MediaMatters.org said:Fox emits misinformation about loans to fuel-efficient car companies
In reports on FoxNews.com, America's Newsroom, and Your World, Fox News repeatedly advanced misinformation about Department of Energy loans recently granted to Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors to support development of fuel-efficient vehicles, suggesting that those funds would be ill-spent. The false or misleading claims include: that the loans will be used to build cars that cost $89,000 and $109,000; that the loans will finance foreign manufacturing; and that Fisker and Tesla are European companies.
Fox News misleadingly reports that loans will build cars that cost $89,000 and $109,000
MacCallum: "Here's the car that they're looking to build. ... The price tag for this green-mobile -- about $89,000." America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum stated, "Listen to this. The U.S. government making a $529 million loan to a small car company that happens to be backed by former Vice President Al Gore. Here's the car that they're looking to build. Get this -- it is called the Karma, OK. It's called the Karma. It's a hybrid. It's built by Fisker Automotive. ... The price tag for this greenmobile -- about $89,000." MacCallum later added, "[O]ne of these cars costs $89,000 -- that's the one that Fisker is making. There's another company, Tesla Motors, and they got $465 million from the same program. They're building a car that costs $109,000." At the end of the segment, MacCallum noted, "efore I let you go, I just want to point out that Fisker says that the Department of Energy loan is gonna be used to finance U.S. production of $40,000 family sedan." Nevertheless, during the segment, the on-screen text stated: "U.S. Loan To Finance Hybrid Car That Will Sell For $89,000." [America's Newsroom, 9/28/09]
FoxNews.com: $529 million loan "to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000." "The federal government has loaned $529 million to Fisker Automotive Inc., a small car company backed by Gore to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000, the Wall Street Journal reported. Fisker isn't the only automaker to reap millions from Uncle Sam. Tesla Motors Inc., which offers a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster, received a $465 million government loan." [FoxNews.com, 9/26/09]
Cavuto: "The hybrid sports car will sell for 89 grand." Your World host Neil Cavuto stated, "Now, funding for Finland, and you are footing the bill. An Al Gore-backed company scoring a $529 million federal loan to build cars over there. The hybrid sports car will sell for 89 grand -- not exactly an economy car. Now, we should note some of that cash will go toward building cars here, but that is years down the road." [Your World, 9/25/09]
In fact, Tesla loan and most of Fisker loan will finance less expensive sedans
68 percent of Fisker loan will finance manufacture of $39,900 "Project Nina" vehicles. According to a September 22 Department of Energy press release, $359.36 million of the $528.7 million loan will be used "for Fisker's Project Nina, involving the manufacture of a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Fisker estimates that up to 75,000-100,000 of these highly efficient vehicles will roll off assembly lines in the U.S. every year beginning in late 2012." The remaining $169.3 million will be used "for engineering integration costs as [Fisker] works with primarily U.S. suppliers to complete the company's first vehicle," the $89,000 Fisker Karma. A September 22 Fisker Automotive Inc. press release states, "A majority of the more than $528 million in low-interest funds will go toward Project NINA, which will see the design, engineering and assembly of Fisker Automotive's next-generation plugin hybrids, starting at about $39,900 after tax credits."
Tesla loan will finance $49,900 Model S sedan, not $109,000 Roadster. According to a June 23 DOE press release, the loan "will finance a manufacturing facility for the Tesla Model S sedan" and the remaining funds "will support a facility to manufacture battery packs and electric drive trains to be used in Teslas and in vehicles built by other automakers." A June 23 Tesla press release states that the Model S has an "anticipated base price of $49,900" after the tax credit.
