‘Stand Over the Car With Tools… and Look Like We Were Doing Something.’

Gee… this looks like an interesting story from a Memphis television station.

MEMPHIS, TN -(WMC-TV) – Action News 5 is taking you inside a Mid-South car company that promised to bring hundreds of jobs to North Mississippi. A former employee is raising concerns about how much the company has actually accomplished.

“We would stand over the car with tools in our hand and look like we were doing something to the car, but we wasn’t doing anything,” said the former employee.

It is a strong statement against a company that until now has refused to go on camera or let our cameras inside. But that, too, all changes on Action News 5 at 10 p.m.

“This is a real company, it’s a building company, we have set very aggressive goals for ourselves, but we will not meet anyone’s arbitrary deadline for us,” said Greentech Automotive Vice President Marianne McInerney.

More questions. More answers. It is all coming up Wednesday in an Action News 5 investigation at 10 p.m.

Quite an interesting quote, although the breathless stay-tuned commentary suggests the newscast may be anchored by Ron Burgundy.

UPDATE: The Memphis station’s report overlaps a lot with this one from Ryan Nobles of NBC’s Richmond affiliate:

For the first time we get a look inside this private company. But that visit was only granted after we were approached by a former employee who saw our initial report and told us he was concerned that the start- up venture was not headed in the right direction.

In July of 2012 the picture of Greentech automotive was a car company on the verge of revolutionizing the industry.

“But now we start at full factory production and at full capacity we can make a car an hour,” said McAuliffe at the time.

But according to a worker- who was there, those lofty goals were nowhere near reality.

“We were worried, scared. A lot of us were scared for our jobs.”

This worker asked us to protect his identity. He describes himself as a happy employee who never missed a pay-check. But he was constantly worried that what the company was telling the public wasn’t actually happening inside

“We were told, you know, when we first went in the fall of ‘11 we were going to build a 100 by Christmas, that didn’t happen,” he said.  “Then we were told we were going to build x amount through the year 2012 and that didn’t happen.”

It is a culture of uncertainty that his former employers forcefully reject.

“This is a real company, it’s a building company,” said Greentech spokesperson Marianne McInerney.We have set very aggressive goals for ourselves, but we will not meet anyone’s arbitrary deadline for us.”

McInerney took us in a ride of one of the Greentech prototypes. It is a 5 seat sedan that runs on no gas. She said Greentech is selling cars all over the world.

“We have distribution agreements that account for 30,000 vehicles over the next three years,” she said. “That’s pretty significant.”

But she can’t provide specific numbers on actual cars that have been produced. The former employee told us that in his more than a year in a half on the line maybe 30 cars were built and most of them never left the building.

“They would take everybody and put them out on the line and we would stand over the car with tools in our hand and look like we were doing something to the car but we wasn’t doing anything,” he said.

The worker claims the company had them put on a show for what he believed to be foreign investors. According to McInerney he simply misunderstood the training process of a complex and new technology.

“There’s what we would call a training build.”  

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