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President Vows to “Collect Every Dime” of Taxpayer Funds that Helped Big Banks

The real issue is “brother can you spare a dime.”

by on Jan.16, 2010

During the past two years, more than seven million U.S. residents have lost their jobs.

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama proposed a fee on major financial firms to recoup – on behalf of American taxpayers – the $700 billion paid out in TARP, saying, “we want the taxpayers’ money back, and we’re going to collect every dime.”

The latest populist appeal follows well-known political tactics used by both Republican and Democratic politicians to shift the focus from their lack of action on resolving issues. And one of the real issues that is at the core of the Troubled Asset Relief program – TARP–  is that almost three-quarters of trillion dollars of borrowed taxpayer money was spent with little if any positive effect on job creation.

During the past two years, more than seven million residents of the U.S. have lost their jobs. Moreover, our manufacturing sector – a great creator of jobs and wealth – is in tatters from the lack of industrial policies that all other industrial nations have long had.

U.S. taxpayers are outraged, to put it mildly, over the billions in Wall Street welfare payments they involuntarily made, which are now being recycled to financial executives in multi-million dollar bonuses. A clear majority are also against the auto bailouts. The banking bonus bumble is made more outrageous with U.S. unemployment growing to levels unseen since the Great Depression.

The fact that GM in a Security and Exchange Commission filing yesterday revealed that it is paying one Wall Street consultant on its Board, Stephen Girsky, almost $1 million a year is going to raise questions and increase the anger of opponents of taxpayer bailouts.

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Policy Debates!

In a deft political move that has policy implications, President Obama is now proposing a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee that would require the largest and most highly leveraged Wall Street firms to pay back taxpayers for the federal assistance provided, so that the TARP program does not add to the deficit. Whether the auto companies are mired in this populist controversy remains to be seen. Moreover, the bankers and Republican party are not going to embrace this bill.

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General Motors Sales Down 6% in December 2009

GM delivered 2,084,492 vehicles in 2009, down 30% from 2008.

by on Jan.05, 2010

GM held the line on share at 20% of the market.

Dealers for General Motors Company in the U.S. delivered 208,511 vehicles in December. This is a total sales decline of 6% from the previous year, attributed by GM primarily to declines in fleet sales (33%) and in sales of non-core brands (55%).

The decrease comes as the market rises about 15%, as GM continues to struggle to turn things around in its home market after decades of decline and an eventual bankruptcy reorganization last year.

The U.S. December 2009 Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate is estimated to be about the same as November – 11.0 to 11.2 million (total industry estimate) – resulting in total vehicle sales of 10.6 million for 2009, the lowest SAAR since 1982 when GM had about 50% of the market. GM now has about 20% of the U.S. market, making it number one in the U.S. followed by Toyota at 17% and Ford at 15%.

The decline in actual vehicles sold by GM for the year was almost 900,000 vehicles.

GM dealers in the U.S. reported 160,996 retail deliveries in December – a 7% increase compared to last year, and a 50% compared to last month. Retail sales of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands were 146,419 – up 13%.

“The fact that our retail market share has increased two full points from the third to fourth quarters demonstrates that we are strengthening our brands,” claimed Susan Docherty, GM vice president, U.S. Sales. “We are delivering a healthier sales mix and earning consumer confidence through our launch vehicles such as Chevy Equinox and Camaro, Buick LaCrosse, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX.”

In its latest reporting period, GM lost $1.2 billion after emerging from bankruptcy with what is said to be drastically lower costs with a corresponding decrease in break-even sales volumes.

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Data!

In 2009, GM dealers delivered 2,084,492 vehicles, down 30% compared with 2008.

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General Motors Sales Decline in November

Surviving brands post modest increases in what’s a flat market.

by on Dec.01, 2009

The core issue at GM remains declining overall sales.

The "core" issue at GM remains declining overall sales no matter what the brand.

Dealers for General Motors in the U.S. delivered 151,427 vehicles in November, a decline of 2% compared with November 2008. GM retail sales were up 1% for the month.

Total sales for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac were up 6% compared with the prior year. Retail sales for these “core” brands were up 10%, and now represent 94% of GM’s sales as the Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn brands are phased out.

