We’ve all seen the staggeringly horrific sales figures for the Chevy Volt. In any other market for any other consumer good, this hunk of junk would’ve been left in the dustbin of historic manufacturing failures, like the Apple II. Just ask Steve Jobs.
Under no coherent, rational interpretation of “market efficiency” should the Chevy Volt even be a production consideration for a private firm. Not only does sticker shock prevent most people from buying the Volt, but for those misguided few who do, costs to fix them are more than those of a less expensive Chevy Malibu.
Curious onlookers must be all the more flummoxed, then, after the recent announcement that GM and electronics manufacturing giant LG have teamed up to continue development of the Volt:
Under the agreement signed on Wednesday by GM Chief Executive Daniel Akerson and LG President Juno Cho, the two companies said they would design a range of electric vehicles that would be sold in markets around the world… “This is a strategic development for LG and we fully support GM’s goal to lead the industry in the electrification of the automobile,” LG’s Cho said in a statement.
Supporting GM’s goal to bend to the will of progressive environmentalists in the Obama administration shouldn’t be surprising, since LG is itself a healthy recipient of so-called “stimulus” funding:
President Obama visited Holland Michigan on Thursday to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the new LG Chem battery plant. This plant was funded in part by a DOE stimulus grant of $151 million with a matching $151 million provided by LG Chem. Once fully operational in 2012, the plant will be capable of producing enough cells for 200,000 hybrids and electric cars, and will specifically be making the cells both for the Chevrolet Volt and the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, expected to go on sale in 2011.
“This is about more than just building a new factory,” said Obama. “It’s about building a better future for this city, for this state, and for this country.”
The Obama administration has pledged a goal of putting 1 million electric cars on US roads by 2015. So far the Recovery Act has contributed $2.5 billion towards United States electric car battery and component plants, 26 of which are already in some stage of construction. Nine of these are battery plants, including ones from A123 Systems and Johnson Controls. These facilities can collectively expect to produce 500,000 electric cars annually, and are expected to help transform Michigan into the electric car battery capital of the country.
The 650,000 square foot LG Chem plant is expected to produce 300 jobs.
Wow – a $151 million win-the-future “investment” will create a whopping 300 jobs? At $500k per job, I’m clearly in the wrong business.
The Sunlight Foundation reports that LG has a K Street presence, too. They are represented by the Law Offices of Kevin G. Curtin, who handles influence peddling on behalf of LG in tax, energy, and manufacturing policies. Just this year alone, Curtin has lobbied for a number of green energy initiatives on behalf of LG.
Curtin’s influence shouldn’t go unnoticed, as his trip through the revolving door took him from his post as Chief Counsel and Staff Director on the prestigious Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee right out to a partnership at the Washington-based lobbying law practice Bryan Cave LLP – a firm that unsurprisingly handles a number of rail, air, and commercial transportation issues, along with securities firms, the telecom industry, and healthcare provider organizations that will no doubt benefit from the carve-outs and mandates in Obamacare.
But more than that, Kevin Curtin has contributed over $55,000 to members of Congress – 91% of which went to Democrats – since 1997, according to data from Sunlight’s Influence Explorer project, with over $22,000 in contributions coming in the last four years alone.
Bloomberg reported that GM CEO Dan Akerson isn’t a car guy. With nearly a one-third U.S. Treasury ownership in General Motors common stock remaining, Dan Akerson should be doing whatever it takes to make the company succeed. If the Treasury sold its stock today, taxpayers would lose approximately $14 billion. Still, Akerson continues to show with this new partnership that he’s nothing more than a crony capitalist and pawn of the Obama administration, and that he’s willing to bend to the will of radical environmentalists hell-bent on driving the country off a cliff.