm)

    Adam: A new Chevy Aveo (Daewoo) is about $10k, and is built in Korea, and shipped here. The next car up from that was the Cobalt, but around $17-20k, and you don’t get all that much more than the Aveo, really it should of been like $2k more, not $7k+…

    Actually a new Aveo starts at around 12K. A new cobalt starts around 15K. A 3K difference, not a 7K.

    7K is a good example of Hyperbole for Capn Jack.


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    Sanderson Leeds

     

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:44 pm)

    (Please re-post this as a community service)

    Less than 20 car companies (The ATVM people say there were tons of applications but only a handful were car companies) applied for $25 BILLION DOLLARS in taxpayer money managed by a certain smug group of people at DOE in order to get loans to make green cars for Americans. This was not all of DOE that did bad things, just a private cadre of men led by Lachland Seward and Matt Rogers and his McKinsey “Partner” who flew back and forth to their homes in Silicon Valley every weekend on the taxpayer dime.

    There was enough money to help every single one of the car companies that applied. The administrators applied their interpretations of the law in order to benefit the large lobby group-related firms and avoided every one of the “politically unconnected “independent American companies. The companies staff that felt that Matt Rogers, Lachland Seward and the ATVM people lied to them include: Aptera Motors, Bannon, BioTrike, Brammo, Bright Auto, VVC, Eco Motors, Electric Motors, ElectroRides, Electrovaya, ETS, EV Innovations, Futuris, Limnia, Magna, Pheonix, Revolution, Smart Earth, Vextrix, Wrightspeed, XP, Zap and a group of others currently seeking a class action law firm.

    The amount of lobby and influence money spent by each awardee is in direct ratio to the amount of money awarded. Pay-to-play was the process.

    The smaller companies, due to lower overhead, could have dramatically more productive results with the money than the large burdened companies yet the money was given out based on political career advantages for the administrators rather than the technology advantages for Americans.

    The way the ATVM people set it up (Google “Siry says stifles innovation” for more), the smaller applicants were prevented from getting outside investor funding.

    All of the people that reviewed the applications had political and financial connections to GM, Ford, Chrysler and the large Detroit recipients.

    Each of those smaller American companies had technology and resources that presented a powerful economic threat, if they got the loans, to the large politically connected companies that did receive funds. The big car companies wanted the small companies cut-out at all costs.

    The Section 136 law was written to provide first-come-first serve funding but when the small companies got their applications in first, while the big ones arrogantly felt that they did not even need to apply because it was already pre-staged for them, the ATVM officials changed the rules in order to remove the first-come-first-serve standard of the law in order to cut out the smaller independents.

    Some of the companies that have gotten money have backed out of making the electric cars they said they would make. But they still get to keep the money.

    The Section 136 Law was created by the lobbyists for GM, Ford & Chrysler when they saw that they were about to go bankrupt and wanted to tap into additional taxpayer dollars by claiming the money was going to be used for electric cars in order to win rapid support for Section 136 by tugging at heartstrings. In retrospect, the money mostly went to gasoline car projects. Multiple public hearings have already shown the sister loan guarantee program to have been a failed program via intentional delays, the head was fired and replaced & massive complaints have been filed by many.

    Some of the companies that got the money have already wasted more money than other companies applied for as their total request.

    Some of the companies that got taxpayer loan money are not even American companies and/or are doing their manufacturing offshore with non-American employees. Thus, the ATVM process has cost American’s jobs.

    Those who got the money had to fill out little, or no, paperwork, went through little, or no, review and were connected to the DOE people who gave them the money and shepherded them through the process. Those who they wanted to keep out were forced to jump through more hoops, were slow-tracked in review and had made no political deals via hired law and lobby firms that the big companies has used to conduit “influence”.

    The decision about who would get money was made in 2008 by a private group who then pretended there was a lengthy review throughout 2009 but in fact, the money was pre-wired for a select few. The ATVM group lied to the other applicants about their application station when Lachlan Seward had already personally decided, without review, that his connections would get the money and ordered his staff to tell the applicants, for over a year, that they were all on the way to funding. This caused those applicants to expend money and brand reputation which they lost because of Sewards lies.

    All of the things that the rejected small companies (who did not pay lobby fees) were rejected for, were the same things that the insider big companies were doing. In at least two cases, big companies who were in violation of Section 136 rules were guided by reviewer-insiders to change their whole business structure in order to become suddenly “compliant “with section 136 while smaller companies received no such “help”.

    How does this affect you? It cost you and your friends jobs, it delayed American innovation, it made your family have to breath toxic petroleum fumes for another decade, it furthered a corrupt practice and it hurt domestic small business. This was all about money. Controlling who got to make money off of the technology and who got to delay electric cars so the old oil and steel guys could still make money off of their old assets.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (1:58 pm)

    Matthew B: The hope is that GM can sell $50 Billion in stock and then pay the government back.  (Quote)

    Would you all invest your hard earned money in a company, any company for that matter, that is losing money?

    I thought the whole purpose of going into bankruptcy was to emerge lean and healthy, otherwise just go chapter 7, sell everything, and new investors will start anew.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (2:08 pm)

    What about that “payment” to the govt loan announced months ago? Obviously GM simply took some of the remaining funds and made a “payment.” Remind anyone of a pyramid scheme?


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (2:55 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Hi DonC,
    Which *specific* conservatives are you aware of who applied pressure re ownerships? Did they outnumber the liberal congressmen? You could list those too, if you would.I’d like to know so that I don’t inadvertently vote for them.
    Re govt having made no interventions into GM’s business: who was it that had the entire upper management at GM thrown over-board? I could be wrong, but I didn’t get the sense that they left willingly.Be well,
    TagametLJGTVWOTR!!********** NPNS  

    I believe Barny Frank may have had some influence…
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-fix-is-in-rep-barney-frank-delays-local-plant-closure/
    I do not think he is a conservative though.

