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4-27-2016


Hi John,

Just watched the video about how Cadillac has tailored their cars for the consumers of China; my 25-year old nephew just bought a Cadillac, he got a Cadillac ELR (used 2015 with 10K on the odometer) for $30K off Ebay.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
4-27-2016


John,

I just read about the agreement between the US Department of Justice and VW, whereby VW will buyback at a maximum of $ 5000 an affected vehicle. I bet that's really going to make someone who purchase a 2014 VW Sportwagen in the mid $ 20,000 very happy. That's extreme sarcasm just in case it's not recognized by any readers.

Sounds like the US government just bailed out VW at the owners expense! No wonder there a massive hate on for politicians in this country. 

Tim Beaumont 
Tim,

The details that have been released so far are very sketchy. But VW is likely to compensate owners up to $5000, plus buy back their vehicles at fair market value.

John McElroy
4-27-2016


john,
 
just watch u on the china car show, that vw dash reminds me of 1970 ford ltd.
also chery will merge,buy, own fca. it is sad, but they have removed the cash and now it is time for chinese chargers and chrysler 200's.
 hope u had fun. that is what is starting to b missing from auto business, fun.
4-27-2016


John,

1 year ago Stanford University trumpeted it's research on the aluminum ion battery. It offered quick charging capabilities and flexible design. Where is that idea now? I would think the auto industry would be jumping all over this.

David Sprowl
No doubt they're still working on this. But we learned a long time ago not to get too excited about battery breakthrough announcements. They happen all the time and it takes a decade before they will ever go into production, if ever.
4-27-2016


I REALLY enjoyed the EV show, and can only hope that they continued talking amongst themselves about combinations of technologies. I think someone did an outstanding job of casting on this one.  More shows bringing together those ideas that can find new hope in conversations.

Tim J. Watson
4-27-2016


I just watched your show about EVs and not anyone addressed the fuel tax that EVs are not paying that are used to pay for the roads, bridges and other infrastructures when they are charging their cars. The EV drivers should be stopped/fined for driving on roads for which they did not pay a fuel tax on just as a driver with offroad diesel would be.
4-27-2016


Dear John,

I do not miss your daily broadcast and weekly After Hours since it is most informative and interesting.

April 15, your news mentioned Jeep Cherokee is the first American car earned Fuel Economy Tax Break from Japanese Government but American cars are not sold well in Japan due to Protectionism Policy.
There are two factors are missing in your news.
(1) Japanese market is one of most open market in the world for automobile importation. You can import any cars (left or right steering) at any age. (US has min. 25 years old policy)
Your car do not have to be new from OEM but you can import as individual as long as you pass safety standard and emission testing.   As to safety standard they are a lot more liberal than the US. European countries sell heck a more cars in Japan than US made since they provide cars which is much more suitable for Japanese road and traffic conditions and all of manufactures provide right side steering wheel which is preferred by consumers.  Only US companies supply left side only cars, less fuel efficient cars. Only FCA supply right side steering cars due to their manufacturing facility in Austria.
Many European cars receives the fuel efficiency tax incentives for many years at much higher rate than Jeep Cherokee just obtained due to more fuel efficient cars they market.
VW sells Polo, Up! which are not marketed in the US. Other models are marketed with smaller engines and naturally more fuel efficient. Audi sells A1, S1. Mercedes sells A class, B class and other models with smaller engines. BMW sells 1 series, M1 and many other models not available in the US.  Caterham sells 660 cc model called Seven-160 (utilizing beefed up Suzuki engines) which meet Japanese K-car class standard with great tax incentives.  Those cars are receiving fuel efficient tax incentive at higher rate. You can see full line of cars from all of French Auto companies, Italian companies as OEM imports in full lines. You will be able to find almost any countries cars which are imported by OEM or individual (new or used)
There are no (0) import duty for cars or trucks to Japan while US still impose 2.5% for cars and 25% for trucks and shut down individual import.
Who is more protective than Japan?  US manufactured Toyota, Honda or Nissan have more US made parts than GM, Ford or FCA.
European manufacturers are much more serious to market their cars in Japan than US suppliers.

(2) Japanese Fuel Efficiency Tax Incentive
There are three level of tax break. Jeep just got lowest incentive (call 50%) while many European cars are obtaining 75% or 100% tax.  US cars can receives higher incentives if they wish to supply more fuel efficient cars.
Tesla, Ford Focus and Fiesta (in limited trims available in the market)  should have such incentive already.  Although, Ford decided to pull out from Japanese Market in few years due to lack of sales.
(3) Japanese Market
Their sales is much smaller then US due to smaller population and lad space.  But they sell 450,00 cars and truck per month and 250,000 units of so called K-car with limited engine size (660cc and 64hp max with limited dimensions).
VW sells more than 10,000 units per month. Mercedes sells 9-10,000 units, BMW 8,000 units, Audi 5,000 units, Volvo 2-3,000 units, Mini 1-2,000 units while Jeep sells 1,000 units as number 1 from US OEM, other FCA 1,500 - 2,000 (mainly Alfa and Fiat) , Ford/Lincoln 6-700 units, GM 2-300 units.
Again, lack of US cars sales in Japan is simply US cars and trucks are fit with market demand by size and fuel efficient.
Japanese gasoline cost is always 2-4 times more expensive than US due to higher tax. And almost all Express Way is toll road, parking cost in large cities are much higher than US and many high structural parking deck do not fit with US cars due to its large size.
Social infrastructure and cost of maintains cars are a lot more expensive just like many European countries.

Do you still call Japanese market has Protectionism policies?

Best regard,

Jin Matsumoto
4-27-2016


John: 
 
    Unfortunately it looking like Peter D has been right all along. Check out this article in AUTOMOBILE-  
 
Is it too late? whose demise will be first, Sergio or Chrysler???  
 
FCA needs Maximum Bob at the wheel!!! 
 
Thanks, 
Brad Wandrey
4-26-2016


Hey John,

Saw your article on Wards Auto - good stuff! Your argument that there are "simply too many" auto shows certainly rang true to me and made me think of this massive car show calendar we have.

Aside from demonstrating the sheer volume of auto shows out there, this festival calendar is actually a solid resource for car enthusiasts. It's complete with dates, locations, descriptions, etc. of all the auto-related events happening year round. (and it updates in real time!)

Have a great week!

-Maddie
4-26-2016


John,
 
I take issue with your buying the Lincoln assertion that the MKZ Hybrid is a no-cost option.
 
The problem is that, unlike the Fusion Hybrid, the non-hybrid MKZ counterpart is a much more powerful turbo I4 (a V6 in prior years), not an anemic non-turbo I4.
 
One should call it a no-cost downgrade.
 
Will
Actually, the MKZ still has a V6. In addition to the hybrid, it offers either a 2.0 liter turbo or a 3.7 liter V6.

The turbo gets an EPA rating of 26 mpg, the V6 is rated at 22 mpg and the hybrid is rated at 40 mpg.
You’re right, the hybrid is substantially slower, but with 54% to 82% better fuel economy it may be a bit harsh to call it a downgrade.
4-26-2016


John,



I heard your comments on i8 sales vs Tesla sales, and I have to say I was surprised.  Why?



Well, the two cars are hardly comparable.



