Initial Thoughts on Obama's Moves - EDITORIAL
By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
SACRAMENTO – March 30, 2009 (11:30AM EDT) – I agree with and applaud most of what Barak Obama said this morning in his national broadcast. However, I disagree with a couple of items.
Firstly, I don’t believe that either General Motors or Chrysler have acted in good faith over the past few months to right their ships. I think there was just business as usual. There have been no great steps made towards speeding new alternative fuel vehicles to market (plans for the Chevy Volt continue to move at an atrociously slow pace), nor have there been any steps towards converting existing gasoline-powered models to CNG or propane – both of which would have indicated a desire to make significant changes and give the public something new and desirable – this technology/alternative is well known to both GM and Chrysler, and proven).* Additionally, GM should have already announced plans to make the “Volt” technology available for all of its continuing models, not just a concept Cadillac. For example, why not have a Volt Camaro?
Next, GM should have announced plans to jettison both the Buick and Pontiac brands for the U.S. Neither brand has any value here. If China likes Buicks, fine, build them for China only.
And I disagree with the President’s comments on moving us away from foreign oil. Why do I disagree, because it’s just words, not action. We need an executive order that sets forth an early and clear mandate to stop selling (in America) any new gasoline powered vehicles, such as the plan I put forth last June (see: NO NEW GASOLINE-POWERED VEHICLES BY 2014. The best way to get away from our reliance on foreign oil and the greasy, slimy bastards (at home and abroad) that keep us addicted, is to cut it off, not just slowly wean us away over the next 50 years.
* Last September, Congress and George Bush offered $25 billion to the American car makers for use in helping them move onto future fuel/technology vehicles. To date, that money has not been touched by GM, Chrysler or Ford. Instead, they asked for that money to be provided to them to continue business-as-usual. They could have, for example, used the money to convert any vehicles on their assembly lines, or in inventory, to be converted to CNG or propane. Not only would this action have allowed the automakers to put the union workers to work, and perhaps avoid come plant closings, it would have been a really good faith, genuine commitment to making changes.