    The Beauty of a Volt…
    It Survived


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (3:12 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: I’ve never been a fan of Toyotas. I’m sure that they are okay, current brake and electrical problems aside, but they are just boring looking designs. The old Celica GT’s were kinda cool back in the day, but today’s batch of cars aren’t just ‘plain vanilla’… they are ’sugar-free plain vanilla’. Yawn!

    The only thing the Prius has going for it is guilt or the lack of it. Talking about mileage, I feel better in a Prius at 70mph because the LCD says 50mpg for the trip. That is it. Yes it is Fugly, but the radio is nice, and the seats are OK, not as comfy as the HHR, but OK. It is a better car than the Geo Metro I once owned.

    So come on GM, up the anti! Build me a Prius beater. I am hanging on, you can do it I know you can. I guess the future of GM rides on weather GM can convince others that they will survive with a *new* product offering based on the sizzle of the Volt. So I know Statik likes his beef, and a good Poker hand, is he in? I almost viewed his OP-ED as the glass was half full. I would rather be smug in a Volt, than less guilty in a Prius. To early to take stock, but time will tell…

    The Beauty of a Volt…
    Newfound Smugness


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (3:42 pm)

    RB: Above I forgot to say “Nice post, Statik”. Thank you.

    #19

    I’ll put in with you there. +1


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (4:03 pm)

    Red HHR:
    I believe Barny Frank may have had some influence…
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-fix-is-in-rep-barney-frank-delays-local-plant-closure/
    I do not think he is a conservative though.The Beauty of a Volt…
    It Survived  

    SERIOUSLY??? (lol). I thought he and his boyfriend were pretty straight-laced. (rolls eyes).

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!********** NPNS


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (4:21 pm)

    LauraM: Tagamet: Which *specific* conservatives are you aware of who applied pressure re ownerships? Did they outnumber the liberal congressmen? You could list those too, if you would. I’d like to know so that I don’t inadvertently vote for them.

    LauraM: I don’t have the names, but you could probably find out about your congresspeople by looking at their webpage or the voting record.

    That said, if you’re not going to vote for anyone who engages in this type of behavior, you won’t have anyone to vote for. They’re all guilty. At this point, unfortunately, we’re left with least bad political choices.

    Sorry LauraM,
    I was just “ticklin’” DonC for one of his earlier posts (he believes that the gub mint did not interfere with GM).
    I *always* vote (I have missed 3 primary votes), and I know the characters as well as possible before doing so. I’m ALMOST at the point where I’d vote for anyone who A) is not currently in office, B) will implement term limits (2 terms *top*) and C) has an R or a D behind their name. After that I’ll look at issues. When it comes to the main elections I really wish that they had a “None of the above” option. It would give a voice to cumulative malcontents (They never report our “Mickey Mouse” write-ins).

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!********** NPNS


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (4:40 pm)

    LauraM: Medicare has been running at a substantial deficit for many years. And that deficit is only going to get larger as the population ages, and medical costs skyrocket. If you compare it with any private insurance you’ll see that it’s a very good deal that, I, for one, would love to opt into. Especially when you consider that it covers the most expensive part of the population. (People, on average, demand many many more medical services as they get older.  (Quote)

    If that is true let us opt out.

    People on medicare still need to buy a private supplment because medicare is not a great deal.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (4:51 pm)

    Tagamet: Sorry LauraM,I was just “ticklin’” DonC for one of his earlier posts (he believes that the gub mint did not interfere with GM).I *always* vote (I have missed 3 primary votes), and I know the characters as well as possible before doing so. I’m ALMOST at the point where I’d vote for anyone who A) is not currently in office, B) will implement term limits (2 terms *top*) and C) has an R or a D behind their name. After that I’ll look at issues. When it comes to the main elections I really wish that they had a “None of the above” option. It would give a voice to cumulative malcontents (They never report our “Mickey Mouse” write-ins).Be well,TagametLJGTVWOTR!!********** NPNS  (Quote)

    Thats what the TEA party is all about getting the right people on the ballot. It is not a third party. We need to get new people to run for office people that understand we are TAXED ENOUGH ALLREADY!! R or D who cares the problem is I have found no Ds and few Rs that think we are Taxed Enough Allready.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (5:15 pm)

    Medicare is government run long term health care insurance for the elderly. We have been billed for it without recourse for many years. It is woefully mismanaged, rife with fraud and abuse and catastrophically underfunded. It is a disaster and it presages our coming national health care debacle if we can’t right the ship in November. Why people think having the government in control of anything is useful is beyond all comprehension.
    People and Doctors will make better decisions when their own money is on the line. It is succinctly efficient.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (6:17 pm)

    DonC:
    This is just complete BS. With the exception of the congressional pressure to reinstate dealers, which admittedly was horrible, but which was primarily driven by conservatives who champion free markets except when free markets disadvantage their campaign contributors, exactly how has the government interfered with GM’s decision making? Can you give even one example? Inquisitive minds would like to be informed.
    As for the government interfering with GM’s entire ability to pay back the money, the fact is that GM’s ability to pay back the money is based on government action. Had the Fed not bought $1.2T in mortgage backed securities, the corporate bond market would not have reallied. Had the corporate bond market not rallied, the stock market would not have rallied. And had the stock market not rallied there would be no possibility of GM accessing the IPO market. The idea that the government is somehow harming GM reminds me of all the members of the T Party — and there are a lot of them including one of my family members — who take welfare checks and then complain about government being in people’s lives. Or, to take another example, seniors how want the government to keep its hands of “their” Medicare.  

    Couldn’t have said it better my self. People forget that their fire and police department is “socialized” every road they drive on or national park is “socialized”, every one who uses medicare, medicaid or the VA are using socialized medicine. If you ever tried to take those away people would flip out. Yet as they use them in one hand, they’ll try and rip away anything else that might be beneficial to the country as a whole. The current Tea-party is so full of hypocrisy its pathetic and shameful.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (6:24 pm)

    Prius bashing is not the way to make Volt look better or more appealing. Comparing the Volt to a BMW or a Lexus is also just about as ludicrous and silly – but it’s oft done by Volt fans ( “fan boys” ) on this site.