You make a very good point about how the Tesla Model S is killing its competition in the large, luxury sedan segment.  (A fact I brought to your attention last year).   However, the i8 does not compete in that segment, so its not fair to compare them.  The Model S is outselling the 7 Series, which BMW should be concerned about.



However, the i8 was conceived as a low volume, high-performance exotic coupe, where the Model S is a large 4-door luxury sedan.



The sales target was never very high for the i8, it was meant as a low volume halo car.  Even at that, sales were so strong that within months of its launch, BMW decided to double the production planned for the second model year in an effort to pare down the waiting list.



I believe that BMW is very happy with the i8 and the i3, and is currently hard at work on the i5.  To me, the most interesting vehicle launch of the next couple of years will be the Tesla Model 3.  If it can be as successful in its segment as the Model S has been in its segment, it may be time to start calling Tesla a real car company.    Second on that list is the Chevy Bolt, to see if buyers embrace it the way they have the Tesla, even though they compete for customers with very different incomes.



Love the show and the work you, Gary and Sean do!



GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

You make great points, most of which are spot on. And thanks for being the first to point out how well Tesla was selling in the luxury segment.

But BMW may not be all that thrilled with sales of the i3 and i8. For the first quarter of 2016 only 762 i3’s were sold in the US market, down 71.6% compared to a year ago. BMW only sold 175 i8’s in the first three months, down 48.7%. Those are big drops.

Now it could be that BMW is allocating production to other markets, but it’s days’ supply of both cars has doubled. It now has 53 days’ supply versus 23 a year ago.

John McElroy
4-18-2016


John
 
Thanks for answering my question. I was involved in the Volt launch when I worked for Magna and knew an SAE standard was established just didn’t realize Tesla didn’t follow suit. I just wonder how the compatibility of the battery pack is affected by the charging stations.  So assuming the connection was the same will any charger (Tesla included) work for any electric car?
So if I owned a Tesla I would probably want a connector cord that would allow my Tesla to be plugged into all the other charging stations and vise-a-versa if I have a Leaf a connection that would go from my SAE connection to a Tesla charger could be useful.. Humm I think there might be a market there. Elon might not like it though.

Robert
Robert,

I was wrong. Tesla owners can use public charging stations. Each Tesla comes with several adaptors, including a SAE J1277 adaptor that fits all public charging stations. However, I’m not aware of any adaptors that would allow non-Tesla owners to use the Superchargers.

John McElroy
4-18-2016


John/Sean
I have a question I posted on last Fridays AD #1833 but not sure you would see it since I didn’t post it until Monday morning.
Anyway I thought a standard connection for all electric cars was established and that all manufacturers would use the same plug type connector. So can a Volt/Bolt/Leaf be plugged into a Tesla charging station? Are Tesla stations free to consumers?  Seems silly for a series of charging sites being created if they only work for a single manufacturer.  

Robert
Robert,

The SAE set the specifications for EV charging plugs with input from all the automakers, including Tesla. Then Tesla came out with its own plug design that nobody else can use. It didn’t want other EV owners to use its free Level 3 Superchargers. But by the same token, Tesla owners cannot use the myriad of public charging stations that are popping up all over the place.
4-18-2016


Hi, greetings from Portugal.

After reading about the FBI trying to force Apple to give access to someone's iPhone, I wonder what is your opinion on the same happening in the future with autonomous cars?

Alexandre Moleiro
Hello Portugal!

Excellent question. All automakers, tech companies and suppliers are working on ways to prevent hackers from taking control of a car. But there really is no way to prevent a determined hacker. Even the CIA has been hacked. The best anyone can hope for is to make it so time consuming and expensive that the hacker looks for an easier target. Also, there is new software coming that can detect and ignore unusual commands, such as telling a car to drive off a cliff or disable the brakes. And then it determines where the unusual command came from within the car and blocks it from issuing further commands.
4-18-2016


Hello Gentlemen,

Perhaps the panel of experts could help me make an unbiased decision on weather to get a diesel - 2013/14 Porsche Cayenne or 2013/14 MB GL350 or the gasoline version of one of the aforementioned vehicles. Is it likely that there would be a total collapse of the non-commercial diesel market in the US in the near future thus affecting the resale values and support for maintenance etc..., or is it still safe to purchase and own a diesel vehicle for the next 5 to 10 years and still expect decent resale and support from a maintenance point of view.

Thank you.
hy1503
When we look at diesel sales for BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, the Grand Cherokee and the Cayenne, sales are down 15% for Q1 2016. That’s a big drop. Diesel Cayenne sales are down 73%. Mercedes GL sales with diesels are down 57%. Right now you’re probably better off buying a gasoline engine in either of those vehicles. On the other hand, you might find some screaming deals on the diesel versions.
4-18-2016


Seems like every time one of Chevy’s cars wins an IMSA endurance race, there’s something about it on Autoline daily. 
 
This week, Honda’s HPD division did something no one has done since 1998: Win both the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 hours with the same car in the same year. And there’s not a word about it on Autoline Daily?
 
s2000_moose.
4-18-2016


John,
I enjoyed the latest AAH..
w.r.t why consumers are more supportive of alternative energy:

Doesn't the survey lead most to believe that supporting alternative energy isn't related to gas prices?  Alternative energy isn't just electricity as a motor fuel.  It's also wind, solar, geothermal on the grid.

As far as transportation, when gas prices are high, then the much lower costs of alternative fueled vehicles like PEVs certainly can be a motivator.  
But the prime motivators that I see for competition to oil are emissions, climate change, energy security, oil driven geopolitical entanglements more than the relative price of the fuels.  Even now with gas so cheap, electricity is still generally even cheaper on a per gallon equivalent basis.

Even ExxonMobil acknowledges climate change (see below) and they support (along with other oil companies) a carbon tax.
ExxonMobil is certainly a well resourced, science and finance driven company with every reason to try to doubt climate change, and they don't.  As a matter of fact you can find presentations during the 1980's to their board on the web about their concern about Co2 emissions affecting climate.  As much as I admire Bob Lutz, he's simply wrong on this issue.

"ExxonMobil believes the risk of climate change is clear and warrants action. We also believe that providing the energy sources that fuel modern life, enable progress, lift people out of poverty, and raise living standards are essential and worthwhile endeavors. At the same time we understand the challenges that exist in meeting the world's energy needs while taking steps, at every turn, to safeguard the environment."
 
In addition, do you think Americans are simply tired of entanglements in the Middle East?  Watch this about the ticking time bomb of Wahhabism, the sect of Islam that seems to be most involved with terrorism (most of the 911 hijackers were Saudi Wahhabis)

and this about the 1400 year old Sunni, Shia divide

I used to see charts from GM on H2FCVs about "taking the car out of the environmental equation".

Alternative fuels, like electricity, not only help with the environment but also with all the other "externalities" associated with oil being our main transportation fuel. 
Sure, I save money on my transportation fuels per month driving an EV.. but my 5 year old Volt is still more quiet (and fun) than my wife's Lexus, I use 100% domestic energy (actually 100% Texas electricity which is even better), I lower emissions, I help the oil driven trade deficit, my car maintenance is lower, the $ I send to my municipal utility helps pay for fireman/streets/city services, I rarely have to go to the gas station since I fuel at home.  I've made up the $10k price premium on gas and maintenance costs already. 
It's just better in every dimension.   The biggest problem right now is the limited selection of PEVs.  
I want a Gen2 Volt-like  53 mile range eREV RWD Convertible with 0-60 in under 6 seconds.. but no one offers it.

