Superbowl XLVI. Great game. Brady wasn’t at his best, but Ely certainly came into his own after being overshadowed by his older brother for so many years. Good for him. The Giants were the clear winners.
But there were also many others with a lot at stake Sunday night.
Sitting on pins and needles were the advertisers throwing the dice on Superbowl commercials at an average of $3.5 mil each! Big gamble. But not if you are Signor Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chrysler Group LLC; CEO of Fiat S.p.A., as well as Chairman of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. and CNH Global N.V. Chrysler Motors, Division of Fiat S.p.A. It was a “slam dunk” for him, if I may be excused for mixing my sports metaphors.
The longest and most expensive commercial was sponsored by Chrysler, starring movie icon Clint Eastwood at a cost of something over $10.5 mil. His “this is halftime” message was not about selling cars, but all about this being the halftime in Obama’s two term presidency. But no gamble here for Signor Marchionne. He knows which side his bread is buttered on, and you and I are paying for both sides!
Lost somewhere in between the performances of Ely Manning, Madonna, Clint, and the M.I.A. finger flipping episode, was the fact that the Obama Administration settled the Chrysler (now Fiat) TARP bailout leaving the US taxpayers still holding the bag for $1.3 billion. Tim Massad, Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability (I did not make up this title), hailed this as a “major accomplishment” because, “the government originally expected it would lose much more”!
Meanwhile, Sig. Marchionne is still on a roll, saying that he is, “not willing to give up” on Chrysler’s quest for about $3.5 billion more in Energy Department auto retooling costs. “We continue to work with the department,” he said. I’ll just bet he does!
Naturally, motorist Obama, of Chevrolet “Volt” fame, tooled along in the glow of this marvelous auto industry recovery. During a quick tour of the Washington Auto Show, “President Barack Obama hailed the rebound of the US/Italian auto industry, trumpeting an economic story he hopes to use to his political advantage in key Rust Belt states such as Michigan and Ohio. While seated inside a shiny new $40,000 plug-in electric hybrid, the President declared, “The U. S. auto industry is back!”
I should certainly hope so, considering that taxpayers have forked over about $80 billion, and are still stuck with more than a quarter of all GM stock, now trading at $26 a share — well below the $53-per-share mark needed for the government to recoup its investment. But, continues Obama, “As a result of the restructuring, the companies can make money at far lower U.S. sales volumes than in the past.”
And it’s a good thing too, because with 12.8 million still unemployed, an additional 1.8 million not even looking, and $5 gasoline staring us in the face, how many of us can be thinking of buying a new car?
But it was a good Superbowl game. One of the best!