    We have to compare the Volt to it’s nearest competition, and Prius is it. The Volt is NO ROCKET,NO BMW in acceleration nor handling, but it may possess better initial acceleration than Prius in it’s final iteration. The Prius paved the way for Volt, so we can’t knock it or unfairly assess it. First, either spend time in one or get impressions from Prius owners ( not the trolls and haters who come to bash GM ). These are cars designed for ECONOMY not to rival Jags or Beemers. Affluent buyers often trade their Mercedes or Lexus for a Volt-type car for it’s disparate attributes, but not for it’s luxury or sportiness.

    Here is an article, a test drive of a pre-production Volt, NOT BY AN EV ENTHUSIAST OR VOLT FAN CLUB MEMBER – but an experienced automobile journalist. Please read it with an open mind ( and yes, he makes a couple mis-statements regarding Volt facts ) – but take it as a MUCH…MUCH….more objective viewpoint on the car itself than you find from regulars here. Remember, I’m not a “troll” – and yes, I will buy a Volt if they sell them in quantity at MSRP. I’ll buy it because it OUT PRIUSES A PRIUS. Try to keep an open mind.

    Yes, the article is from January, and this Test Integration Vehicle was not as refined as today’s Volts. Yes, he “twists the ignition key” ? It is worthy to note that GM felt the car refined enough for an automotive publication to test drive it, which is, in itself, surprising at that point ( January ). Mostly though, the interior and exterior components were the same as they are today. It’s great to see someone allowed to “PUNCH IT” up to 92mph, drive in EV and GEN modes, and force the car into some higher g turns that others have been allowed to in parking lot demo courses with stop signs and easy cones.

    We know this is an ICE enthusiast, and his taste in styling ( like most Americans ) is tempered by what he knows of the past, thus he likes Cruze’s styling better – but all that is understandable. I really enjoyed the freshness of an objective opinion – AT LAST!

    Test drivers from SXSW in Austin ( EV enthusiasts, bloggers ) , or the LA Autoshow ( celebrities ) or the NY Autoshow ( Volt fanatics and EV’ers ) were fantastic and fun – but far from objective, as we heard people saying Lexus drivers would blush in jealousy over the interior, and BMW drivers would want to rush to trade in their 3 and 5 series because the handling was so slot car-ish. Please, let’s get real. The Volt is a car to leapfrog Prius, and thus, we need to compare the car with it’s rivals and not go overboard gushing about how Mercedes-like it is. It has a shiny plastic center stack, which designers admitted was a spin off the iPod – but the iPod obviously has changed quite a bit since the design of Volt’s dash was finalized ( iPod Touch, iPhone ). So now, the console just looks a bit garish and odd in bright white. And I wholeheartedly agree the Volt steering wheel is more Malibu and Tahoe than ergonomic and forward-thinking. More controls on the wheel rather than on the console with teeny tiny letters would be better, IMO. And I also agree with this tester – lose the graphics on the door panels, or at least offer an alternative.

    I own a Prius and have driven it thousands of miles. So taking Corvette Guy’s impression of his FIRST LOOK at a Prius is hardly adequate -( it’s used, who knows what package ….cloth? No nav, no upgrades? )….? Seriously, the Prius did not sell nearly two million for nothing. HHR comparing a Prius to a Geo Metro is INSANE! I know you all are going from vehicles you are familiar with to compare – but those are NOT good examples…not at all. The Volt is no luxo vehicle. In fact, from all the hundreds of pictures I’ve seen of the ACTUAL car ( not a show car or mockup ), it’s interior is pretty bland with plastic-ola door panels the plain-est rear passenger compartment I have ever seen, although the side bolsters on the quasi rear buckets are neat ( four door sportscar-like ). About those cheesey glossy plastic parts – fingerprints? And usability ( the tiny letters on the “nibs” that are touch-sensitive , haptic -feedback could be annoying to use, esp at night, taking your eyes off the road. Thank God you can opt for the charcoal gray shiny plastic console IMO. But this is not Lexus stuff, believe me.

    I love my Prius. Since I am a car guy with lots of experience, I didn’t go into it looking to compare it with ICE cars or luxury cars of the same price range. You just can’t. The money is in the tech under the hood and behind the rear seat. You can’t just hop in a Prius OR VOLT and fairly critique it without taking the whole into consideration.

    IMO – This article deserves a headline – and full day’s commentary – here at GM-Volt.com.

    http://www.automobilemag.com/green/reviews/1001_2011_chevrolet_volt_integration_vehicle/index.html

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (6:29 pm)

    Khadgars: The current Tea-party is so full of hypocrisy its pathetic and shameful.

    Yes,

    They must be crazy. How dare they complain that our govt spends more money than they have and that we and our grandkids can pay the bill.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (6:56 pm)

    James: HHR comparing a Prius to a Geo Metro is INSANE!

    Well, I have been called worse….
    For what it is worth they were both mileage champs. The Prius is a much better car than the Metro. So why is that insane? I am hoping that the Volt similarly leapfrogs the Prius.

    Have a nice day


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:09 pm)

    29 Herm: I have heard it costs GM about $2k for the ICE and support components..

    Sounds reasonable to me :)


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:14 pm)

    48 Matthew B: I suspect the greater portion of the extra cost on the Volt will be the other refinements. Biggest has got to be the thermal management of the battery that the LEAF doesn’t have.  

    You make a good point and could well be right. I’m sure it took a lot of development effort and and I hoping that the actual manufacturing cost is small.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:29 pm)

    70 James: IMO – This article deserves a headline – and full day’s commentary – here at GM-Volt.com.

    Thank you for the reference. I agree that it is a good article, far more positive than the impression I had from your comments, such as “..better driving performance than we expected..” for example.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:30 pm)

    I think I’d really enjoy some old fashioned speculations about what posters think are the percentages of their general perceptions of “loss”, the part of it that goes to the rightful development of Volt (even though we really don’t know yet).

    I think that some of us can come up with some pretty surprising ideas about the costs for the R&D, and how that relates to the setting up for an entirely new philosophical changeover to electric motoring.

    It’s the R&D costs of this *changeover* within GM that really is entirely and completely justified if anyone wishes to consider what I think are the deeper meanings of what “losses” can mean.

    “Losses” don’t mean that inefficiencies nor even lost-momentum are what are at play in this case of this monumental technical changeover to electric motoring. These “losses” are what are known as investment/retooling/production line establishment/new factory building/new contractual cost overhead/additional unique talent hiring/ and on and on, regarding all this relentless R&D going on at GM.

    Look at why sales might be where they are for different reasons other than the generic paradygm of obvious lost sales momentum. The banks are not lending money as they used to, and, they are tending to look more closely at people reducing their debt service.

    From out here in the independent servicing field, I can tell you the consumers are taking very very strong looks at which shops are “getting to the right problem diagnosis accurately, and at the right priorities to service multiple problems”. One third of shops out here are at full servicing capacities. Their owners are paying their best techs the best wages and are not scrimping on flag hours for diagnostic times. Another third are just comfortable with just enough business. There is approximately that last third who are in jeopardy of going out of business because they are buying very expensive (over $4,000) electronic equipment that will not only not help the customer, but are making a situation where the vehicles are leaving their shops more dangerous and in worse disrepair than when they came in!!

    So, there will be a very ready market for Volt as production ramps up next year.

    I think as the final testing benchmarks are proved normal, GM will be able to give us
    some production surprises by this time next year. They must practice caution to prevent
    runaway expectations in the meantime.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:46 pm)

    Red HHR:
    Well, I have been called worse….
    For what it is worth they were both mileage champs. The Prius is a much better car than the Metro. So why is that insane? I am hoping that the Volt similarly leapfrogs the Prius.Have a nice day  

    L :) L Hey Red HHR, I love ya like a brother! haha…. I in NO WAY was suggesting you were insane….L :) L Quite the opposite, I always enjoy your posts. I was only saying that the comparison of Prius to a Metro was — not apt ( don’t worry Car & Driver did it too and it pissed me off ). The Geo Prizm was a nice little car, a rebadged, rebodied Corolla made in the NUMMI plant. The Metro, on the other hand….a three cylinder with a rubber shock absorber underhood to deaden the vibrations….. Not exactly engineering prowess! L :) L. It was what it was – an entry-level minimalist car to achieve the minimal goal of transport ( if one didn’t crash in one ) at a minimal price.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your shining red Volt next to my “Transformer Blue” one at our first VoltNation meetup. No offense was intended by any means.

    volt_red.jpg

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (7:54 pm)

    “GM doesn’t want to sell high volumes of a car at a loss, and they don’t want multi-year back order lists. I’d look for a Volt MSRP around $35,000, with less talk about the Volt being unprofitable and more talk of unexpected cost savings. $35,000 would be a competitive price, but would not likely generate huge backlogs, giving GM time to slow roll as Nissan burns through their allotment of $7,500 rebates and battery prices come inline with the asking price.”

    I think Statik has it right on the money. The only thing I would question would be the backlog. I think it will be huge, but then would that be bad for an IPO? The real question would be if GM could produce at a profit…

    As for those that question the functionality of my gray cells? Both the Prius and the Metro, along with the HHR were/are red with a gray interior. The Volt (I hope) will be the same.

    The Beauty of the Volt…
    For Statik, it’s in the Black


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:07 pm)

    James: The Metro, on the other hand….a three cylinder with a rubber shock absorber underhood to deaden the vibrations….. Not exactly engineering prowess! L :) L. It was what it was – an entry-level minimalist car to achieve the minimal goal of transport ( if one didn’t crash in one ) at a minimal price.

    Actually, I did not like that car at all! My wife bought it for me, she thought we could save money. That little car did not last long. I had rather unkind names for it. A short time later we bought a “presidential” blue Cadillac Sedan Deville. Nice driving car that one.

    Cheers


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:12 pm)

    Coming to a stadium near you —

    Metro metro1.jpg

    vs.

    Prius http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vY8I5HvOvk8/SZ9FoV6niiI/AAAAAAAADqA/Mw9Ehsrx-
    vY/s400/2766639964_68bc4452e9.jpg[/img]

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:18 pm)

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    Apr 10th, 2010 (8:39 pm)

    If anyone that has a Prius gets to drive a Volt, they will consider the Prius a Tin Lizzy.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    Dan Petit: If anyone that has a Prius gets to drive a Volt, they will consider the Prius a Tin Lizzy.  (Quote)

    Is that coming from one who has driven a Prius with leather and nav and 17″ Wheels, or is that coming from one who has not and supposes the Prii to be inferior in more ways than one?

    When I bought my Prius I wasn’t overwhelmed by it’s quality. In fact, since they had opened new plants to produce the car at breakneck speed – the quality of mine was less than Toyotas I’ve owned in the past ( read: more initial quality flaws, like the rear plastic aero lip not matching the rubber strip, etc. ). I reiterate, the car is lightweight for a reason, as is Volt. So don’t expect thick plastic door panels, a complex console with chrome, etc. These features are nice, but are expensive and add precious weight.

    That said, my Prius is nice. I guess I am in the minority, but I like it’s looks alot – I think they kind of went edgier and uglier with the new model, with it’s bulbous ( infrared range-finder in logo ) nose in the center and sharper edges in back ( Volt ) for aero breakoff. Most older folks just want a big grill up front – it makes them feel like they are in something substantial ( Dodge RAMS, and their success ). Big grills = bad aero/mileage. I personally could do without the Chevy-brand-specific grill altogether in the Volt, and more of a second gen Prius sloped nose for efficiency over brand identification.

    My Prius is the top-of-the-line ( gen 2 ) “Touring” model, the most expensive, with charcoal leather, nav and all the goodies. It has the upgrade larger wheels ( 17″, wow! ) and thus slightly worse mileage than it’s go-kart-wheeled brethren. It came with stiffer shocks and a larger rear spoiler. Not bad looking at all, I think. The wheels were oddball – as they are plastic spokes made to look alloy ( cheap for a top line ), yet they cover alloy wheels!!!!…??? Be it that the alloy wheels under the caps are lightweight but not attractive. The leather is thin and even at 20,000 miles, shows wear – as will the Volts ( notice the test vehicle’s some drove here’s backseat was wrinkled and worn looking already? ). As I said before, these are lightweight cars without lots of pizazz. Pizzaz costs money best left for batteries and pizzaz is heavy.