I don't find compelling these "stuff the batteries in the trunk Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV, or BMW X5 40e, Fusion/Focus Energi, or Gen2 Prius PHEV with 14 to 22 mile range.   A 74-84 mile range LEAF is not attractive to me.  

Once there are a greater selection of PEVs as there are with conventional vehicles and PHEV AER is over 40miles (ideally 60miles/100km for marketing reasons) or a BEV with 200 to 300 miles (ideally 300miles/500km with 150kW to 200kW Superchargers) then we will see a hockey stick adoption particularly if we have a supply disruption and the only people driving around unfazed are PEV drivers.

The Japanese brands achieved a beachhead in the US market when the Arab oil embargoes occurred.  
I suspect adoption will be slow and steady accelerating around 2025 unless we have a jump condition from a supply disruption.
4-18-2016


Hi John,
 
One has to think when Johan de Nysschen says Cadillac has 11 new cars in development, he's talking about replacement for the ATS, the CTS and then at least 2 CUV with one smaller than the XT5 and then one larger; but that still leaves 6 if you count the just announced canceled CT8.
 
I guess.. we'll have to tune in to Autoline.tv every day to discover what the new models might be over the next couple of years.
 
With 11 new cars.. it's going to be an exciting time at Cadillac.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
4-18-2016


Gentlemen,
 
I enjoy your daily show and have watched consistently for a years now.  The news and opinions on most topics are top class and I respect the industry insight you bring.  However, as a Tesla supporter, I am baffled by your coverage.  While I have consumed my share of Tesla Kool-Aid as an owner and shareholder, I'm also realistic about their challenges (Model X is an overly complex distraction and cash drain; Supercharger and retail networks need expansion).
 
Consistently negative comments regarding Tesla's future precede reluctant but honest praise for their launched product's success.  Additionally, your choice of guests to discuss Tesla always slant negative.  Anton Wahlman's Seeking Alpha articles are consistently negative, his predictions are wrong and is shorting the stock.  He should not be considered an impartial guest on the subject without mentioning that significant financial tidbit.  Your discussion with Edward Neidermeyer should have been a mention about Tesla challenges, not a paranoid conspiracy theory.  Yes, they need more Superchargers in California.  The battery swap theory was answered correctly by Gary when he said it was a proof of concept AND to gain favor with CARB.  Most auto companies have spent money on CARB projects targeting one metric or another to gain access to the California market or regulatory benefits.
 
Tesla's accomplishments are changing the industry, per your comment that Tesla is outselling ALL their competition around $100k.  With the launch of Model 3, obvious competitors (BMW 3 series and Audi A4) will be hammered like their 5, 6, 7 and 8 brothers have been by the Model S.  However, the true impact will be felt on the Honda Accord/Toyota Camary/etc. segments a few years after initial launch when regular adoption takes place.   
 
Finally, you asked if any other automaker could create demand for a product to be sold in two years.  Obviously the answer is no, but another reason is that other automakers have to sell cars today.  Tesla has no competing products at this price point, so no cannibalization of current products (with some pushing off a Model S purchase to save money).
 
In conclusion, please consider hosting a Tesla owner or a more impartial guest.  I'll be glad to help in any way possible and can find local Michigan owners who may be available.  
 
Sincerely,
Alan Buck
Alan,

Thanks for your letter and your keen observations. You make a good critic!

Despite our healthy skepticism I think we’ve become more pro-Tesla over the years. That’s certainly true of me. I truly want to see Tesla succeed because I believe it would actually be healthy for the auto industry. Having said that I’m still not convinced it will survive in the long run.

I will take your critique to heart and we’ll get a guest on the show in the future who is more impartial. BTW, I believe that Anton is no longer shorting Tesla but I forgot to ask him about that on the show.

Truly appreciative,
John McElroy
4-18-2016


I see Sergio is pushing to be bought out (with a golden parachute for him?). It looks like the only desirable brand to be picked up by the 'big guys' would again be Jeep. Chrysler and Dodge (including minivans) will be 'histwa'.
 
So ok, we have had German Jeeps, now Italian Jeeps…do you see a pattern here?…
 
rwork
Our prediction: FCA will be bought by a Chinese automaker
4-18-2016


John, 
 
Just an FYI. I finished watching the AAH Mirai episode. At the end you gave out Mark Phelan's website, just verbally, as you often do for your guests. To me it sounded like 'freak.com', which redirected me to a pornography site! I googled Mark to discover it is 'freep.com'. 
 
Thought I would let you know. 
Tim Beaumont
Tim,

Thanks for the heads up. I shoulda spelled it out.

John
4-18-2016


Hi John,
 
It's almost a given that every person with a VW TDI will need to sell their cars back because they probably won't be able to renew their registration and even in states that might not have tough emission testing, the owners have no idea what the Federal government might do; but while these cars might be illegal in the US, they're probably OK to resell in Mexico, South America and eastern Europe.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
4-15-2016


Hello Sean.
 
Approximately 2 weeks ago in an Autoline Daily report you included an exhaustive overview of how FCA intends to shuffle, realign and increase production of Jeep and Ram models.  Believe you said that as a result Jeep Cherokee production would be extended @ Toledo, which would further delay launch of redesigned Jeep Wrangler.  I’ve not been able to find text of that daily report – can you forward or direct me to it?  Also, can you confirm what the projected production date currently is for the redesigned Jeep Wrangler?
 
Thanks,
Mike
Mike,
 
Here’s the link to the show in which that story ran. Just click on the link, and then click on the blue box that says “Show Transcript.”
 
We’re guessing that the redesigned Wrangler will go into production in late 2018.
4-15-2016


Hi John:
 
Concerning the Buick coming in from China; will the US apply the same import tariff (I believe it's around 25%) as China applies to all vehicles imported from the United States?
 
Thanks
 
Pat from Chilliwack
The United States applies a 2.5% tax on every imported vehicle unless the US has a free trade agreement with that country. If that vehicle is a truck the US applies a 25% tax. The Buick Envision from China will be classified as a passenger vehicle so it will be taxed at 2.5%.
4-15-2016


Hi John,
 
I agree with you and there's room in General Motors product catalog for 2-3 more CUVs from China minimum as the Envision is over a foot longer than the Encore and over 700 lbs heavier at 4,047 lbs meaning there's room for another CUV to fit in between the Envision and the Encore that is 6-8 inches longer than the Encore and 400 lbs heavier.
 
A second CUV that is in between the Envision and the Enclave that is 6-7 inches longer and 400-500 lbs heavier is a possibility.
 
Further, Cadillac needs 1-2 more CUVs given the market, the XT5 and Escalade isn't enough especially if the Escalade is going up-market with eyes to compete against Bentley's Bentayga.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
4-15-2016


John/Sean
 
Autonomy is obviously a hot topic right now and the advantages and uses are endless. From automated mail/package delivery to restaurant delivery and driverless taxi services that can take the kids to practice or pick them up from school. Your segment on driverless racing though got me thinking. Obviously there is a lot of work being conducted to get this technology to just work properly but what about vehicle recovery from a temporary loss of control, regardless if it is from a brief loss of computer control or unforeseen road conditions.
Basically my question is, has there been any work on what the car does in the case of hitting say a patch of ice? Can an autonomous car recover from a spin? In racing I have seen drivers do some amazing things to save the car from what looked like the inevitable crash. Just curious how the race cars will handle a blown tire or spilled oil etc..
 
