March 2, 2012

GM Suspends Production of Volt, Blames Media

ObamaInVolt2010Well, I guess when you think you’re going to sell 45,000 cars and you’re on track to achieve about 25% of that, something’s gotta give.

Something gave today, as Government/General Motors announced a temporary suspension of production of the company’s centerpiece of environmental correctness, the Chevy Volt, and the layoff of 1,300 employees. Oh, and as readers will see in the Examiner.com excerpt, it’s the (cough, cough) media’s fault:

GM laying off 1300 due to low Volt sales

General Motors Co. announced the temporary suspension of Chevrolet Volt production and the layoffs of 1300 employees, as the company is cutting Volt manufacturing to meet lower-than-expected demand for the electric cars.

“Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said. The car company had hoped to sell 45,000 Chevy Volts in America this year, according to the Detrot News, but has only sold about 1,626 over the first two months of 2012.

“GM blamed the lack of sales in January on “exaggerated” media reports and the federal government’s investigation into Volt batteries catching fire, which officially began in November and ended Jan. 21,” the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News (actually, it’s at MLive.com — Ed.) reported.

Surely GM is not referring to the New York Times, which has been overly sympathetic to electric toys — I mean, cars — for years. Nick Bunkley’s coverage describes the production halt as a “pause.”

The company also can’t complain about how the Associated Press has covered the Volt story over the years. Today, the related AP story takes artificial solace in GM’s move, claiming that “Although the Volt has not been a big seller, the low-emission vehicle has improved GM’s reputation for innovation.” It also found someone to moan about how “the perception of a safety risk has hurt sales.” Fires will tend to do that.

The fact is that the Volt has been cut tons of slack through the years, up to and including its you’ve-got-to-be-joking designation as Car of the Year by two different auto industry publications.

Perhaps — only perhaps, because this modern-day Edsel might have flopped even in a great economy — the biggest irony is that if the GM-owning, “green” car-loving Obama administration had successfully turned the economy around with the right policy prescriptions instead of massive, misguided, counterproductive “stimulus,” its pet car company might be having better luck finding 45,000 drivers per year with lots of money ($41,000) and a whole lot less sense to buy the things.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Mark Levin’s April 19, 2011 Interview With Andrew Breitbart

Filed under: Activism,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 2:50 pm

Breitbart went from being a lifelong “default cultural lib” who never was exposed to a “scent of conservatism” until adulthood to a warrior who became determined to show people what they were missing (HT Right Scoop):

Turning point: The Clarence Thomas hearings in 1990 juxtaposed with Bill Clinton’s serial sexual harassment and adultery exposed a year later, ultimately leading to becoming an activist conservative in 1995 while working with Matt Drudge.

Econ Catch-Up: Unemployment Claims, ISM Manufacturing, Car Sales

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:51 pm

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Yesterday’s the Department of Labor told us:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 353,000. The 4-week moving average was 354,000, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 359,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 331,906 in the week ending February 25, a decrease of 14,717 from the previous week. There were 353,797 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

The seasonal adjustment factors were almost identical in 2012 and 2011. Last year’s SA number was 375,000.

So it would appear that perhaps the weekly claims figure is settling in at around 350,000:

WeeklyUnempClaimsTo022512

Whether that’s enough to make a dent in the unemployment rate is the question. The Associated Press repeated its “When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate” meme for what must be the eighth time in a row yesterday. We’ll see.

Historical context: From January 15, 2005 to the end of 2007, seasonally adjusted claims came in higher than 350,000 only eight times, and spent most of the time lower than the AP’s previous benchmark of 325,000 (yes, he’s moved the goalposts) — and all we heard from the establishment press was how mediocre-to-awful the economy was.

ISM MANUFACTURING

The Institute for Supply Management’s February Manufacturing Index came in at 52.4%, down from January’s 54.1%. Expectations were for an increase, according to Bloomberg, where the U-word made an appearance (“Manufacturing Unexpectedly Slows as Orders Cool”).

Any expansion is good, but it may not last. Zero Hedge’s reax: “this proves that already in February rising gasoline prices started impairing US manufacturing.” Yeah, a 48-cent rise nationwide to $3.70 a gallon since around Christmas, with the increases continuing, (I’ve seen plenty of stations selling regular for $3.80) will do that.

CAR SALES

Total February industry deliveries were up 15.7% year-over-year. Every company in the “Big Six” (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan) had double-digit February and year-to-date gains except GM, where sales increased by 1.1% in February and are down 2.2% year-to-date.

GM’s press release says it “beat expectations” (?). “Retail sales,” which I take to mean sales to individual consumers, are down 9.2% so far this year, and by 7.5% in all brands. The release takes solace in “commercial sales,” which may really be fleet sales to rental car companies — a favorite outlet for a company looking to get inventory off its hands.

It would appear that inventory is an issue at GM, as dealers were sitting on 667,000 vehicles at the end of the month, about 290,000 more than the company’s year-to-date dealer deliveries. That leads to a backward-looking days’ sales in inventory figure of 106. Yet the press release says it’s 80. If that’s a forward-looking calculation, it means that the company expects deliveries to average of 250,000 cars a month for the next three months. In March, April and May of last year, the average was 220,000.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘The ‘$40 Per Paycheck’ and Other Payroll Tax Cut Fibs’) Is Up (See Updates)

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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UPDATE: The column is about how the Obama administration is fibbing about the reduction in the employee portion of the Social Security tax this year in two important ways:

  • The claim that it “currently” benefits 160 million Americans.
  • The assertion that the saving resulting from lower amounts withheld will mean that the “typical family saves about $40 with every paycheck.”

Both claims are bogus, and there’s a back of the envelope way to prove it even without getting into still-needed discussions about how often most Americans are paid (which happens to be weekly, in which case “$40 per paycheck” would only be seen by a person making $104,000 per year, which is hardly “typical”) and how many are “currently” working (only about 141.64 million per the Household Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The quick calc is as follows: $111.9 billion dollars in estimated full-year tax savings ($93.2 billion over 10 months annualized) divided by 141.64 million workers is $790 per worker per year ($699 if you use the administration’s inflated 160 million “current” workers). Even granting Team Obama something they’re not entitled to, which is the assumption that everyone is paid once every two weeks, that’s $30.38 per paycheck ($781 divided by 26).

Don’t talk to me about two-earner households, because such households also receive two paychecks. The per-paycheck average is still $30.

By any reasonable definition, even before addressing pay frequency realities vs. the administration’s assumption, Obama is vastly exaggerating the savings workers are seeing by 32% ($40 as advertised vs. $30.38 in reality).

UPDATE 2: The Machiavellian at Virtuous Republic has also done a great takedown of the “$40 per paycheck” fib. His conclusion: “Deceptive … Purposefully.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030212)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Amy Purdy

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Living beyond limits:

More:

When she was 19, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now … she’s a pro snowboarder. In this powerful talk, she shows us how to draw inspiration from life’s obstacles.

Amy Purdy became a professional snowboarder despite losing both her legs to meningitis. She encourages us to take control of our lives, and our limits.