Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why won't GM sell off their EVs?

Maybe some attorney out there can explain this:
Soggy southern California dried out enough on Saturday, February 26th for nearly 100 "vigiler" to rally in support of "freeing" the last 77 EV1 electric cars thought to be remaining in the state. They gathered in front of General Motors' Burbank training center, behind which are parked dozens of red, black, and silver highway-capable, battery-powered cars.

Using a solar-powered public address system and led by actress and environmentalist Alexandra Paul, organizers asked GM to sell them the cars for their estimated residual value of $25,000. Holding up a large art board check for $1.9 million, a dozen of the 80 people who had -- in just 48 hours -- expressed interest in buying the cars, stepped up into the bed of an electrically-powered Ford Ranger, itself the focus of a similar protest in Sacramento in January. In that case, Ford relented to media and environmentalist pressure and offered to sell the remaining trucks to their current lessees for a token amount of $1 rather than go ahead with its plan to crush the vehicles. That move heartened electric car advocates in the Los Angeles area who decided to take on the world's largest car maker. Ironically, it was GM that pioneered the rebirth of the modern electric car in 1990 when it debuted the "Impact", a concept car from which the EV1 was developed.
Obviously I don't have all the facts here, but it's not clear why GM won't rake in a quick $1.5 megabucks instead of crushing these cars. Buyers allegedly would assume all liability and free GM of responsibility for supplying parts or other support.

Lefties have only themselves to blame if GM won't play ball. My guess is that GM fears that some !#$! shyster will claim that GM knew or should have known about something that will impact the owners of the EVs.

Then again GM hasn't exactly been known for transparency or receptivity to criticism. They made Ralph Nader's career by their reaction to him when he reported allegations against their Corvair model. Former executive/automotive entrepreneur John DeLorean wrote an interesting book called "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors" which discussed internal politics and much more at GM, and while one might well question how well DeLorean would fit in in any corporate environment, GM sounded particularly dysfunctional. And of course GM was the target of Michael Moore's "Roger and Me", which led to more interesting behavior.

All that said, given my druthers I'll trust GM over the lefties.

Anyway, this could be fun to watch.

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