As much as I don’t like admitting that Obama was right about something, perhaps he did choose the right man to head up Chrysler. (But don’t worry; all the other problems with that merger still ensure that Obama comes out in the red on it overall … and hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut in a broken clock occasionally and all that.) But I kind of like the CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne. At least the man has a little spark and honesty.
Recently, Marchionne angered pretty much everyone that helped him obtain his current position by urging people not to buy the Fiat 500e, Fiat’s electric car. Why? Because Fiat loses money on every single one of those cars, about $14,000 a pop, according to Marchionne:
“I hope you don’t buy [the Fiat 500e] because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000,” Sergio Marchionne told the audience at the Brookings Institute during a discussion of the auto bailout. . . .
“I’m honest enough to tell you that I will make the car, I’ll make it available which is my requirement but I will sell the limit of what I need to sell and not one more. . . . Because of California and there’s mandates which keep on moving the impositions back on car makers to produce cars that are zero-emission vehicles. . . . The other one is because of the initiative that was put in place by Obama back in 2011 with the new emission rules which are effectively binding the industry until 2025.”
California’s Zero Emission Vehicle standard requires a certain percentage of car makers’ vehicles to have no emissions. . . . Obama’s plan will force cars and light trucks to meet certain fuel-mileage requirements by 2025.
“If we just build those vehicles,” said Marchionne, “we’ll be back…in Washington asking for a second bailout because we’ll be bankrupt by Christmas.”
Let me also point out something about these “zero emission” vehicles. They aren’t actually zero emission. The fact is that they require electricity, and electricity is produced largely by what means? That’s right—fossil fuels. So even though all the happy drivers of the Fiat 500e probably feel really good about their carbon emission foot-binding, at the end of the day, they aren’t the change they think they are. Not until electric power companies change their methods of generating electricity.
This is what crony capitalism looks like. The worst part of capitalism and the worst part of big government married together in one rotten package. Whether it’s healthcare or car manufacturing, the taxpayer is always the one who foots the bill and the economy and innovation always suffer. Congratulations, big government. You’ve done it again.