May 3, 2009

April Auto Sales: AP Finally Notices That Ford Is Winning Share From GM and Chrysler

NoToGMandChrysler0109Friday, after the April vehicle sales figures rolled in, Associated Press reporters Kimberly S. Johnson and Dan Strumpf, in the opening sentence of a report carried at USA Today, showed that they finally noticed two things, one of which yours truly caught three months ago (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and the other which first became clear last month (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).

The former point is that the American people are continuing to shun bailed-out car companies General Motors and now-bankrupt Chrysler. The latter one is that Ford’s gain has been most the two bailed-out companies’ loss.

Here is how the inconsistently-headlined (“Auto sales fall in April; Ford gains market share from Chrysler“) AP report began (bolds are mine):

Detroit’s Big Three is becoming Ford and the other two.

While its rivals stay afloat with billions in government aid, Ford grabbed a bigger slice of the American car market in April with record sales of its fuel-efficient Fusion. Those results pushed it past Toyota to retake its post as the nation’s No. 2 car seller.

Even though Ford’s monthly sales tumbled 32% from a year earlier, it captured 16% of the total market. Most of those gains came at the expense of General Motors and Chrysler, which unlike Ford are dependent on federal help.

The press, however, is missing or avoiding the irony that the two companies the government is bailing out are not only the ones that have the “worst” mix (from the so-called “green” point of view) of car vs. light truck sales, but are also the two which have their mixes going most decidedly in the “wrong” direction among the six largest car companies (source spreadsheet pictured here obtained from MotorIntelligence.com):

CarSalesTables0409

Yes, you’re reading the above right. Chrysler is the eighth-largest car seller in the US, moving a pathetic 15,000-plus cars in April, fewer than both Hyundai and Kia.

Given enough government bailout money and enough engineering expertise from Fiat, it’s conceivable that Chrysler and even GM could become mostly manufacturers of cars — perhaps even at costs that might lead to profits in a future that seems far, far away.

But the two companies are fighting one other “little” problem: Enough of the American people to get noticed are abandoning them. That abandonment has essentially grown in sync with the ever-deepening level of government involvement and the level of general knowledge about that involvement. If enough of the public ever understands the gist of what President Obama and his car czars attempted to impose, complete with alleged threats and intimidation, on Chrysler’s secured lenders before bankruptcy, and will now attempt to impose during bankruptcy proceedings, the shunning may accelerate further.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Follow-up: Mark Levin Carries and Comments on Part of WJR Beckmann-Lauria Interview

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:10 am

Listen:

Here’s most of what Levin aired (bold is mine):

Levin: I want you to listen to their lawyer (for a group of lenders who objected to the Chrysler deal Obama was attempting to impose), and I want you to listen, and I want you to contrast (this) with the public Obama, how he look, smiles, talks, how he handles himself, and carries himself, and what goes on behind the scenes …. the mob-like tactics that are used against law-abiding private citizens. This is stunning. I want you to listen to this ….

(begin interview excerpt)

Frank Beckmann, WJR talk show host: So what’s the matter with your vulture clients who are so greedy and selfish. Why won’t they go along with this?

Tom Lauria, lawyer for Non-TARP lenders: Well, they bought a contract that says that they get paid before anyone else does by Chrysler. And they have been told by the government who is in complete control of Chrysler, oddly enough, that despite their contractual right, they do not get paid before everyone else.

So they are standing on their rights, standing on the law, trying to defend in effect what is the Constitution of the United States, to make sure that they get what they’re entitled to for their investors.

Beckmann: Tom, let me make the argument against you in another way. We’ve heard the President say this, “I wouldn’t want to stand on their side.” Ron Gettelfinger says “Everyone else has made concessions. These people won’t; they’re greedy.” Why not take a concession that is being asked of everybody else and is being accepted by everybody else, including other hedge funds that had bought some of these bonds in Chrysler?

Lauria: Well that’s a great question, because let me tell you it’s no fund standing on this side of the fence opposing the President of the United States. In fact, let me just say, people have asked me who I represent, and that’s a moving target.

I can tell you for sure that I represent one less investor today than I represented yesterday. One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House, and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckmann: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.

(end interview excerpt)

Levin: Did you hear that folks?

where private citizens and private entities are being threatened, and smeared, and intimidated?

….. Now I want to ask Brian Ross at ABC News while he’s outing patriots who worked with the CIA to protect this nation. Is he going to pursue this story?

I want to ask George Stephanopoulos at ABC’s This Week. I know these aren’t the talking points handed to him by the White House. Is he going to pursue this story?

Bob Schieffer, somebody wake him up …. How about David Gregory? ….

Somebody needs to pursue what’s going on in the White House behind the scenes, and stop playing games and making nice. American citizens, whatever walk of life they’re in, should not be threatened by the White House. (They) should not be told, “We’re going to drag you through the mud with the White House press corps.” So confident is the White House that they have the White House press corps wrapped around their little finger. ….

…. Do you know how much of this must be going on in the shadows, with the banks and the financial systems? What must be going on with one business after another, threatening them, warning them, punishing them? We’ve got a little mob activity going on in that Oval Office, ladies and gentlemen, a little mob activity.

More than a little.

Yes, the mob activity began with Hank Paulson, who opened the door to this and never should have. Now it’s in overdrive, and on steroids.

_______________________________________________________

Previous Posts:

  • May 1 — Lawyer for Chrysler’s Non-TARP Lenders on the Law, and White House Threats (includes reference to White House denial made to Jake Tapper)
  • April 30 — Press Release From Chrysler’s Non-TARP Lenders: The Day the Rule of Contract Law Died?

Positivity: RIP, Jack Kemp

Filed under: Economy,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:01 am

JackKempRIP0409.jpgOne of the most important foot soldiers in the early days of the Reagan Revolution has left us for a better place (go here for the full story):

Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described “bleeding-heart conservative,” died Saturday. He was 73.

Kemp died after a lengthy illness, according to spokeswoman Bona Park and Edwin J. Feulner, a longtime friend and former campaign adviser. Park said Kemp died at his home in Bethesda, Md., in the Washington suburbs.

Kemp’s office announced in January that he had been diagnosed with an unspecified type of cancer. By then, however, the cancer was in an advanced stage and had spread to several organs, Feulner said. He did not know the origin of the cancer.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Kemp “one of the nation’s most distinguished public servants. Jack was a powerful voice in American politics for more than four decades.”

Former President George W. Bush expressed his sorrow after hearing of Kemp’s death.

“Laura and I are saddened by the death of Jack Kemp.” he said. “Jack will be remembered for his significant contributions to the Reagan revolution and his steadfast dedication to conservative principles during his long and distinguished career in public service. Jack’s wife Joanne and the rest of the Kemp family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Family spokeswoman Marci Robinson said Kemp died shortly after 6 p.m. surrounded by his family.

“During the treatment of his cancer, Jack expressed his gratitude for the thoughts and prayers of so many friends, a gratitude which the Kemp family shares,” according to a family statement.
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