The minute Global Crossing is mentioned, objectivity is in question. The usual fans of entrepreneurial spirit who fawn over Donald Trump lay for Terry and they think they have caught him with GreenTech Automotive. Apparently a business plan not virgin born is dead on arrival. You know, like Las Vegas.
The Truth About Cars Editor-In-Chief Edward Niedermeyer is a bit unnerved that Terry McAuliffe has not reacted to his stories about GreenTech but has had something to say about an Automotive News report. Bertel Schmitt’s character assassination piece is filled with guilt by association vignettes and irrelevant information. Not much of either story deals well with the business case or acknowledges that in this global economy, maybe this is the new model for the American economic resurgence. First an update on the progress of GreenTech from Terry, then a little bit about the “math.”
In both publications, McAuliffe has been taken to task for doing business in a “foreign” way. He didn’t hire 2,000 engineers to do research and design work that has already been done. He didn’t sink $700 million “to support vehicle electrification, including test facilities, a battery manufacturing lab and special equipment” that has already been developed. Instead, he let the Chinese do that for him. Then he went to the Chinese and dealt with them on terms advantageous (at least he hopes so, but that’s why they call it risk) to his investors. In doing so he crossed paths with some people who may be characterized as nefarious. Unfortunately, there was no nunnery holding the keys to an electric car manufacturing facility. There weren’t even any Americans with keys to a going concern that holds such promise. Instead he dealt with a world economic reality and the people who are shaping it and he believes he has walked away with an advantage for his investors.
Comparing this effort to the Zap scheme is disingenuous; a spurious association. Be assured, there would be no peace in the McAuliffe household if there were any version of the Zap Girls promotion at GreenTech. Terry is not out hawking dealerships or franchises and doesn’t need to having already sold his first year’s production overseas. By the way, that, along with the plan to provide key parts for the cars produced and sold in China, is called helping heal the balance of trade.
But these are automotive publications not business journals. Neither predicted the fall of GM. Both are using industry templates that became obsolete a decade or two ago. Neither appears to know business overseas at all. Neither really knows more about Terry than what they’ve seen on television.
This initiative, like many in which venture capitalists and small businesses invest, may yet fail. But no American should be excited for that. Regardless of what one might believe about Terry’s politics or his character, everyone should hold their breath that this succeeds. Why? (Note that this is far more important than his aspirations to be Virginia’s Governor) Because it may be the bellwether for America’s manufacturing sector and her economic future.