Will Fisker Fail And If So Why?

I am very interested in new technology and cool cars so when Fisker announced the Karma I got excited.

Fast forward several years and the fledgling carmaker is struggling. All new businesses have their challenges. Fisker may fail. It’s not easy to start a new car company. But if they fail, I’m personally betting it’s all politics.

Republicans are against anything that doesn’t involve the burning of fossil fuels and they are PARTICULARLY against anything that gets a loan from the government – unless it relates to blowing stuff up or wars and such.

So when Senators Thune and Grassley started attacking Fisker’s $529 million loan everyone knows why. If this were a loan to Remington Arms or Northrop Grumman Corporation they wouldn’t let out a peep. But when you talk about federal loans to car companies – particularly electric car companies – these guys go nuts.

Lost in all the noise they are making are some very important facts. First the loan is $193 million not $529 million. Second – the company is creating US jobs. I thought we wanted more American jobs? Third if the company fails, real people not just cartoon cutouts like the talking heads on hate-radio, but real people, will lose jobs and futures.

I don’t know if Fisker can make it. But I think they deserve the chance to stand or fail without politically-motivated attacks. That’s the way I see it anyway.

I Don’t Want A Self-Driving Car

Google – which seems Hell-bent on taking over the world, is working on a self-driving car. It’s probably five to 10 years away from actually being functional but it is coming. The bad news – it’s coming at all.

You see I like to DRIVE cars, not ride in them. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re like me. You’re a car nut and you want to be a DRIVER not a RIDER.

Rider’s buy mini-vans, or those ubiquitous boxes sold by any of the manufacturers from Japan. DRIVERS buy Corvettes, Jaguars, Challengers, BMW with the “M” package, etc.

You see if you really like/love cars, then riding in them alone will never be satisfying. You want to be in control. You want to control the downshift. You want to control the car’s stance going down a twisty road.

The notion that self-driving cars will be a good thing comes from outer space if you’re a DRIVER. An automated future when every car looks the same, behaves the same, takes you at the same respectable (slow) speed to the grocery store outright worries me. If they can do that to us – they can do anything to us.

Auto Sales Keeping US Economy Afloat

After the Bush recession, President Obama was faced with a tough decision. Extend TARP or not. Had he not, at least three million jobs would have been lost – the United States would have probably permanently lost its capability to manufacture heavy vehicles – national security would have been damaged since we’d have lost our ability to make war machines and last but not least, the recession would have become a depression.

But according to Bloomberg, the auto industry comeback has accounted for half of the 2.2 percent national economic growth experienced in the first quarter of 2012.

Auto sales are expected to top 14 million units this year.

Credit should be given to President Bush for starting TARP and President Obama for expanding it.

The Truth About The U.S. Auto Bailout

George W. Bush – Republican – started the program that we now call the “auto bailout.” The program is called TARP. It requires the auto companies to repay the loans.

Now this is news to many. Those who are involved in right wing politics LOVE to make this some sort of “socialist” plot by the current President, Obama. When one obtains all one’s news from a channel owned by Rupert Murdoch, it’s obvious one will not be well informed.

You see it was George Bush who started the so-called bailout. It was a good move on his part. The bail out was actually a loan. And while the far right doesn’t want you to believe this, the loans have either been paid back or are well on their way to being paid back. These same people don’t want you to believe that President Obama is an American citizen so if you’re on that side of this argument – please stop reading and go away. I can’t deal with that kind of crazy here.

The loans saved an industry and millions of jobs. That is just a fact. Some people – like Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said we should have let these companies and this industry fail. I disagree and history has proven those of us that do to be right.

Fast forward to today. The program which George Bush created and which President Obama made stronger saved more millions of jobs and an industry. And while the haters will regularly cite the fact that Ford didn’t take any “bailout” money, it’s not true that they didn’t want it or try. It’s also true that had GM and Chrysler gone down, so would have Ford. More on that in a minute.

When people, particularly republicans, talk about Ford, they puff out their chest and proudly proclaim that Ford didn’t take any bailout money. Did you know they tried?

In December 2008, GM, Chrysler AND Ford asked the government for a $34 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy. Sorry Ford fans but get ready – here comes some fact…

Ford requested a $9 billion line-of-credit from the government, and a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department. Ford pledged to accelerate development of both hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, retool plants to increase production of smaller cars, close dealerships, and sell Volvo.

In the end, Ford didn’t like the terms and the government thought Ford was simply angling for position and between the two positions Ford ended up not taking any money. But they still benefitted greatly from the TARP program.

The supply chain that serves GM and Chrysler also serves Ford. Thousands of businesses employing hundreds of thousands of people would have gone OUT of business over night. Ford had no second source on many of the goods and services these down-chain suppliers offer and it would have been bankrupt in months if not weeks had the TARP money not been delivered.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Still the company needed the Bush Administration to rescue GM and Chrysler because of fears that a failure of one or both of those companies could imperil their shared base of auto-part suppliers.”

From Ford chief executive Alan Mulally:

“The U.S. auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened U.S. economy.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – but not their own facts. The facts show that TARP was a republican idea. President Obama expanded on it. Millions of jobs were saved, the loans have been paid back or are being paid back. The government doesn’t “run” the auto business as some people would have you believe. We have manufacturing capacity in this country that is growing. The Big Three are investing in new plants. Car quality is up and GM – on the brink of bankruptcy just three years ago, is now the number one selling car maker in the world.

The rest as they say is history.