Those of us who accused Chrysler and GM of hyping their electric car programs merely as a honey trap to capture money from the Obama Administration were accused of being ridiculous cynics. But...
Chrysler has disbanded a team of engineers dedicated to rushing a range of electric vehicles to showrooms and dropped ambitious sales targets for battery-powered cars set as it was sliding toward bankruptcy and seeking government aid.
The move by Fiat SpA marks a major reversal for Chrysler, which had used its electric car program as part of the case for a $12.5 billion federal aid package.
As late as August, Chrysler took $70 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a test fleet of 220 hybrid pickup trucks and minivans, vehicles now scrapped in the sweeping turnaround plan for Chrysler announced this week by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
I don't know if you remember, but during the GM bankrupcy deliberations, the airwaves were flooded with commercials for the Chevy Volt. Seen one lately? It is clear in retrospect those messages were political ads seeking subsidies, not marketing ads seeking to sell cars.