FRANKLIN, VA (WWBT) - Terry McAuliffe's green car company, a company he promised would bring thousands of jobs to the United States has fallen short of his initial goals. But in a one on one interview, McAuliffe defended the company’s performance and said he not given up Greentech yet.
McAuliffe admits the company has not quite delivered on the promises he initially made and it could take a decade or more for it to live up to its potential.
The Greentech venture started with great fanfare, an opportunity for the candidate for Governor to tout his record as an entrepreneur. But it is quickly becoming a tool for his opponents to use to attack. The candidate believes voters will view the effort differently.
"This is not a negative for anybody,” he said. “This is a hopefully a great American success story of an entrepreneurial venture"
A success story, McAuliffe argues, because he took a risk not many others would be willing to do.
"There have not been many people who have started a car company, who have started a car company in a recession, who have started an electric car company," he said.
Republicans argue that the results are more important than McAuliffe's intent and that regardless of what he hopes Greentech will become, right now it has not produced much. That is despite the candidate’s lofty promises.
"It has been hard,” McAuliffe said. “Nissan leaf as I will remind you Ryan has taken 18 years. We have been at this three."
It was McAuliffe who promised full factory operation and 900 jobs by the end of 2012. To date no factory has been built and only about 100 people work for Greentech.
McAuliffe blames falling short of those goals on the people who work for him.
"We can only say what the engineers tell us to say, but sometimes they don't get it right that's ok," he said.
McAuliffe hopes voters will appreciate the effort and that they view him as a person willing to go beyond the ordinary for the people of Virginia.
"What Virginians want is someone who has tried things like I've tried."
Our full interview with McAuliffe can be found below:
Other highlights from the interview:
*On his decision to put the company factories in Mississippi instead of Virginia:
"It is what it is, it didn't work out here. Businesses have to make decisions based on their own business plan. Every business is unique. We tried, we looked at it but businesses have to make decisions based on their own interests."
*O n why the company has fallen short of its initial goals:
"I relied on, my folks relied on engineers who thought these lithium batteries.. They are very complicated as I say only a handful people in the country have tried what we are trying to do."
"Maybe our engineers thought they could get the Lithium battery done faster, we could only convey what our engineers say."
*On why he stepped down from the company without announcing his plans publicly:
"I am all in run from Governor. I go from early morning until late at night 7 days a week. I had to step away from those businesses that I was active in, including Greentech, as well as other businesses and you had asked me if anyone had asked me, I would've said, I've stepped away from those businesses."
*On his current role with the company:
"I am a shareholder, I am a founder."
"I'm proud of what we've done. I'm no longer involved in the management of the company and they are running it, I'm running for governor around the clock."
*On the Watchdog.org report that his partner company is incorporated overseas.
"I know my investment is here, I can't speak to anything.. My investment is here."