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DOE Proposes 27 “Energy Efficiency” Penalties

Chinese, Japanese, Korean firms accused of not certifying compliance with U.S. efficiency or conservation rules.

by on Sep.13, 2010

DOE has been severely criticized for its lack of enforcement of U.S. regulations.

The Department of Energy today announced 27 new proposed penalties against companies selling products in the United States without certifying that they comply with energy efficiency or water conservation standards.

The legally required certifications are said to ensure that products sold in the U.S. deliver significant energy and cost savings to buyers. Prior to the Obama Administration, the Department had never systematically enforced DOE’s 35-year-old energy efficiency standards. Lax enforcement of energy efficiency standards undermines the goal of increased energy efficiency – now clearly a national security issue.

There are other implications as well. While not directly automotive industry related, today’s enforcement actions – coming on top of a newly activist Department of Transportation in automotive safety matters and the  U.S. Trade Representatives’ duties on Chinese tire imports, among other well-publicized examples –  are the latest indications that an industrial policy of sorts to protect manufacturing jobs is underway across the Obama Administration.

The U.S. is alone among industrial nations – either communist run or elected democracies – to lack formal policies to protect U.S. jobs, now a contentious mid-term election year issue with record high unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.


President Obama to Visit Detroit Area Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chevrolet Volt Plants Today

Renewed push defending auto bailouts, touting job creation.

by on Jul.30, 2010

Without intervention a million jobs would have been lost, according to a new report.

President Obama will visit the Jefferson North plant of Chrysler in Detroit where Jeep Grand Cherokee models are made and then stop by a nearby General Motors plant in Hamtramck where the Chevrolet Volt hybrid will be built.

At both stops, and another next week at a Ford Explorer plant in Chicago, the President will promote the taxpayer programs that saved or created “Detroit Three” automaker jobs.

The unpopular bailouts and how much of the more than $80 billion used will be returned are one of many contentious election-year issues.

Both Chrysler and General Motors of course received billions of dollars in taxpayer financing to allow them to emerge from bankruptcies last year. And Ford Motor Company received billions to retool its plants.

As a result, the Administration will claim that the 2,800 jobs at Jefferson North and the 1,100 employees at Hamtramck, among thousands of others, were saved by the unpopular loans, which now has U.S. taxpayers as the majority holder in GM, with a substantial position in Fiat run Chrysler.

Ahead of the trip the Administration released a new study on the auto industry. It said that in the year before the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, the companies lost almost 340,000 jobs.  In the year since then, 55,000 jobs have been added to these companies.

“If we hadn’t stepped in when we did, most observers believe at least a million jobs would have been lost,” said Ed Montgomery, the head of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers.

“While there is still a long way to go, the report points out that the companies are also showing positive signs of financial performance. In the first quarter, all of them made operating profits. That’s the first time that’s happened since 2004,” said Montgomery.

Ford CEO to Serve on President’s Export Council

Ford exec Alan Mulally will advise on “export enhancement.”

by on Jul.07, 2010

Where are the jobs, Mr. President?

Ford CEO Alan Mulally will serve on the President’s Export Council (PEC) the White House announced today.

“Export growth leads to job growth and economic growth,” Obama said, as he named 18 business, labor and government leaders to a new export advisory council, “at a time when jobs are in short supply, building exports is an imperative.”

“President Obama recently set a national goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years. We applaud this forward-looking goal and I am honored to serve on the President’s Export Council and work toward helping America achieve it,” Mulally said in a Ford statement.

Ford Motor already exports about 250,000 vehicles annually – the equivalent of one final assembly plant, not including associated engine, transmission and other parts component plants. Vehicles exported from North America include the E-Series, Escape, Escape Hybrid, Expedition, Explorer, Focus, F-150, F-Series Super Duty, Mariner, MKS, Mustang, Mountaineer, Navigator, Ranger, and Taurus models.

It wasn’t immediately clear if this includes “exports” to Canada, and we await verification from Ford.

Politicians' Promises!

“At Ford, we believe an export-driven strategy is critical to achieving our shared goals of economic growth, job creation and a sustainable future. One thing is certain, for exports to grow we must ensure that market access for manufactured goods remains at the center of U.S. trade policy,” said Mulally.