Rob Stewart
Rob,

Autonomous cars will pretty much be able to do what any driver can do. If a car starts to spin on ice, the electronic stability control will kick in automatically. Remember, since 2012 all new vehicles have ESC as standard equipment. Autonomous cars can also be programmed to turn into a skid and recover.

Audi put out a video of an autonomous RS 7 on a race track. Autonomous cars can lap faster than most race drivers.
4-15-2016


Hi John,
      Take the MP4X concept one further, ditch the driver, and go 100% autonomous. Driver safety is a non-issue. Eliminate the cockpit, frontal area would be dictated by engine/ancillaries profile and pickup points of suspension bulkheads. Same goes for Indycar.
Jim Scott
Jim,
 
You’re not the only one thinking along these lines. Did you see the Torq from Europe Design that we ran earlier this year on Autoline Daily? It’s all about F1-like autonomous racing.
4-15-2016


On a recent show one of the guests discussed OEM Replacement parts versus third party replacement parts with the suggestion that one shouldn't look down one's nose at third party parts because they may in some cases be better than the Original. 
 
We happen to have Chubb as our car insurance carrier and they have a very strict view of what can go into a repair.
 
It might be useful to have someone on your show like a Chubb because after all they are the ones writing the check for the repair. So it would be interesting to hear right from the horse's mouth how they feel about OEM versus third party parts. 
 
Just a thought. Enjoy your show. 
 
Bob Douglas 
Thanks for your feedback, we welcome the suggestion.
4-15-2016


Dear Autoline,



I am not one who writes to shows or magazines - but your show this week motivated me to put in my two cents. Your guest Mary Ann Wright (Group VP  Engineering & Product Development) of Johnson Controls is one really intelligent executive that can explain everything so well.



I sure wouldn't mind spending hours listening to her talk about the automobile industry as a whole - and to think I am not even versed in engineering or mechanics. If all of our VP's or managers were as well educated and thoroughly well informed as she is - imagine what we all can achieve? Heck! I wish she were my boss. Here's to hoping you have her as a guest again soon. Thank you for a real educating and mind opening show. Keep up the great job.



Paul Webber
We could not agree more. Mary Ann Wright is terrific!
4-15-2016


Hello John et al:
 
Just wanted to let you know that I love your programing. Keep up the great work. There is a subject that recently has me irritated. That is auto surveys. Let me explain.
 
Recently we purchased a product from Nissan. So when we went to pick up the car we were told by the salesperson that we would be getting a survey soon and they asked that anything less than 100 % is considered a fail. So, in essence, they wanted us to give them a perfect score. I wish when I was in school that I could have asked many of my teachers for the same thing. I think this common practice now is in very poor taste and manufacturers need to review this. Since I am on the subject of poor taste, I also thought that SiriusXM-Satellite Radio calling me at home on my unlisted telephone number was also in poor taste. My biggest pet peeve for this was that they (XM) did not want to leave a message but kept calling over and over again to the point of being a nuisance. I surmised that it was Nissan who sold me out and gave XM our unlisted telephone number. I wonder if Nissan has any idea how I feel about their company now?
 
Our other car is a Mercedes-Benz. We purchased that car a few years ago. Recently I had it in for service. Similarly to Nissan, the service rep also advised that we would be receiving a survey for the service satisfaction. The Mercedes service rep also advised that any score less than 95% was a fail and they looked forward to our participation.
 
I am not sure what the point is for all these surveys if the customers are being told to give them perfect or almost perfect scores. Do they really want to know my opinion? If so then they need to hire a 3rd party and make me feel secure so that if I happen to give them a poor rating then I will not feel like the dealer, service reps etc., will treat me like crap the next time I bring the car in for service because I gave them a poor rating. I am not averse to giving praise and a perfect score when it has been earned. The problem is when I am asked, in advance, I feel like that survey is a total FAIL. Clearly (at least to myself) these people have no interest in knowing how I feel about their product/service and all they care about are their monthly/yearly numbers/ratings.
 
I hope that you may find some time on one of your programs to tackle this subject and have manufacturers respond. If you do please let me know as I would love to see that they might have to say.
 
Signed,
Disappointed
Disappointed,

You’re not the only one who hates getting badgered about these surveys. Isn’t it ironic that the way automakers and car dealerships try to measure their customer satisfaction is by dissatisfying their customers?

Thanks for the suggestion, we will definitely start asking automakers and dealers about this practice.

Best,
John McElroy
4-15-2016


Mr. McElroy, 

I was able to watch most of the episode devoted to the VW emission cheating scandal and numerous other media outlets coverage of the situation, but I think there are facts that are not focused on when speaking about the cars themselves.  From research performed online, there are roughly 250 million diesel vehicles where only about 7.5 (or 3%) million are classified as passenger vehicles.  Of those passenger vehicles, the VW scandal currently pertains to around 500,000 (or 0.2%) vehicles.  I think it would be safe to say that the majority, if not all, of the non-passenger vehicles (97% of total) have higher emissions (regardless of model year) than the passenger vehicles and there could be a majority of passenger vehicles that do not comply (based on model year) with the current regulations.  It would be hard to imagine that the VW, with the defeat device or if they actually were to meet the regulations, would impact air quality in any measurable way when compared with the millions of heavy polluting non-passenger vehicles on the road.  



I own a 2010 Jetta TDI and my fuel economy has averaged 46.8 mpg since new.  I bought it for the fuel economy, not what it put out the tailpipe.  I never thought I was helping the environment by owning this car, not with all the heavy haulers spewing black smoke out of the smoke stacks (I try to buy local produce, potentially reducing the amount of trucks hauling produce).  People were obliviously duped into buying something they thought was good for the environment (ignorantly) and VW should be liable.  VW lied to the EPA, again for which they should be liable.  But those who like the car shouldn't be punished and that is what the EPA would be doing by removing those cars from the road knowing there are much worse offenders that remain.    



My solution to the problem would be to grandfather the affected vehicles.  The EPA should fine VW the maximum and use the fine proceeds to implement better, more universal testing (probably would never happen in such a corrupt government).  VW owners would be open to join a class action lawsuit against VW for false advertising.  I would expect that the grandfathered vehicles would increase in value to, at least, the pre-scandal prices and likely could go higher so there should be no need for a class action suit against VW for loss of value.  The VW owners who think they were saving the environment could then sell their cars.



That's my two cents.  I made assumptions on the emissions of non-passenger vehicles which could be over stated and would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong. 


Thanks, 
Matt      
Matt,

Thanks for your feedback. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others can read it too.

All the best,
John McElroy
4-8-2016


John I read your article in today's Wards magazine and had a question. Where would you recommend a person such as myself looking for the jobs you spoke of? I have been in the auto business since 1975 and at GM the majority of that time. I have managed multiple dealerships for companies like Autonation and Sonic and always seen as a team player as well as a seasoned professional with excellent references. Any thoughts?