    The steering wheel of my Prius is far superior to the Volt’s. For one, I can control all HVAC with my thumb, hands still on the wheel. For two, the VOICE ACTIVATE button on the wheel saves me taking my eyes off the road to twiddle with complex features on the touchscreen. With it I can change cabin temp, go from XM, FM, CD etc – change radio stations and perform nav functions. I haven’t seen this on Volt. That feature really makes you smile the more you use your Prius. The 2010 has added to this safety and convenience with “Touch Tracer” which makes operating accessories even easier giving a visual at eye level to what your fingers are scrolling over on the wheel – quite unique and effective. Bluetooth phone from the steering wheel is great. I’m not sure if Volt allows the driver to operate phone functions from the wheel, but I know it will be Bluetooth equipped. All-in-all these are just a few things Prius owners enjoy about their cars. We have duplicity of console touchscreen functions at our fingertips.

    I couldn’t justify the trip to NYC and I’m really glad I didn’t since the parking garage and test drive wouldn’t have been worth the cash outlay from Seattle. I have watched dozens of videos from Lyle’s to yours plus many others, and I wouldn’t say an impressive feature of Volt was it’s interior quality. The clunks and action from the big shifter is not Prius – smooth or handy IMO. It will, however, play big with people who are accustomed to console mounted automatic transmissions, which, I believe, was the intent. The glossy, psychadelic door panels are aquired taste I’m sure – and the dash is simpler than Cruze’s and we’ll have to see whether it’s execution in materials is Cruze-like, or better. I’m guessing it’s about the same. So not bad, but not as some have described here as Lexus-like. Google image pictures of the Volt’s center stack at night and it looks uber-complicated and will take time to memorize – and I’m sure take eyes off the road.

    That said, I’ll bet the quality of my Prius interior is similar in cost to the Volt’s. I won’t ever think of my Prius as a “Tin Lizzy”. What kind of remark is that? I will buy a Volt and trade in or sell my Prius when it becomes available. The reason isn’t that the Prius is so inferior in tactile ways or quality. GM is not known for quality ( what an understatement ). They have, in recent years improved greatly , and they’ve HAD TO just to stay in business ( ok, so they didn’t stay in business ). But ,…be competitive, you know what I mean. I’ll think of my Prius as a stepping stone in the evolution of human transportation – the Volt being the next step. It’s superior in that it will perform the short trips my Prius struggles with – on pure electricity. It will do it on lithium batteries AND it will plug in. That makes it superior, but it doesn’t make the previous car an antique – or cheap.

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME.

    2007prius.jpg


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (9:58 pm)

    James,

    It’s just that I really want for you to have an opportunity to drive a Volt.
    Before I had the chance to do so, I would say that occasionally here, I got to
    the point where I kept saying “If I drive it once, it will be ‘all over’”. Meaning,
    I would have this satisfaction that my efforts and postings here would be
    justified.

    Interestingly, after the Volt test drive, I am not at odds with my current
    ownership of my 05 Element, which I also really enjoy as much as I am sure
    you enjoy your Prius.

    It is more like I was getting to the point about two months ago, that all the
    articles and videos and threads seemed to not do it justice. I mean, do the
    Volt justice in an unexpected and extraordinary way, since I feel that the Volt
    means more to me as a change in global philosophies which not everyone shares.

    I think I see in your posts this same appropriate requirement, and, I hope that
    somehow someone at GM can make it so you can have a test drive somewhere.

    (/…very long workday/trained two shops today.
    have a good night everyone.)


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:00 pm)

    Hmmm…where to start where to start…too much to comment on today. How about starting with the topic de jour?

    Good read Statik. Seems like a reasonable assessment less a small quibble or two. I definitely agree that it all comes down to positive cash flow, eventually. Also as Statik says, there are doing more financial housecleaning in advance of an IPO. Perhaps BK was too short in a sense that they didn’t have enough time to wind down more, such as following through with culling dealers and fully closing the orphaned brands. On the other hand, these are relatively near term expenses. In reality, it’s the ability to achieve positive cash flow once they get past these expenses that ultimately matters. I expect GM will be able to overcome the underfunding of the pension fund one way or other if they can turn cash flow positive less this liability. BTW, I forget, what was the union’s stake in GM an exchange for? Also, remember the SAR in still historically weak eventhough it is up substantially from last year. Averaged over the next 10 years it will be ~16M/yr. I think the Chinese mid term or a second economic dip near term are the biggest threats to GM’s ability to succeed that are outside of their control. Of course, they also have to overcome about 1.5 years of mostly stalled product development. The Volt being most of the exception.

    For market market, it is the surviving brand’s share that is of the biggest concern. What are the 19.6% and 22.1% numbers? I’m guessing surviving brand’s market share 1st qtr ’10 to ’09 is up. Of course Chrysler unraveling and fleet sales have to be factored in as well to get a clearer picture.

    On to the Volt and it’s role. Again, I agree with most of Statik’s analysis. I do however think the will price it has high as they can without causing ill will. By this, I mean there is no direct competitor that they need to be priced on par with but there are cars that people will associate it with. Most commonly, I would expect these to be the Prius or the Leaf. Eventhough potential Volt customers won’t see the Leaf as a viable option, they will still be aware of its price and will be turned off if the Volt is too much more. $35k before rebate is certainly close enough to the Lesf’s price to avoid this. I think they could go as high as $5k above before it is a problem. This along with the psychological appeal of sub $30k is why I’m sticking with $37,490 as the MSRP. Can’t wait to find out the real number.


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    Apr 10th, 2010 (10:30 pm)

    It seems a miracle that GM will be able to sell the Volt at a competitive price – and ever so after the government rebates expire.

    I’m all for unions and have been a member of one in my past. Lucky I don’t live in Michigan or I’d be risking getting run out of Dodge or being buried alive in the endzone of a stadium project…But I have to say, foreign car companies have built quality products using American workers for a long time now. It seems the UAW may be the cancer at GM that will not allow them to succeed in an equal marketplace.

    Here in Washington State, I have friends who are members of Boeing’s various unions, I watch them periodically walk out, as if in a timed schedule. I watch the drama, the long nights, the pressures and the compromises Boeing has made in it’s entire operation to satisfy the needs of the unions. It’s not good. It doesn’t make for a better product to compete with the competition. Most times it ends up producing more outsourcing and products being manufactured overseas to try to stay competitive in a very competitive marketplace. So how does that help union members keep their high paying jobs?

    So many times I see UAW types cutting off their legs to spite their foot, as my grandmother used to say. A complex organic synergy must exist between workers, their unions and employers to acheive what they all want. To excel and survive.

    Here’s a very interesting, very short read – but it’s what I am getting at.

    http://blogs.automotive.com/6205652/miscellaneous/uaw-and-why-honda-and-toyota-workers-are-not-interested/index.html

    When Volts come to market at a price point you and I will be able to buy – it won’t be because concessions were made to the UAW and the government decided it was our job to prop everybody up.

    GM, as Statik pointed out , has made compromises that will not, it seems, change their playing field, and their obligations ( severence, healthcare, etc. ) from before. And thus, make it far more difficult to compete with foreign manufacturers who use American workers to make their cars on our own turf.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, but how is GM supposed to soar with Volt with the UAW anchor tied tightly around it’s ankles? It seems this has been the trouble with American auto companies for generations.

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME.


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (1:01 am)

    This is so 2008. I have really missed these articles, hehe.

    Now, however, with actual Volts coming off the line, it just seems ho-hum, without the added “Will we ever see a Volt?” tension.

    Still good for a trip down memory lane.

    PS: I can’t wait to see the famous Statik “eating Crow” post on launch day plus a couple. And I really, really, miss the yin/yang combination.

    Be well.

    / Good stuff, Statik, just as you forcast, paying off the loan with the borrowed, ooops, I mean, grant money.


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (1:35 am)

    RB: A riding lawnmower has all those components and yet in most cases cost less than $1000. If one is considering the incremental cost of adding a small ICE to an otherwise existing car, I think the cost to gm is comparable. The challenge to a new company in the EREV market is in the design. Once that is complete and working, then my guess is that the incremental bump in manufacturing cost over a BEV is small, and maybe even favorable to the EREV, as the batteries in the EREV can be smaller than those in the BEV.

    Iread a while back lawmowers emit from 20 to 40 times the pollutants of passenger cars. If that still holds true, there must be some difference in components to get that disparity of results.

    Shawn Marshall: Our wild government overturned centuries of law in taking over GM and negating the claims of bondholders.

    It’s bankruptcy. Either way they are wiped out. This way the reamaining parts continue as the new GM without wiping out the investments previously made in the entire industry and their suppliers.


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    DaveP

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (3:10 am)

    Thanks, Statik,

    Now some of the murmuring from GM about the quantities and lack of murmuring on the pricing makes a LOT more sense. I have been starting to think they’re targeting for as small a loss and as small an artificial shortage as, er, acceptable, on the Volt based on their sort of mixed messages of late.
    I’d much prefer they were targeting for a small profit and no artificial shortage, but it would seem that will not be the case because of the DoE loans.

    Your analysis of their finances matches my analysis of their comments of late.

    I was thinking I might wait awhile for initial demand to die down before trying to get a Volt (because the dealer markups are horrible around here) but if this is all true the situation is unlikely to get better in the near term. I may just have to try to wrestle one from the dealers for as little markup as possible as soon as possible if I want to get my hands on (gen) one, at all.

    I guess that shouldn’t be a big surprise, but I’m very disappointed. :(

    I hope everyone understands I’m still a huge Volt fan but (as the resident paranoid :) ) I have to say if GM is planning to sell it at a loss with the intent to limit production to limit the loss, it is a huge, huge blow. Basically, that condition means every car they sell puts them one car closer to the end of production, not one car closer to the enabling of large volumes.

    Get one while you can.


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    Khadgars

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (3:10 am)

    nuclearboy:
    Yes,
    They must be crazy.How dare they complain that our govt spends more money than they have and that we and our grandkids can pay the bill.  

    The vast majority of our national debt has been accrued under no other than Republican Presidents, most notably Ronald Reagen, G. Bush and G.W Bush. Seriously go check the numbers. All of them cut taxes for the wealthiest in the nation and increased spending, mostly on military that ballooned our national debt. Most of the deficit we are running today is because of G.W Bush who didn’t pay for Medicare part D, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of tax breaks for the top 10%.

    Read here ;
    http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html

    “G.W Bush administration oversaw twice as much increase in Federal budget deficits as Presidents Kennedy through G.H.W.Bush put together. ”

    Most of it done under a Republican President and a Republican Congress. A fiscal Conservative is a myth, it never existed and never will.


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    nuclearboy

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (6:49 am)

    Khadgars: The vast majority of our national debt has been accrued under no other than Republican Presidents, most notably Ronald Reagen, G. Bush and G.W Bush. Seriously go check the numbers.

    No need to check the numbers. I have been in the Govt. for 25 years. The Govt spending has been out of control the whole time. The stories I have seen on Gov’t spending would piss anyone off. The public is ignorant of what really goes on.

    We as a people need to be pissed off about this all the time. Not just when the “other” party is in power. I for one have been pissed off the whole time about spending. I have been worried about this for years no matter who is in the Oval office.

    As a side note, there was one time when there was some minor action on spending but it quickly was beaten back by the Govt union types, the Democrats at the time (since it was not their idea) and the media. That was when New Gingrich first took power in 1994.

    As an example, at the time, my agency had around 3000 staff members and I know for a fact that some of those high paid govt types were playing crossword puzzles because of lack of work. Newt’s congress recommended cutting my agency by 20% to save money. The typical reaction occurred. Threats of not getting the work done, lost jobs, blah blah blah. No cuts could be made. In fact, our budget grew instead. We currently have over 4000 staff and we are hiring this year like drunk sailors on leave in a topless bar.

