The PJ Tatler

Obama Saved Detroit -- for China and Italy

What a twofer I found for you today. First up, TTAC’s Ed Niedermeyer has a piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined “General Tso’s Motors,” which has got to be the best headline you’ll see all week. But he also tells the story of GM the White House doesn’t want you to know:

GM’s investments aren’t merely about meeting Chinese demand, which has actually slowed in recent years. According to statements to the press made by company officials at the Shanghai Auto Show, GM is targeting 100,000-plus exports of Chinese-made cars this year, a record, with export growth likely to be more than 50%.

Once merely an important growth market, China is fast becoming GM’s global export base, and the change can be seen in the very structure of the company. Before last year, GM’s vice president for global manufacturing was a North American-focused executive based in Detroit. Now the person holding that position is the president of GM’s international operations, overseeing the company’s ventures in China, Korea and Russia.

As the result of the company’s new emphasis, GM China President Bob Socia says that Americans “could very well” soon find Chinese-made GM cars on showroom floors. “There is no reason why we can’t be exporting to the [United] States,” he told a reporter for the website Autoblog at the Shanghai Auto Show.

But GM selling cars made in China at American dealerships probably isn’t what the federal government, in late 2008 under President Bush and then under President Obama, had in mind when it came to GM’s rescue.

How’s that for a great return on your billions of tax dollars? Then again, with Obama’s track record of picking stinker investments, maybe there’s no real surprise here.

But that’s nothing compared to the machinations going on at FIAT, which the White House unceremoniously (Ha! Just kidding! Teh Won does everything with as much pomp as your tax dollars can buy!) presented the Italian automaker. Autoextremist Peter M. De Lorenzo has that story:

In Brent Snavely’s piece in the Detroit Free Press today (4/29), the true measure of Sergio Marchionne’s purpose in life is exposed for all to see. Gifted Chrysler by the U.S. Government and funded on the backs of you and me, the U.S. taxpayer, Marchionne is now using Chrysler to sustain that miserable excuse of a car company called Fiat.

The Italian automaker – and that term should be applied very loosely in this case – is on the ropes. Paralyzed by a byzantine network of unions, plagued by serial incompetence (except for its show pony Ferrari division, of course), and buttressed by a relentlessly inept Italian government that manages to make our current bumblers in Washington look like direct descendants of our Founding Fathers, Fiat is now officially on the U.S. taxpayers dole, thanks to Sergio and his grand little plan. Every last dime of Chrysler’s profitability is now being used to prop up Fiat, an industry embarrassment that should have been left for dead long ago.

Think about that for a moment.

I am thinking about it, and it isn’t doing a thing for my blood pressure. Not a good thing, anyway.

So, to recap. We taxpayers ponied up the money for Chrysler’s revamped lineup, the profits from which are going to prop up unsustainable union jobs at an unsustainable company in an unsustainable foreign country. And as soon as Marchionne cons banks out of enough money to buy Chrysler’s outstanding shares, then all of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep’s profits will wind up in FIAT’s sinkhole.

GM on the other hand retooled its lineup with our tax dollars, the profits from which are going to build more plants in China to build cheap-ass cars to sell to unemployed Americans.

In Washington, this is called “Saving the American auto industry.”