Steve Peacock
Steve,

My column in Ward's was all about how Silicon Valley companies are raiding the auto industry to get the talent they need. My suggestion is to reach out to Apple, Google, Uber, Tesla and anyone else you can think of. I'm not sure which of them will need people with dealership experience, but only you can make them aware that you're available.
4-8-2016


John:
 
I suspect that someone in the government will finally connect Takata airbags, the GM ignition switches, and the VW deasil engines and come to the conclusion that the government needs to be more involved with development and testing of cars and trucks to “prevent” future problems.  (That will be the hope anyway.) 
 
One way to do this is to have more government involvement during design reviews and testing.  The companies that develop military equipment have to deal with on site government inspectors.  The auto manufacturers may have to deal with this in the future or some similar solution.
 
As always, thanks for the auto news.
 
Brian Little
How do you have the US government inspectors looking over the shoulders of development engineers in Germany, Japan, China, France, Italy, England, South Korea, and Sweden?
4-8-2016


Hey John,
 
I just saw a Motor Week show on PBS about the XC90 and, MAN, what a wonderful vehicle that is! Many may have scoffed when they said they were going to go their own way and base their vehicle line up around a four cylinder engine and a scalable platform, but, boy, have they made a statement with this vehicle! This just shows that there is room in the luxury side of the industry, for more then just the standard approach. It also shows that Lincoln can be something special, if they truly make the commitment to MAKING something special! Look at the interior of the XC90 for example. If Lincoln were to appoint their vehicles as such, it would not matter if they were based on Fords or not, for they would sell themselves on that interior and it's materials alone! With you having already driven the XC90, I'm sure you would agree that if Lincoln could elevate themselves to the standard of excellence that Volvo has demonstrated, much of the concerns of their future would be a thing of the past. Hopefully Lincoln's reintroduction of the Continental name plate will be a sign of good things to come. But if in a few years time it turns out that Hyundai, with their new Genesis luxury line, is doing better then Lincoln, then truly a very sad day is upon us!
4-8-2016


Finally got to see this week's AAH, and have some comments.



On Cadillac, finally good sales growth in China. Not segment leading, but good, so the news isn't all bad. However, with pricing released for next years CT6, I see the same problem that has plagued Cadillac since at least the '80s — their pricing shows they fundamentally misunderstand the luxury market. For all their ambitions, they do not price critical models as if they are real luxury competitors, and for luxury goods, MSRP works completely differently than it does for most products. Luxury goods are judged by price, and higher is better. Put buyers in two similar cars, one labeled with a $70,000 MSRP and the other with a $50,000 MSRP, and they'll almost universally say the $70,000 car is better. Swap the MSRPs and get another group and they'll again say the $70,000 car was better. In fact studies have shown people genuinely get more pleasure out of a product if they simply think it costs more. So when Cadillac releases the price for the new, S-Class size CT6, and the base model is just $55,000, when a base 2015 S-Class is over $95,000, then everyone is immediately going to think "Oh, it's only half as good". Even if they test drive the Cadillac they'll come away disappointed, simply because the low price undermines its intrinsic value. When even a CLA-Class can easily cost over $50,000 with options, too many buyers won't even look at an "el-cheapo" CT6 once they've seen the price. GM needs to understand that price determines how customers perceive the quality of their vehicles, not dynamics, not materials, not workmanship, not features, not JD Power quality surveys (VW ranks poorly, yet customers still value them highly for quality, partly because they paid more). While they're at it, quit comparing the midsize Equinox and Terrain with compact crossovers like the Escape and RAV4. Come on, it's as big as the Highlander, and buyers know it as soon as they walk up to one. Why do they think customers wanted them to be wider? (Hello, it's because they were comparing them to wider, midsize crossovers, not compacts.)



I can only assume dealers don't want to lose that Deville/DTS/XTS volume, but it's literally killing Cadillac's image, and that's why the ATS and CTS will never sell as well as they should. If you want an advantage you can be cheaper, but you at least have to be in the ball-park or you won't be taken seriously, no matter how good your product really is, and I'm sorry, but Cadillac's pricing says "this is not as good as it looks", not "here, you have the best there is". Whoever said they need to make the Buick Avenir (please call it an Electra though) GM's town car model, had it spot on. They should have added $20,000 to the price of every CT6, and started the Buick at around $55,000. 



So I'm afraid we have another decade of disappointing Cadillac sales to look forward to before they even can fix the pricing. Like Audi, I think they'll have to change the naming yet again just to get people to think they are not the same cheap-ass Cadillacs (call on Cadillac's heritage and call the large sedan the Series 60 if they do get the pricing right next time). Building great cars is not enough, building the right great cars is not enough. They have to have the pricing to show people, yeah, this is a real luxury car, not something your 17 year old neighbor hired for the prom.



As for diesels, I think GM and BMW need to take the gloves off and place some aggressive ads, extolling the virtues of the Cruze and BMW engines, with either oblique or direct references to VW to acknowledge consumers' concerns. "We used [such and such] to ensure our diesel had great power and was good for the environment. Apparently some people couldn't be bothered."



Andrew Charles
4-8-2016


Hi John,
 
I was thinking about the future of self driving cars in the world and I had two thoughts I wanted to share with you.
 
Will this be the last automobile I will own and drive?
 
If I buy a car today and hold on to the car for the average of ~11.5 years as the data suggests, will this be the last car that I buy and drive?  If you like driving, is this the time to buy the performance car that you want, versus a compromise? In 10 years, we will probably be in the transition period of autonomous cars and that most likely will be option to get, if not the only option.
 
The end of the Horsepower Wars II?
 
As you know the muscle car wars ended in the early 70s because of oil and emissions. My thought is that will the current horsepower wars that we are living in today, going to end when autonomous cars are introduced and accepted?
 
Thanks,
Rob 
Many people are going to decide it’s cheaper for them to car share or ride share instead of owning or leasing a car. But some of us, and probably you, love owning our own machines. Just because autonomous cars will be available in 10 years doesn’t mean non-autonomous cars are going away. You and I will enjoy driving cars for the rest of our lives. And a lot of us will still enjoy driving high-performance machines.
4-8-2016


Hi John



Just wanted to point out some of the issues I would have liked to have to mentioned on "Selling the Big Rigs."



1 - Lack of drivers - The US/CA marketplace is facing a massive shortfall in drivers (so is Europe). This is driving telematics, the driverless truck project that Mercedes did with Truckliner and also automating how trucks are driven (automatic transmissions, cameras everywhere etc). Anything to make it less complex in how to drive a truck, operate it daily and cut operating costs while boosting or maintaining reliability is garnering interest. Trucks are actually employing some very advanced driving aids like Sat-based cruise control where the Satellite tells the truck how fast, what gear to be in based on the roads terrain, traffic and what weight the truck is carrying. Nothing like that on cars (yet). 



2 - Better fuel economy - with less drivers there is pressure on wages and offering better working conditions so there is less room for cutting truck costs (apart from buying your competitors) so fuel economy is still the biggest truck cost after labour especially as traffic jams get worse. It would be interesting to discuss the recent "supertruck" project that was done with all the big rig makers and the US Gov. As far as I can tell, this was one of the most advanced projects done globally and was far ahead of any research being done in the Europe or Asia. 



