Bricklin’s back

The TJ has a great story today about Malcolm Bricklin’s new electric car venture today. He is using a Toronto-firm to build the battery. He made some interesting comments about his New Brunswick venture all those years ago:

“We brought the engineering too fast and, when we went to New Brunswick, we went because they offered such a good cash incentive,” Bricklin said.

“The problem in New Brunswick was they didn’t have really “¦ good automobile labour,” he said. “And you can’t build a car with 80 per cent turnover [every two months].”

He blamed Hatfield for politicizing the enterprise.

“The Conservatives against the Liberals, it became a political thing where some of the people wouldn’t even go to work if they came from the opposition party.”

Further, he said, “[Hatfield] used it to win an election and, of course, that caused a lot of animosity in the factories “¦ the opposite party resented it.”

“If we had had a trained labour force, or if we had had a couple more years to train the labour force, either one, I think we would’ve been successful,” he said.

He would not do it again with taxpayers’ money.

“I didn’t realize how public public money really was,” he said. “It’s tough doing it in the public arena while you’re developing something new, because everyone has got a say.”

80% turnover every two months? What did he pay those guys? Geez. You pay people $25/hour in the Miramichi and they will never leave. As for the politics of the thing, Conservatives playing politics? Nah…….

I am kind of a freak, I guess but I would be in Bricklin’s face trying to get that plant into New Brunswick. I know, I know. Once bitten, twice shy but he owes New Brunswick something. I don’t know what. But something. And all that crap about not having ‘automotive labour’ is stupid. How much automotive labour was their in Kentucky? Alabama? South Carolina? All places the auto biz went to set up new plants.

Ultimately, Bricklin is a deal maker. A guy that likes to throw crap at the wall to see what will stick. His deal with the Chinese went south and now he wants to do electric cars.

But still, something in my gut says…..

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0 Responses to Bricklin’s back

  1. mikel says:

    I think that is why your views are a little ‘freaky’. It’s one thing to talk about bringing in ‘foreign’ investment, the question is, would somebody like Bricklin be bringing his own money. There is a reason this guy is god knows how old and still trying ‘to make a go of it’.

    Forget ‘twice shy’, this guy is on six or seven. His attention span is shorter than mine, and of course NOBODY is going to NB without public money, nobody goes ANYWHERE without public money. The difference, once again, is the Irving owned media. It would be interesting to compare the media coverage of Bricklin vs., say, the LNG tax deal.

    Of course the seventies were a much different time, I doubt they paid $25 an hour, but there were still forestry jobs and lots of government jobs. I seriously doubt such a thing would be an issue today, or else you simply advertise in Alberta and lots of NBers would return home to do the jobs if nobody else would.

    As for the labour, I think he’s being pretty unfair. For having ZERO car manufacturing training New Brunswickers did a simply amazing job. The Bricklin was a ‘state of the art’ car not made to the usual specs but with plenty of enhancements that were ahead of its time. Look at the car industry’s record of even just new models and you can see how impressive they were. There were initially some problems of course, but these were very quickly overcome by people who were really learning as they were going. Bricklin cars still have quite a following, you can look up their clubs on the net and they meet all over the country. It was from their devotion that Saturn got the idea about marketing Saturn cars as ‘club’ cars which people would own and want to hang around others who bought them (it didn’t last because they were shitty cars).

    But it again comes back to what is always talked about here-‘industry’. Electric cars are butthead easy to make, always have been. But it took Zipp six years just to get a license to be able to get on ontario roads. Building an ‘electric car’ industry wouldn’t be tough, money is being thrown at green programs nowadays like nothing- a recent Canadian Business cover was “Go Green to make a fortune”.

    But once again it all falls back to who the CURRENT players are. This is a province that is so heavily tied to Irving that one of the only promises the Premier kept was to LOWER the tax on gasoline-something virtually NOBODY else is doing. Try counting the green projects in NB and you’ll come up with, gee, well, I’ve counted three. As far as I can tell, New Brunswick’s ‘prosperity plan’ is built on being environmentally backward enough that all the remaining fossil industries will want to set up there because nobody else will let them. And unfortunately, that kills all the opportunities to grow other industries. In other words, 25 years from now we’ll be reading about subsidizing gas and oil and nuclear the way we hear about forestry now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Besides the fact there is no technology yet known to replace what we have,regardless of money.
    The battery he talk about probably over 100 years old technology.

  3. Danny D'Amours says:

    “I am kind of a freak, I guess but I would be in Bricklin’s face trying to get that plant into New Brunswick.”

    Speaking of getting a plant in NB, I read today that VW is looking to set up a new plant in North America. One interesting condition that VW is looking at is that the new plant be a maximum of 6 hour time difference with Germany. NB could maybe use the fact that it run on Atlantic time in its favour.

    Is Graham or BNB getting in their face???

  4. Anonymous says:

    And that it was named after a german duchy:)

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is the first proposal that makes me forget my disdain for PPPs.

    New Brunswick loves to drive, why not make the cars ourselves?

    Combine electric cars and tidal power, and we can quit sending our soldiers off on meaningless oil wars and fabricated hunts for al CIAaeda.