    These Govt workers essentially cannot be fired even if their is no work to be done. Once you hire them they will receive a lifetime of salary and then a decent retirement.

    I have not been to a Tea Party rally but I fully support them. I fully supported Newt’s ideas even though my job was on the line because it needed to be done and I fully support anyone who thinks the Govt growth should be halted immediately.


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    koz

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:14 am)

    This USA Today article gives a pretty good rundown of the UAW concessions for of us that didn’t remember the details: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-05-29-gm-uaw_N.htm

    I had forgotten a few of the details and even more notable, had taken note of the UAW employment figure of 54K at that time. While the UAW did make out like bandits as far as GM’s outstanding obligations were concerned (VEBA and pension fund) and relative to other stakeholders (bondholders, stockholders, and government), the number of UAW workers and the go forward contracts are not that burdensome currently. They also won’t be until the next contract (whenever that is, 2013?). The concern for GM’s survival is what will happen then? GM should be reasonably profitable now; excluding wind down one time expenses, pevious pension obligations, and assuming SAR>11M. If they aren’t, then there is little hope for them in the future.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:23 am)

    So it seems that the Volt might go the way of the the two seater Honda Insight which sales were kept artificially low because of the high cost of production of the all aluminum body, etc. I just made arrangements to get my volt from a dealer in Michigan. So I will get mine, hopefully. It is such a disappaiontment as the Volt is the first product from an American car company that had me excited since the ’58 Chevy. An EREV is imperative for one of our cars. The next one might have to be Ford Focus EV or a Nissan Leaf.

    The bottom line is I will drive electric for the vast majority of my miles.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Dan Petit

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:28 am)

    Differing viewpoints value differing things in a car as valuable.
    Sort of like a “been there, done that” for what most others consider “luxury *items*” *items* being the focus of my point here,
    *Items* of luxury don’t appeal to me as much as how the vehicle is built, and most importantly, how it drives. True now especially and completely since I’ve driven the Volt.

    *Items* of luxury increasingly seem like sticks of bubble gum after a Volt drive. Impulsive things OEM’s stick into the dashboard that are electronic or the materials options of seats, or the way the wheels look, all add to unnecessary cost and turn out to be a “money grab” if they all work no better than something more comfortable and far more fundamentally sensation-rewarding like the Volt driving characteristics themselves.

    Options “Bubble Gum” 101.0
    would be a good topic for the thread sometime.
    The stomach turning things that magazine writers have historically infused into their stories as value-points are all the superfluous comparisons of things like what vehicle has two more horsies than the other, and, themes that imply one model must be “the find” ahead of another model based only on what these writers personally fixate about on a car.
    (["It's purple!"]).
    Then, they bias the heck out of anything that resembles any technical depth for anything else they write about in comparison. ["We have to 'dumb down' the story so everyone understands it"]

    Options “Bubble Gum” 201.0
    ought to include material in how Americans are brainwashed into thinking that the entire reason to buy a car is because someone on a commercial sitting in the new car in the showroom thinks the car “has a good sound system”, and that nothing else matters.
    (As the salespersons wheel a six foot by ten foot mirror over to it as the guy who is sitting in the car asks, “But how do I look in it?”. (Damn silly if all you ask about is the sound system.)

    If someone is speechless about Volt beyond the incredible sensation of a drive like no other they’ve ever experienced in their lives, it is because there are not yet words in the English language to describe it.

    This is the disadvantage here, that the inability to communicate the description of how it is to drive, causes those of us who already have, to assign the attributes of what others believe the definition of “luxuries” to be, as like, well, “bubble gum”.

    I think that at this point in time, GM ought to try their very best to locate those who would very clearly benefit to drive a Volt, to be offered this chance, because at this point in time, it is just less fair for dedicated posters here to not have the experience to do so. This is because many have been writing diligently here for years, and, it may be that those intellectual efforts of themselves ought to be rewarded, fine tuned, and, most importantly, to be *focused toward truthful experience* so that there might come about a collective insight into what phrases best describe this entirely unique and incomparable driving experience.


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    Starcast

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:47 am)

    Khadgars: The vast majority of our national debt has been accrued under no other than Republican Presidents, most notably Ronald Reagen, G. Bush and G.W Bush. Seriously go check the numbers. All of them cut taxes for the wealthiest in the nation and increased spending, mostly on military that ballooned our national debt. Most of the deficit we are running today is because of G.W Bush who didn’t pay for Medicare part D, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of tax breaks for the top 10%. Read here ;http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html“G.W Bush administration oversaw twice as much increase in Federal budget deficits as Presidents Kennedy through G.H.W.Bush put together. ”Most of it done under a Republican President and a Republican Congress. A fiscal Conservative is a myth, it never existed and never will.  (Quote)

    This is why we need all new people.

    One thing Spending is controled by the House and Senate. check who was in charge of them when all the dept was run up?

    Great point by Nuclearboy

    “As a side note, there was one time when there was some minor action on spending but it quickly was beaten back by the Govt union types, the Democrats at the time (since it was not their idea) and the media. That was when New Gingrich first took power in 1994″.


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:50 am)

    What I would do is build a few Volts that looked as best as possible like Cruzes, and let Hertz and Avis rent them out as Cruzes, to unsuspecting customers, then get their reactions on return.


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:51 am)

    Japan puts a $20,000 tariff on every car GM ships to Japan… and we GIVE Japanese companies $7500 for every electric car shipped to the US…. and we wonder why our car companies lose money and are going out of business. We talk about comparing the Prius to the VOLT … Why aren’t we talking about how much a Chevy VOLT will cost in Japan the no.2 auto market in the world?


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    Tagamet

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (7:54 am)

    NZDavid: This is so 2008. I have really missed these articles, hehe.Now, however, with actual Volts coming off the line, it just seems ho-hum, without the added “Will we ever see a Volt?” tension.Still good for a trip down memory lane.PS: I can’t wait to see the famous Statik “eating Crow” post on launch day plus a couple. And I really, really, miss the yin/yang combination.Be well./ Good stuff, Statik, just as you forecast, paying off the loan with the borrowed, ooops, I mean, grant money.  