Fox News suggests loans will only create jobs "in Finland"
MacCallum: Loans "going to Finland to build cars." MacCallum teased her segment on the loans by stating, "U.S. taxpayers -- have you heard this? -- gave a half a billion dollars -- U.S. taxpayers -- to a car company that is creating jobs in Finland." During the segment, referencing both the Fisker and Tesla loans, she stated: "So all -- you've got all of this U.S. taxpayer money to encourage the building of fuel-efficient cars, but it's going to Finland to build cars that cost $89,000 and $109,000. So how is this going to, you know, make any impact on people who are just trying to buy a good car that's fuel efficient?" During the segment, on-screen text read, "Americans Fund Car Co That Will Create Jobs... In Finland":
FoxNews.com: Fisker loan will "help build a hybrid sports car in Finland." FoxNews.com reported that "[t]he federal government has loaned $529 million to Fisker Automotive Inc., a small car company backed by Gore to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000, the Wall Street Journal reported." [FoxNews.com, 9/26/09]
Moore: DOE loan money should "employ American workers to do this." Fox News contributor Stephen Moore stated, "I think most of the people watching this show, I think, would question the wisdom of the Department of Energy giving out these grants in the first place. But I think the vast, vast majority of Americans would say, at least if we do it, find an American company that's going to employ American workers to do this." Earlier in the segment, Cavuto noted that "some of that cash will go toward building cars here, but that is years down the road." During the segment, on-screen text stated, "$529M Gov't Loan Will Help Gore-Backed Co. Build Cars In Finland." [Your World, 9/26/09]
In fact, most of work related to the loans will be conducted in the U.S.
Fisker's Project Nina will be assembled "in the U.S." The September 22 DOE press release states that 68 percent of the Fisker loan will be used "for Fisker's Project Nina, involving the manufacture of a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Fisker estimates that up to 75,000-100,000 of these highly efficient vehicles will roll off assembly lines in the U.S. every year beginning in late 2012." The press release states that with regard to the remaining funds -- which will be used for the production of the more expensive Fisker Karma -- that the engineering work "will be conducted at Fisker's Pontiac, Michigan office with support from its headquarters in Irvine, California," and that "[w]hile the final assembly of the Karma will be done overseas, more than 65 percent (based on cost) of the parts required for Karma will come from U.S. suppliers." DOE has concluded that "[t]he combined projects are anticipated to create thousands of jobs in the U.S. and provide substantial support for domestic parts suppliers saving or creating approximately 5,000 jobs." Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker Automotive, has reportedly "said that the current Karma would stay in Finland, but its successor could be built in the United States with the Nina vehicle (which will appear in late 2012)."
Tesla loan finances factories in California. The DOE press release states that the loan will "finance a manufacturing facility for the Tesla Model S Sedan" and that "[p]roduction of the Model S will begin in 2011 and ramp up to 20,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2013. This integrated facility expects to create 1,000 jobs in Southern California." The rest of the loan "will support a facility to manufacture battery packs and electric drive trains. ... The new facility expects to employ 650 people in the Bay area of Northern California." On August 18, Tesla announced that it will open the power train facility in Palo Alto, California.
Fox figures falsely claim Fisker, Tesla are European companies
America's Newsroom: "Why is European Car Company Getting Money From Uncle Sam?" The following on-screen text appeared during MacCallum's segment [America's Newsroom, 9/28/09]:
Moore: $1 billion went to "this Finland company" and "a British company." Moore stated: "[T]his is money that was supposed to be for creating jobs. It was Department of Energy money to create a new high-performance car that is fuel-efficient, electric car. Half a billion dollars went to this Finland company. By the way, there was another grant of about that same amount that's gone to a British company." Moore further stated that while he does not support the use of federal funds for this purpose, "If you were going to do it -- and I'm not in favor of it -- but if you were going to give out $1 billion, give it to an American company." [Your World, 9/25/09]
Cavuto: "f we are going to do this, then let's make sure that American companies exclusively benefit." Echoing Moore, Cavuto stated, "I am not for this stuff. But then I would just say, 'All right, well, if we are going to do this -- if we are going to do this, then let's make sure that American companies exclusively benefit.' Like with cash for clunkers we found out a lot of these people are buying, you know, Mazdas and Toyotas. Good for Mazda. Good for Toyota. I am not begrudging them, you know, their attention and success, but I don't think that was the goal here." [Your World, 9/25/09]
In fact, Fisker and Tesla are American companies
Fisker based in Irvine, California. Fisker Automotive's website states that it is "a green American premium sports car company" and a joint venture of Fisker Coachbuild LLC and Quantum Technologies, both of which are California-based companies. Fisker "was founded in 2007 and is based in Irvine, California," according to its BusinessWeek profile.
Tesla based in San Carlos, California. Although Tesla's Roadster is built in Hethel, England, the company "is based in San Carlos, California with additional offices in Rochester Hills, Michigan and West Los Angeles, California," according to its BusinessWeek profile.