This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Jan. 27

1. Volt Loses Charge

All this conspiracy talk about Chevy Volt fires is really burning us up. The problem with GM's (GM - Get Report) all-important electric car is clearly not a faulty battery -- it's that nobody is buying the darned thing!

GM CEO Daniel Akerson cruised over to Capitol Hill this week to defend the automaker's response to a handful of Volt battery fires last June before the GOP-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially started looking into the matter last November and ended its investigation last week, concluding that the Volt and other electric cars pose the same fire risks as gasoline-powered vehicles.

In his written testimony, Akerson stressed that fires only resulted when government regulators put the battery "through lab conditions that no driver would experience in the real world."

Memo to Mr. Akerson: We're not talking about the "real world." We're talking about Congress here.

Seriously, only on Planet Washington would a hearing be titled, "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?"

Will you guys get real? Just because the government still owns 26.5% of the company's shares post-bailout, this does not automatically mean that President Obama is trying to sweep safety risks under the floor mat.

If you remember, it took 10 months for the NHTSA and NASA to conclude that Toyota's (TM) so-called accelerator problems were the result of heavy-footed drivers, not badly-wired cars. Heck, compared to that investigation, this Volt inquiry was completed in no-time-flat.

In the end, that wild goose chase caused Toyota to recall -- unnecessarily in most cases -- over 7.5 million automobiles. And even if the Volt was unsafe -- which it's not -- GM can only dream of a recall that big. The Volt sold a mere 7,671 units last year, well below GM's 10,000 target.

So what held sales back? Was it the bad press over the batteries or some other quality issue?

Not at all. As TheStreet contributor Anton Wahlman adroitly points out, the flaming battery issue has been a non-factor and the Volt has the single highest customer satisfaction rating - 93% according to Consumer Reports just two months ago - of any car in the market, even higher than the Porsche 911 with 91%.

The real culprits, says Wahlman, are the bureaucrats in California's Democrat-dominated government who victimized the Volt by making the 2011 model ineligible to apply for California carpool lane status. As a result, all the buyers in the biggest plug-in car market in the country ran out and bought Nissan (NSANY.PK) LEAFs instead.

Yep, the Volt is quickly losing its charge because of baseless bipartisan bickering. Forgive us for feeling less than shocked.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
5 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $126.60 0.94%
GOOG $521.84 0.26%
GM $33.04 -0.87%
JCP $8.65 2.13%
M $67.71 0.36%

Markets

DOW 17,757.91 +138.40 0.79%
S&P 500 2,077.42 +14.31 0.69%
NASDAQ 5,013.1230 +26.2560 0.53%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs