Free Markets, Free People


That Was Then. This Is Now.

So, the deal was supposed to work like this: The government takes over Chrysler, then sells a big chunk of it to Fiat.  In return, Chrysler would give us all these cool, American-made electric cars that would turn the planet sparkly, and make the unicorns smile.

6 April 2009:

If you’re tooling around in a Chrysler electric vehicle in a few years, you’ll still be driving an American car.

While some other companies are looking to foreign battery suppliers, Chrysler said Monday that it’s going to stay all-American. It announced it is choosing A123 Systems, a Massachusetts company, as its battery supplier. A123 will make the battery packs for Chrysler’s wave of electric vehicles at a new plant in Michigan. The first will hit the streets in 2010, says Lou Rhodes, vice president of advanced vehicle engineering for Chrysler. With Monday’s announcement, Chrysler is “that much closer” to getting its vehicle on the road.

Of course, the news that it could generate more American jobs could play well in Washington, D.C., where Chrysler is under the gun from the Obama administration to close its deal with Italy’s Fiat and take other drastic steps if it wants up to $6 billion in additional government loans.

How’s that working out for us?

11 November, 2009:

Chrysler has disbanded the engineering team that was trying to bring three electric models to market as a rush job, Automotive News reports today. Chrysler cited its devotion to electric vehicles as one of the key reasons why the Obama administration and Congress needed to give it $12.5 billion in bailout money, the News points out.

The change of heart on electric vehicles has come under Fiat. At a marathon presentation of Chrysler’s five-year strategy, CEO Sergio Marchionne talked about just about everything on Chrysler’s plate last week except its earlier electric-car plans. With the group’s disbanding, Chrysler’s electric plans will be melded into Fiat’s. Marchionne is apparently no fan of electric power:

He says electrics will only make up 1% or 2% of Fiat sales by 2014 and that he doesn’t put a lot of faith in the technology until battery developments are pushed forward.

Now, the unicorns are crying.  And considering the money we shelled out, we should be, too.

If you’re tooling around in a Chrysler electric vehicle in a few years, you’ll still be driving an American car.

While some other companies are looking to foreign battery suppliers, Chrysler said Monday that it’s going to stay all-American. It announced it is choosing A123 Systems, a Massachusetts company, as its battery supplier. A123 will make the battery packs for Chrysler’s wave of electric vehicles at a new plant in Michigan. The first will hit the streets in 2010, says Lou Rhodes, vice president of advanced vehicle engineering for Chrysler. With Monday’s announcement, Chrysler is “that much closer” to getting its vehicle on the road.

Of course, the news that it could generate more American jobs could play well in Washington, D.C., where Chrysler is under the gun from the Obama administration to close its deal with Italy’s Fiat and take other drastic steps if it wants up to $6 billion in additional government loans.

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12 Responses to That Was Then. This Is Now.

  • We should be crying now?  Hell, I’ve got months of a head-start on that…

  • Is GM still too big to fail?  Just checking.

  • I wonder how long till Mr. Marchionne gets hauled before congress to explain his misdeeds.  After all, we were told that government will not be meddling in the day to day operations of the automotive industries.  I believe you guys have already posted about how that one turned out.

  • Does this change of heart come with a “Fiat” ?

  • “Rush job” EVs would be non-competitive trash anyway – especially from a failed automaker.
    I’m sorry money got thrown at saving any of the big three, but not sorry that it’s not going to be spent on EVs.
    If they did manage to become a “hit” it’d be awful for our already strained power distrbution grid. Talk to me about a raft of EVs once we modernise the grid and bring up a lot more nuclear power plants.
    (Ideally, do that and then <I>don’t</i> talk to me about a raft of EVs…)

  • These EVs were Cerberus driven vaporware.  Considering they orchestrated the severity of auto mess they got away pretty cleanly.

    • Just to clarify, these were touted before Chrysler when looking for a bailout.  Although they were probably connected with Chrysler making a pitch for DoE money of which only Ford has line up any significant amount.

  • Of course the purpose of the bailout money was never to save Chrysler, GM, electric cars, or uncorns, it was to keep their Union Thugs happy.

  • Was there any implicit promise the bailout money would include “X” quota of EV’s per annum?
    If so, then there is a case to recover some part bailout money, starting when Chrysler bailed on their EV commitment.
    If no such promise was made, then this is another case of wishful thinking, projected onto an otherwise lose-lose scenario.
     

  • Does anybody know the Italian for “SUCKER!”?