Obama gets two ‘awards’ for worst product failures of 2011

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama can claim partial credit for two of this year’s greatest product failures described in a top-seven disaster list prepared by Yahoo! Finance.

The top two product disasters were a push-up bra for pre-teens and Netflix’s short-lived Qwikster video-rental spin-off.

But two autos pushed by Obama’s government-directed auto companies won slots No. 3 and No. 6 on Yahoo!‘s ”Worst Product Flops of 2011.”

The No. 3 prize went to the battery-powered Chevy Volt, which had been touted by Obama as the green-tech model for future vehicles. It is being built by General Motors — which is still partially-owned by the federal government — but the company only sold 7,000 of the cars by December.

Company managers had predicted sales of 10,000.

Administration officials predicted far higher sales, in part, because GM and some of its parts suppliers have received hundreds of millions of dollars in start-up funds. Moreover, the federal government is buying some of the vehicles, and is paying for state and local governments, as well as regulated companies, to buy even more.

Taxpayers who purchase the $41,000 car also get a $7,500 tax break.

Obama’s second flop took sixth place.

The booby prize want to the Fiat 500 auto, which administration officials touted when they arranged for Fiat to buy the ailing Chrysler company.

“The car was expected to be a big seller, rivaling BMW’s Mini… [and] Fiat expected to sell 50,000 500s during 2011 in North America,” according to the Yahoo! Finance Top 7 list. However, “Fiat sold fewer than 12,000 [and] sales were so poor that Chrysler Group, which manages the Fiat brand in the United States, ousted U.S. chief Laura Soave this past November,” noted Yahoo.

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Neil Munro