3 - VW owns two big rig makers -  Scania (was Saab Scania) and MAN. They had hoped to combine the two and benefit from the "synergies" but it didn't work out. Now that VW needs to raise cash, they might sell one marque off and I am sure GM or Ford would be interested. Europe truck makers have still got some advanced skills in diesel engines (and some sneaky tech also) and they also had to meet advanced emission regulations in 2014/15 so a lot of work was already done. They also understand the commercial market for heavy duty trucks and rugged trucks which must be almost absent from Ford and GM by now.



4 Cab over truck- European big rigs are characterised by having the cab over the engine and in North America - the engine is out front like a passenger car. However while that design has almost disappeared in NA, there might still be a comeback as the Euro design fits into tighter spaces in Urban areas and as cities in the US get ever higher density there might be some demand for this shape. Anything that boosts fuel economy while avoiding very advanced unproven tech could garner interest. 



5 European silent Trucks -  most of the research around this is based on "light" trucks and the ever more stringent city laws on cutting noise pollution in Europe. This is less of an issue in the US where streets are wider and fewer people live next to an interstate. However what is happening is hybrid tech coming where the truck operates on electric power in city traffic and urban deliveries and then as a standard engine outside inner city limits. This is mostly being driven by city authorities who operate late night services (bus/trash collection/road maintenance) and those firms who deliver into urban areas (fedex, retail shop delivery). There are usually rules on late night deliveries regarding noise to avoid waking everyone up. 



Stephen



PS Don't see any reason why Autoline could not cover commercial transport without needing to do any reviews of trucks (and you'd need a truck license anyway!) However you might be able to cover the light trucks (Ford Transit etc) which drive like cars anyway.
Stephen,

Great feedback! We love hearing from our viewers with solid insights and constructive suggestions.

All the best,
John McElroy
4-8-2016


John, doesn’t Audi need to bag its slogan of “Truth in engineering” considering all that’s happened?

Ken
Ken,

Most automakers typically change their slogans every couple of years and, you’re right, now it’s time for Audi to change. But Audi has to be careful. If it drops it right away it will attract even more media attention than keeping it.

Best,
John McElroy
4-8-2016


John,
    What is going on with Chrysler? A friend of mine took his 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan in for a routine service on July 13, 2015 and was told to park it, because it was unsafe to drive. The part in question was an ‘intermediate shaft’ part no 4809916AC. Although his part had not failed, he was told that the part was prone to failure and a new, stronger part was being designed. Now, after 4 months of running around, trying to locate this elusive part, he is being told that the new part won’t be available until at least the end of March, 2016! And his car is STILL sitting on the dealers lot, since it is still ‘unsafe’ to drive! They are asking him to give up his car for 9 months with no explanation and no compensation, offers of a discount or offers of a rental car! The car had one month left on the warranty when he parked it, but is out of warranty now. He tried locating the part himself and found that there are two parts that have that same part number! One of these two is available, but the one he needs (basically a bar with splines at both ends, in a bearing attached to a mounting bracket) is out of stock at every place he has searched on the Internet and at multiple Chrysler dealers. Chrysler Canada confirmed that the part is no longer available
but offered no explanation why. Chrysler said the problem affects only the option 4 litre engine. They won’t tell him what the failure details are, so he can’t determine for himself if the car is safe to drive. (He was thinking that if the failure mechanism was known, he could weld on a brace to strengthen it)

Can you help? If this car is that unsafe to drive, why has a recall notice not been sent out? If it is safe to drive, why won’t they give his car back to him? It is hasn’t failed in 5 years and 120,000 miles, it should be safe to drive at least around town! 
 
Thanks
Kevin Anderson
 
PS The dealer offered him 1000 US$ for the car as a trade in against a high-end new Dodge Caravan. When he asked why the trade in was so low, they repeated that the car was not ‘driveable’, even though there are no broken parts and he drove it to the dealership originally! 
Kevin,

First off, your friend needs to march right back to the dealership and demand a free loaner until his (her?) car is properly repaired. If the dealer tries to brush him off, demand to be put in contact with a Chrysler zone manager. If you don’t get a satisfactory response it would be a smart idea to contact a lawyer and send a strong letter to the dealer demanding immediate action, or that you’ll pursue further legal action. That letter will cost a couple of hundred dollars but it’s well worth it. Next, you need to contact the Canadian equivalent of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and file a complaint at their website, look to see if others have done so, and determine what the agency knows about this defect and what it’s doing. Finally, your friend should start searching Chrysler-owner blogs and websites and connecting with other people who have suffered from the same problem. Reach out to them, there is strength in numbers!

And after all that, keep me posted. I would like to learn how this unfolds.

Sincerely,
John McElroy
4-8-2016


John:

No matter how messed up the world is, we can always count on the Pirelli Calendar to be a stunning work of art - something to look forward to. 

Some joker killed that this year - who wants to see high-resolution, glossy photos of Yoko Ono???  Or Amy Schumer??? Patti Smith???  Why is the Pirelli calendar now a celebration of old, wrinkled, unattractive and chubby women?

Uggghhhh
4-8-2016


I really like the new Autoline Daily graphics.  This show keeps me up to date on automotive news, trends, monthly sales, recalls, etc.  While I always thought that John was the man that brought me this news in the best way, I have to say that Sean is carrying on with that tradition as he hosts the majority of the shows now.  Keep it up and all the best.


Mike Dearborn
Mike,

Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts on Autoline Daily. We truly appreciate them.

McElroy
4-8-2016


Hi John & Sean,
 
Hooray and Congratulations on your new interface design! This designer’s eyes and heart are swooning.
 
Del Coates
Del,

Sorry for the slow response, but thanks for your feedback. Coming from a designer that means a lot to us.

McElroy
4-8-2016


Keep up the great work.  Enjoy your daily and weekly shows every day and every week.  Thanks,

Car Nut 007
4-8-2016


Hi,
 
I was listening to the latest AAH on my commute home this evening and very much enjoyed the show, including the segment on the Panhard.  In one of those amazing cosmic coincidences, I was watching a Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube this evening and much to my surprise, he featured three Panhards in this episode.  I’ve provided the link if you are interested in seeing it and haven’t seen it before.
 
On another note, I very much enjoyed your AAH episodes where you had on Mat Hargett from Acura and the Vishnu Jayamohan from Nissan.  I considered both cars very seriously and ended up with the Acura TLX.  I was curious to know how both are selling as I don’t see a lot of either on the road.
 
Regards,
 
Jeff Taylor
Jeff,

Thanks for the heads up about the Panhard in Leno’s garage. We hadn’t seen that.

As for sales of the cars you mentioned. The Acura TLX sales are up 267% for the year. Clearly, that’s off a very low base. But even for the last three months they’re up 35%, which is much stronger than the rest of the market.

The new Nissan Maxima has only recently gone on sale. Sales were up 13% in October which is pretty good. But for the full year with the old model sales were off 28%.

Thanks for your interest in Autoline!

John McElroy
4-8-2016


John:
  This morning I was listening to a pod cast from the “Radio Le Mans” group just before the Shanghai World Endurance race and it hit me that the two biggest LMP1 competitors are Audi and Porsche. Both in the VAG group and going hammer and tong against each other in LMP1. This is not a cheap endeavor, I’ve wondered before if building an engine for or acquiring an F1 team would be cheaper. But “diesel gate” and the billions of Euros that will/have vaporized will put an end to one if not both of the world endurance programs. A couple of years ago Peugeot pulled the plug on their LMP1 program literally overnight…might this be the same outcome for the VAG programs. Both Audi and Porsche have customer racing programs in GTC/GTE/GT3 and those make money for the brands…but expensive WEC factory programs might fall to the way side.
 