“We’re working to strengthen our Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands by providing cars, crossovers and trucks with the sales and service experience that our customers deserve,” said Susan Docherty, GM vice president, U.S. Sales. “We have more to do, but we’re committed to earning consideration and future sales by delivering great products in every segment.”

Indeed. Year-to-date GM sales are off 32% — and about the same or both cars and trucks – in a market that is off about 24%. GM continues to underperform on an overall portfolio basis, although recent launches of the Chevrolet Traverse and Camaro, and Cadillac SRX are cited as successes.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Tearful, trendy, traveling and traction?

by on Nov.16, 2009

Borrell Associates Auto Advertising Outlook for 2010

Not good, but not that bad. The respected advertising research and consulting firm, which concentrates on online media annual report, is titled this time “Running on Empty.” Over the years, I have found the company’s predictions accurate, dependable, reliable and prescient.

The report is based on Borrell’s Automotive Table, which monitors local ad spending, by U.S. auto dealer associations and manufacturers and is updated quarterly.

Eleven different sources are used to compile the data into the report.

Rather than rehash the current economic woes, I have opted to focus on their predictions for next year. According to the report, “There are signs of recovery and permanent change ahead, among the observations:

  • 2010 will be better than 2009 for new car marketing, but not by much
  • Dealerships are getting leaner
  • Cars sold be dealer are trending up
  • Manufacturer co-op spending is returning and beginning to rise
  • Independent dealers are finding new sources of revenue
  • Large dealers will continue to gain share in used cars
  • Online “ad spend” will surpass all media for new car advertising”

In the online auto-advertising category, the usual focus by auto brands on display banners, pop-ups and classified listings is dropping by 20%. Conversely, this year e-mail and social networking campaigns have grown by 20%, but the most growth Borrell predicts will come for streaming audio and video.

U.S. Total New Vehicle Ad Spend – 2010

In 2010 Borrell predicts overall ad spending to increase to $19.2 billion, while online ad spending climbs more than 10% to $4.3 billion.

Stay tuned, as Betty Davis said, “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

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White House Calls Out Blog for Faulty Analysis

Latest right wing foray, this time against Clunkers, meets with another aggressive response from the Executive branch.

by on Oct.30, 2009

Council of Economic Advisors Seal

"In other words, all the other cars were being sold on Mars."

When a blog site declared that the CARS program, aka Cash For Clunkers, cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold and only 125,000 of the sales were incremental, it was too much for the newly aggressive Obama Administration to ignore publicly.

In a witty and number filled response that referred to the publicity seeking site and an analysis by the Council of Economic Advisors, the White House blog asked viewers to decide for themselves.

Not before using rapier wit and a decidedly better written blog post, that is – so if you “live by the sword, you die by the sword” was the signal to all the bloggers out there.

The White House said, “On the same day that we found out that motor vehicle output added 1.7% to economic growth in the third quarter – the largest contribution to quarterly growth in over a decade – Edmunds.com has released a faulty analysis suggesting that the Cash for Clunkers program had no meaningful impact on our economy or on overall auto sales. This is the latest of several critical ‘analyses’ of the Cash for Clunkers program from Edmunds.com, which appear designed to grab headlines and get coverage on cable TV. Like many of their previous attempts, this latest claim doesn’t withstand even basic scrutiny.

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GM Extends “May Best Car Win” Campaign

Your money back after 60 days is also included.

by on Oct.30, 2009

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Potential buyers have an easy way to thoroughly test drive a new vehicle.

General Motors Company’s “May the Best Car Win” marketing campaign will be extended through January 4, 2009, said Jay Spenchian, executive director, Marketing Strategy. The program was originally due to expire in November.

For potential buyers, the program allows them a relatively easy way to thoroughly test drive a new vehicle, something that is too rare in the high pressure world of auto sales, where “I can give you a better deal if you’re ready to buy now,” is a common tactic.

The ads produced for the promotions scored in the top quartile for all automotive advertising in the last three years in terms of consumer opinion, consideration and relevancy, according to GM’s internal testing data.

While consideration is a necessary precursor to sales, ultimately the results much show in actual metal moved. When October sales are announced next week, some outside indicator of whether GM has stopped its sales and market share decline will be publicly available.

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