General Motors can be pretty ham-handed when it tries to manipulate public opinion. The latest gaffe involves the company's newest advertising campaign, bragging to the public that it paid off its $8 billion in government loans. Listening to those ads you might be misled into believing that GM had paid off everything. But it never mentioned the other $42 billion that taxpayers poured into the company.
With all the attention being lavished on electric cars, you'd think the salvation of the planet is nigh at hand. But don't be duped by all the EV hype. It's going to take decades before they catch on – if ever.
In a shocking development Toyota faces a lawsuit filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to ban the import of all hybrids to the American market. Toyota is being sued by Paice LLC for patent infringement on its hybrid system.
There is only one number that really matters in today's financial report from General Motors: how much cash it has in the kitty. And the answer is, not enough. GM is now burning through its cash reserves at a rate that will run short before Christmas.
Anyone watching the auto industry these days is acutely aware that General Motors is hurtling towards disaster. It's burning through cash reserves at a rate that will put it in Chapter 11 sometime next year, no matter how much management says "that's not an option." It's still being crushed by its legacy costs, yes, even after concessions from the UAW. And it just witnessed its own finance arm, GMAC, essentially pull out of the automotive lending business.
Uh-oh. In the pell-mell race to develop lithium-ion batteries for plug-ins, EV's and hybrids, has any automaker taken a hard look at where all that lithium is going to come from? Guess what? Not only are global lithium supplies pretty tight, prices are about to skyrocket.
With gas prices soaring and SUV sales sinking, General Motors just put its HUMMER brand under "strategic review." That's generally the term used when a company is getting ready to dump a brand. And that begs the question, how many brands does a car company really need?
I just spent a day at Ford's proving grounds driving a number of vehicles that use Eco-boost technology, which is the centerpiece of the company's strategy to improve fuel economy. I wish I could tell you more about my driving impressions of these Fords, but all that information is embargoed for now. What I can say is that the Eco-boost technology works impressively well.
Formula One could be on to something big. Next year all teams will be allowed to capture the energy that their cars produce under braking, and then re-use that energy at opportune moments, like passing on a straight.
A few blogs back I wrote about how Chrysler is going to combine its three brands and start eliminating overlapping models. The idea is to have Dodge concentrate on trucks and work-utilities, with Chrysler exclusively selling cars, and Jeep offering only SUV-based Jeeps.
I gotta believe Karl Marx is spinning in his grave. Can you imagine the captains of capitalism handing tens of billions of dollars over to labor? For free? It's enough to make a Communist lose all hope for class warfare!