Just a thought…
 
Thank you for your shows and pod casts they are a staple of my life…
 
Rick Glesner
Rick,

Thanks for your insights. I think you’re on to something. The LMP1 season probably costs both Audi and Porsche somewhere in $400 million range. Let’s see how much the cheating scandal costs VW AG, but it’s entirely possible that these racing programs may have to be sacrificed.

Best,
John McElroy
3-24-2016


Hello Autoline,

I was thinking to myself that the FIAT pickup is a dead ringer to the Mitsu L200, and turns out, it is a rebadge :)... That having been said, did FCA forge a JV with Mitsu for that project, do you know :)?

Best, 
Elyas
3-24-2016


Hi,

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion but would like to suggest many 'gear heads' do not understand the NOx health hazards. Perhaps you can get someone from the EPA and a respiratory specialist or physician on a future discussion. These NOx compounds are normally invisible but my understanding is the form some pretty toxic compounds that do the injury and killing.

For example, are VW NOx levels similar to 'second hand smoke'?

Thanks,
Bob Wilson
3-24-2016


Sirs,

Very interesting show on Panhard. Your guest Ken Nelson mentioned a car history book at the start of the show by David Bear (?) - is there any way I could find out the title of this book?

Also further in this episode you touched on the VW affair and Bob Lutz article on Piech - although a lot of press coverage has been given to Winterkorn, there is surprisingly hardly any mention given to Piech in this whole matter. Looking at the timeline of the situation, it should be obvious to anyone that Piech must have known about this as well. Considering the power struggle that went on a few months ago, one wonders if this wasn't a convenient way for Piech to exit the spotlight before the storm. I think this story deserves some more investigation from this angle - perhaps an idea for a future show?

Kind regards,
A. Mauricides
Athens, Greece
3-24-2016


Is there a chance that Volkswagen could exit the U.S. market over this scandal?

And Csaba Csere mentioned that the German state of Lower Saxony owns a substantial portion of VW's stock...what did the German government know and when did they know it?

Thanks for a stellar show!

Yours,
Damon Romano.
3-24-2016


I just watch your show regarding VW diesel scandal.
In your conversation, you said no other auto manufacture came up with any official inquiry about VW Diesel engine emission.
According to Japanese news sources, Toyota made an official claim against VW emission issue with high performance to European Commission in 2013 but the European official did not take up this issue so seriously then.

Best regards,
J. Matsumoto
3-24-2016


John, the next time you have a show/panel/segment focused on body panels and light-weighting -- whether carbon fiber, fiberglass, aluminum, specialty steel, or just plain ole rolled steel, I wish somebody would devote a couple of minutes to the history of the "thinning" of stamped automotive body panel steel over the last many decades.
 
I'm no expert on the subject, but here are what I  b-e-l-I-e-v-e  to have been a few milestones:
 
End of the age of brass thru WWII -- while steel-making processes and uniformity may have improved, I believe body panel thicknesses remained virtually the same from the Model T era right thru the immediate post-WWII production of vehicles in basically pre-WWII designs
 
1949 -- with the introduction of their new post-WWII models, and with on-going shortages of steel to meet industrial/consumer demand, GM & Ford (at least) thinned body steel
 
Early 1960s -- as a cost savings, and as a result of the earliest "improved" specialty rolled steels, body panels were thinned again -- including throughout unibody models such as from American Motors and on the Corvair
 
1976 -- Detroit's Big-4 introduced their first models designed in or after the first 1970s oil crisis (1973), and GM (at least) thinned panel steel again
 
Post-second 1970s oil crisis (1979), and with new pollution controls, CAFE standards, environmentalism, conservation, and searches for non-fossil-fuel alternatives energy sources -- I've kinda lost track in all the chatter about materials and materials sciences whether or not the basic American rolled steel stamped auto body panel has remained the same thickness, or whether there have been additional thinnings here and there.
 
Don't think I'd be the only person to find the true history and information to be of interest.
 
Pete
3-24-2016


Gentlemen,

Just saw the reveal of the new Opel Astra with its "floating roof" styling.   Thought it was a nice looking car.

In at least two articles I read, it was assumed that this car will soon carry a Buick badge in the US market, and perhaps elsewhere. Not a surprise, given GM's recent product development strategy for Buick and Opel.

GM has stated that Buick's mission in the US market is to be a near-luxury brand, targeting the likes of Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, etc., while Cadillac goes after premium luxury targets BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

My question is, how can Buick accomplish its mission when it continues getting re-badged Opels, which are NOT near-luxury vehicles?  They are fine for competing with Ford and Chrysler, but they fall short of really challenging Lexus and the other near luxury brands.

Thanks for producing a great show and always lining up such interesting guests!

GM Veteran
3-24-2016


John, 
 
The biggest reason the auto industry moves so fast (at least compared to government/military) ought to be obvious to any sentient being: CAPITALISM! Capitalism’s four hallmarks are: 1) Free & Open Markets, 2) Rule of Law, 3) Private Property Rights, and 4) Individual Liberty.
 
Under those hallmarks you have COMPETITION!!! If Toyota does x,y & z to improve their new Camry, what do you think Ford is going to do with their next Fusion and how is NISSAN going to react with its next Altima?
 
Capitalism always seeks the highest returns which means you HAVE TO INNOVATE; Government is a monopoly, it loves the Status Quo - just go to DMV - it hasn’t changed in 30 years - same surly government workers who act like they’re doing you some kind of favor and you ought to be damned thankful they move with any speed at all!
 
My greatest pet peeve is why aren’t ALL business people shouting out the wonders of CAPITALISM? Oh yea, like government, most of them don’t like competition either. After all, competition makes your work hard and fast!
 
vincent a. joy
3-24-2016


I just read questions about the government mandating E15 Ethanol and wondered:  How can government agencies mandate higher fuel economy and at the same time mandate a lower economy with E15?  When E10 was introduced, the fuel economy of my minivan dropped by 10%.  It is not less polluting either.  Does it not matter that the agencies work at cross purposes?
 
Rwork
Welcome to the wonderful world of politics and regulatory proceedings! On one hand Congress tasked the EPA with developing fuel economy standards. On the other hand, Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard which stipulates how much ethanol must be used in the US, and that pretty much comes out to E15.

But one correction, ethanol does burn cleaner. The EPA mandated the use of oxygenates in gasoline several decades ago, and the only thing that meets that mandate in the necessary quantities is ethanol. Most US cities could not meet Clean Air standards if not for oxygenated gasoline.

Probably no government in the history of human endeavor ever had different agencies coordinating their actions. It doesn’t bother them in the least to work at cross purposes.
3-24-2016


I think the reason that the Tesla model that CR review was better than the regular cars is because Tesla knew that CR was going to review the car, because of Tesla sales model they can purposely build the car for CR since they know for which customer they are building the car for. This is why in the franchise system everybody get the same car, the same service, the same fix, imagine if VW knew which car was going to the government testing, they had to hack only one car and nobody will ever notice. 
 
Thank John, a have watch the show daily for many years from Puerto Rico, I will like one day the pleasure to interview you in Puerto Rico.

