December 2, 2010

Psst! GM and Chrysler Are Peddling Eeeevil Light Trucks and SUVs to a Greater Extent Than Any Other Maker

Here’s something about which the environmentalists and car czars planted inside the Obama administration can’t be pleased: as a percentage of their U.S. sales, Multi-Government/General Motors and Chrysler are selling more “light trucks,” consisting of pickups, SUVS, and “crossover” vehicles than any other major manufacturer. Further, the companies are clearly emphasizing light truck sales at the expense of their car models.

I wonder how a government promise to accomplish this would have been received by the fossil-fuels-are-awful media at bankruptcy crunch time last year?

You can pretty much count on this inconvenient product mix not getting a great deal of establishment press attention while it drools over the underpowered, heavily subsidized electric lemon known as the Chevy Volt and whatever toy disguised as a useful vehicle Chrysler/Fiat plans on foisting onto the market.

The detail is at the Wall Street Journal’s monthly report on vehicle sales (link will change in one month). Key items include these:

  • In November, GM’s November 2010 car sales trailed November 2009 by 1.4%; year-to-date, the shortfall is 5.8%. Meanwhile, GM’s light truck sales in November beat last November by 20.7%.
  • The changeover is even more radical at Chrysler, which posted a 9.1% decline in car sales from November 2009, while moving 24.2% more light trucks.
  • GM’s November product mix was 66-34 in favor of light trucks in November, up from 62-38 a year ago; Chrysler’s was a stunning 82-18. By contrast, only Ford’s November mix, at 64-36 (virtually identical to a year ago), was close to GM’s. Cars make up the majority of sales at the three largest Japanese-headquartered companies.
  • Chrysler’s November car sales of 13,112 placed it 11th, behind GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Subaru, Volkswagen, and BMW. This would seem to indirectly validate a suspicion that if it weren’t for low-margin fleet sales, which as I understand it the company is no longer disclosing, the company’s car business might as well be mothballed.

Wasn’t one of the objectives of government ownership of GM and Chrysler supposed to be getting Americans to swear off those eeevil, gas-guzzling, global warming large vehicles? Why yes, according to an Economist item in April 2009:

The task-force identified six areas where it found GM to be over-optimistic or in denial … (one of them being) a weakening product mix as consumer tastes and tighter fuel-economy rules eat into sales of high-margin trucks and sport-utility vehicles …

… Chrysler’s only hope, Mr Obama said on March 30th, is to consummate the deal it has been discussing since January with Fiat. The Italian firm would supply it with “cutting-edge technology” in the form of fuel-efficient engines, small-car platforms and factory automation.

Roughly 20 months later, other than the overhyped Volt and the Chrysler/Fiat 500, what is there?

I guess we should be somewhat relieved that the companies have at least tried to follow drivers’ wishes while one of the government’s main justifications for taking ownership stakes in these companies slowly crumbles. But it would be nice if someone in the establishment media pointed to the difference between what the government promised its greenie friends vs. what it has delivered.

Cross-posted at



  1. You think the government overloads at GM and Chrsyler will take to heart the lesson they learned that what the government wants and what consumers want is often very different?

    Comment by zf — December 2, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  2. Testing

    Comment by Charles — December 2, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

  3. [...] Psst! GM and Chrysler Are Peddling Eeeevil Light – BizzyBlog [...]

    Pingback by Newsbusters: Psst! GM and Chrysler Are Peddling Eeeevil Light Trucks and SUVs to a Greater Extent Than Any Other Maker | Katy Pundit — December 3, 2010 @ 3:15 am

  4. So Tom….what reaction do you have now that you know that all the major auto manufacturers were in a similar situation back in the 2008? Even your precious Ford and Toyota took money from the Fed. The money markets were closed to ALL manufacturers and their ability to stay viable was at a point not seen before, in our lifetimes anyway. If Ford hadn’t mortgaged the farm the year prior to the crisis they most certainly would have asked for more than the cladestine deal they made with the Fed. The best manufacturers, that rely on the regularly functioning money markets, got caught up with this Government caused crisis. As more info comes out, maybe you should re-adjust your analysis and root for the home team company’s for once. They needed capital to save jobs. Even yours would’ve probably been affected if the major auto companies would’ve been allowed to go out of business. Sometimes drastic times call for throwing out the old playbook. GM and Chrysler are on their way back. Will you publish glowing reports about them when they report record earnings and fully paid back loans…..with interest. Just like the loans you and I take out and pay back when we need money?

    Comment by PC — December 3, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  5. Link:

    “It’s also well documented that Ford Motor Company asked for access to an emergency line of credit.”

    I think that’s a clever way of saying that Ford the car company never borrowed the money. Still looking around ….

    More — Ford credit borrowed $16 bil. At least that was within the legal definition of TARP, and didn’t go towards car company operations, and was irrelevant to the matter of whether the car company was solvent and viable (which GM and Chrysler weren’t).

    The link’s author: “The (related financing company loans to) GM and Chrysler loans were completely separate from those two companies’ government-financed bankruptcies.” and “We realize the two transactions are quite different, and this loan was not a bailout.”

    Also, “All of this aid has since been repaid with interest to the government.”

    The government still owns a huge percentage of GMAC, and I believe has generally been increasing its stake as GMAC’s finances have continued to deteriorate.

    Also note that Ford never stole money from legally entitled creditors in bankruptcy; GM and Chrysler did.

    Conclusion: Nice try, not even close to a sale. “PC” in your case must stand for perfect crap.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 3, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

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