GM moves away from 'Government Motors'
I've been tough on General Motors lately, so it's a genuine thrill to be able to take note of those occasions when the company does something smart. Case in point: Thursday's announcement that GM is canceling its request for $14.4 billion in fuel-efficiency loans from the Energy Department.
This move is a twofer for new CEO Dan Akerson: It helps the company avoid building up debt (even the cheap government kind), and it aids the rebranding of GM as a free-standing automaker, not "Government Motors."
When Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and his brother, Sander, a Michigan congressman, proposed a dramatic expansion of government tax credits for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, GM wisely maintained radio silence about this costly idea. Not surprisingly, I'm less impressed with Akerson's push to increase production of the Chevy Volt this year.
But I'll try to keep my critique of that hapless vehicle technological wonder as fair as possible. My pal Greg Martin, GM's D.C.-based spokesman, called this morning to suggest it was not entirely fair of me to suggest, in this morning's column, that the Volt's battery might burst into flame one day. Fair enough, though, as I told Greg, I was just speculating about disaster scenarios for the Volt brand, not speaking from any actual knowledge about a specific flaw in the battery. Sorry if I gave anyone a different impression.
Then again, I'm not the only one who's engaged in such thought experiments.
| January 28, 2011; 6:22 PM ET
Categories: Lane | Tags: Charles Lane
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