    Ah such a welcome stroll down memory lane. Those were the days….

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Roy H

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (8:13 am)

    Dan Petit: I think I’d really enjoy some old fashioned speculations about what posters think are the percentages of their general perceptions of “loss”, the part of it that goes to the rightful development of Volt (even though we really don’t know yet).  

    Thank you for making me re-assess GM’s loss in the last quarter. And for some more insight into the service business. I think R&D for the Volt is mostly done, and is a fraction of the $1.9B Q4 loss. GM has stated the Volt R&D program has cost about $1B most of which was pre-bankruptcy. I also believe that the Volt should pay its own, that is GM should not price the Volt at a loss and must at least cover manufacturing cost, with R&D deferred to be paid by future Voltech vehicles. Further the Volt should be priced a little higher so GM can claim a “profit”.

    I am concerned about GM’s need to re-gain market share to break even. I believe the NA market is saturated and plans based on market growth are flawed. Gaining market share is a slow process of changing the major consumer perception of reliability, and desirability of their cars. In this respect I think GM is doing well, but is not going to make dramatic progress in a short time. The only big step in this direction is the Volt and follow-on models, so IMO for GM to achieve profitability it will require high volume and profitable Volts. This is definitely not going to happen for at least 2 years. My point is that GM’s cost-cutting is not complete. GM must be able to make a profit at the existing sales levels. If they do this, and succeed in increasing sales in the future then so much the better, but to count on significantly higher volume sales within the next two years is folly.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    Khadgars: Most of it done under a Republican President and a Republican Congress. A fiscal Conservative is a myth, it never existed and never will.

    #90

    Amen. +1


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (11:30 am)

    I thought GM unloaded the pension in bankruptcy. THe airlines did it.
    They will never crawl ahead of the competition with this monkey on their back.


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    Matthew B

     

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    Khadgars: “G.W Bush administration oversaw twice as much increase in Federal budget deficits as Presidents Kennedy through G.H.W.Bush put together. ”

    I was pissed about the spending under Bush. The reason he had a 22 % approval rating is because the war lost the support of the left, and the spending lost the support of the right.

    But Bush appears to be a piker. Obama, Pelosi and Reid managed to borrow more federal debt in 15 months than Bush did in 8 years.


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    Apr 11th, 2010 (1:47 pm)

    Matthew B:
    I was pissed about the spending under Bush.The reason he had a 22 % approval rating is because the war lost the support of the left, and the spending lost the support of the right.But Bush appears to be a piker.Obama, Pelosi and Reid managed to borrow more federal debt in 15 months than Bush did in 8 years.  

    -================
    We went from a reformed drunk and juvenile prankster for a president
    To a community organizer socialist who will bankrupt the country trying to keep up the freebies to the millions of unproductive consumer never worked ion their life crowd


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    Randy

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    Apr 11th, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    pjkPA: Japan puts a $20,000 tariff on every car GM ships to Japan… and we GIVE Japanese companies $7500 for every electric car shipped to the US…. and we wonder why our car companies lose money and are going out of business. We talk about comparing the Prius to the VOLT … Why aren’t we talking about how much a Chevy VOLT will cost in Japan the no.2 auto market in the world?  

    ===========
    Exactly So why isn’t anyone talking about this instead of blaming GM for borrowing money from the Govt . If our Govt would stop subsidizing foreign cars with direct payments like Cash for Clunkers and Nissan Leaf rebates also with huge incentives to build plants here our own auto makers may not need to be borrowing money from them.


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    r weaver

     

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    Apr 12th, 2010 (1:11 pm)

    Every post I read about the Volt and GM brings me to the same conclusion. GM better be able to run their assembly plant(s) 24-7 for quite awhile to keep up with the demand.

    If the financial piece is correct about GM wanting to sell the VOLT -

    “GM doesn’t want to sell high volumes of a car at a loss, and they don’t want multi-year back order lists. I’d look for a Volt MSRP around $35,000, with less talk about the Volt being unprofitable and more talk of unexpected cost savings. $35,000 would be a competitive price, but would not likely generate huge backlogs, giving GM time to slow roll as Nissan burns through their allotment of $7,500 rebates and battery prices come inline with the asking price”

    As for me I am willing and ready to trade my Prius when the Volt ships. The Prius, which I do like, may seem a “tin lizzy” to some but it and the Tesla got Bob Lutz’s attention and now the rest is becoming history. The Prius was a great step to change the public’s and car companies attitudes about what may be possible.

    And when 25% of the driving population indicates they will buy an electric car that is a great indicator of the potential of the Volt. GM will have a real hit. Maybe they may will have to open a second plant!


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    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 12th, 2010 (1:34 pm)

    Randy: We went from a reformed drunk and juvenile prankster for a president

    #103

    Unfortunately, the prankster and his cohorts put the economy in the ditch. It costs a lot of money to get it out. Should we have left it there? Just remember that all of this bailout action got started under the prankster. TARP anyone?


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    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 12th, 2010 (1:35 pm)

    Randy: Exactly So why isn’t anyone talking about this instead of blaming GM for borrowing money from the Govt . If our Govt would stop subsidizing foreign cars with direct payments like Cash for Clunkers and Nissan Leaf rebates also with huge incentives to build plants here our own auto makers may not need to be borrowing money from them.

    #104

    Why indeed?


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    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 12th, 2010 (1:38 pm)

    I dunno, it sort of begs the question of who is going to be around to service the wonderful 10 year, 150K mile, warranties? I can tell you from personal experience that corvette parts are getting slowly harder to find.


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    Zach

     

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    Apr 15th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    How much money did they say the pensions were costing them? Is it that difficult to modify the pension? This isn’t the 1940′s or 50′s. We don’t have 80% of the market share (or whatever it used to be).

    I just hope that I misunderstand what was said and that was referencing something far less significant and pathetic.