Ariel
3-24-2016


Hi John,
 
I was LMAO when you and the guys were chatting about a car's autonomy mode fails.
 
I can just imagine facing the back seat people and hear the car's computer say.. 'Autonomy failure, vehicle will return to manual mode in 15 seconds, 10 seconds.. autonomy mode restored, autonomy mode failure in 3, in 2 autonomy restored thank you.'
 
I can just imagine going to a car dealership.. and the first thing I would do is put the car in 'Autonomy' mode and have the car drive me home or some specific location.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
2-19-2016


Hi John,
 
I saw your show on PBS yesterday (Sunday) and right afterwards had seen that your Autoline Daily had a Lincoln referance, so I added a comment to that show. As much as I and so many others want to see Lincoln go head-to-head with the top three luxury vehicle manufacturers, much as Cadillac has, I applaud the way they have decided to stick to their strengths and stay true to who and what they are. While BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and others bill themselves as the makers of sport/luxury or luxury/sport vehicles, save for the Lincoln LS 6/8 of a few years ago, Lincoln's have for the most part built vehicles that were elegant and powerful! 
 
With China now being a big part of their business decisions, it would seem that mantra is going to easily fit into that culture. As I have read, many of the rich and influential like/want to be driven around in Elegant and Powerful vehicles. And while many here in the US like the thought of driving a luxury four door sports cars with a big V8 under the hood, the majority end up piloting a midsize luxury vehicle, with a V6 and in some cases now a 4 cylinder!
 
More than anything else, I just want to see Lincoln get it right! Whether it the is styling, designing, engineering and over all performance of their vehicles, JUST GET IT RIGHT! Okay, so you (can't?) won't compete directly with those big boys, fine! Just give us a REAL luxury company we can get behind and vehicles we will not be shamed to get in (or at the very least not feel like we've settled)!! Perhaps Lincoln will provide vehicles with a more sporting nature in their "Black Label" line? Can the next Navigator not be just another boxy version of the Expedition? What about an SUV/CUV four door coup built off of the Explorer mechanics, to fit between MKX and the Navigator? And can Lincoln STOP using Ecoboost in describing their fuel efficient engines?!
 
John I apologize for using up so much of your time. Until next time.

WMB
2-19-2016


I still hear a lot about VW having to add SCR to the EA189 diesel engines to meet emission standards. Michael Horn's testimony to congress didn't help that idea. However that testimony was full of factual errors. For one thing the 2015 MY introduced the EA288 diesel to the US, which is not supposed to have the defeat device installed, so why would it need to be fixed? For another VW's EA189 has passed the emissions standard without SCR, so SCR shouldn't be required to meet the emission standard. For that a software patch would be all that's necessary to ensure the compliant sans-SCR emission control system is actually running on the road. Another misconception is that all EA288 engines use SCR. They don't. VW still only offers a few cars with both the EA288 and SCR (Touran, Tiguan), and  for the European Passat (not the same as the US/Chinese Passat) SCR is an option for half the diesels offered. The benefit to the buyer? The SCR version may have the same official power and torque levels, but the 150 PS engine with SCR uses 3.9 L/100 km instead of 4.3 L /100 km without SCR, and the 120 PS with SCR uses 3.7 L/100 km instead of at least 4.1–4.2 L/100 km without. That's about 10% less fuel if you're willing to pay extra for the SCR versions. Only on the thirstier high output and awd Passat versions is SCR standard in Europe.



So, why is VW talking about hardware changes possibly being required on EA189 engines, and even having to add SCR? Those figures for the current European Passat (with the same 150 PS engine as 2015 US models), and Consumer Report's recent tests of older Jetta models with and without the defeat device active should provide the answer — without SCR VW's diesels may be able to meet emission standards, but owners will see a noticeable drop in real fuel economy, and that may cost VW enough to make the expense of retrofitting SCR worth the trouble. We'll have to wait and see whether they can or will actually do it.



Andrew Charles
A slight correction, the 150PS without SCR also uses 4.1–4.2 L/ 100 km, not 4.3 L.
Great info, we haven’t seen this anywhere else. Thanks for sending.
2-19-2016


John:
 
Just want to let you know that I really enjoy your weekly AAH shows. The real treat for me is the open discussion after the guest has left and the frank opinions and wide areas of interest covered. This week’s show with the Roush people was exciting from end to end. I am going to look at a 2016 Roush Mustang in addition to the Corvette I’ve been considering. I enjoy Gary’s statistics and viewpoints, I find myself agreeing with him most of all.
 
Keep up the good work.
 
Michael Gelven
AKA WineGeek
Michael,

Thanks much for the great feedback, much appreciated!

John McElroy
2-19-2016


John, in reference to the VW emissions cheating scandal, I’m wondering why no one has talked about the individual States (i.e. IN, MO, TX, others) emissions tests that have passed since 2009 to include the vehicles that pollute up to 40% above the allowed limit? One might include them in the liability. Jeff S.
The states don’t have the kind of emissions testing equipment needed to uncover cheating as sophisticated as VW’s. But those states are already preparing their legal suits against VW. You’ll hear more about that effort soon enough.
2-19-2016


John McElroy,
This particular segment of Autoline was one of the most informative, interesting half hours of television extant today!
You surpassed your usual quality interviews with a look to the far edge of the foreseeable future in the conversation with the Johnson Controls Vice President, Mary Ann Wright. With people of her grasp, reach and vision, American participation in the future of mankind's technological advance is assured.
Warmly,
Beall McCue
2-19-2016


John,

I find this part of your article very interesting, about Toyota saying it....

"...needs a financial instrument that will allow it to fund long-term investments that won’t pay off for years."

Toyota posted record profits of $17.9 billion for their fiscal 2014 year, and $18.1 billion in net income for the fiscal year ending this past Spring.

Between those 2 years alone, Toyota does not have enough capital to fund long term investments? If Toyota can't do it with almost $40 billion, how can they with someone else's money? Is this an indication of a bigger problem at Toyota?

Steve
2-19-2016


Hi John,
 
Reading the 2016 Cadillac CT6 Order Guide, the CT6 is not as light as I had thought as the PDF document says 4,385 lbs for the 3.0L V6 Twin-Turbo with AWD and AWS which would make it only about 200 lbs lighter than a BMW 7-series with V8 which makes you wonder whether Cadillac shouldn't have use the LF4 as the CT6's top engine.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
2-19-2016


John,
 
I see Dyson bought Satki3, and that Dr Sastry is still in charge. Good move. 
 
Do you have any info on the suitability of solid state batteries for automotive applications; charge rates, longevity, thermal management, etc?
 
Thanks, Tim Beaumont 
We do not have that info. Sakti3 is now in the process of productionizing its battery and has not supplied any batteries to automakers.
2-19-2016


Arjel here, been a long fan: 
 
So, this is something serious and I hope you answer my question. My friend Lindsey was driving a 2009 Chevy Malibu around Pensacola when suddenly her side curtain airbags deploy out of nowhere. Not the wheel air bag but her side curtain airbag. Do you think there is a link with this to the Takata recalls because I never heard side curtain airbag accidentally deploying, only front air bags.
 
This happened on 10/19/2015 around Pensacola FL 
 
Question does she have a case with Takata? And if she does, what is the first step to take to get action/compensation?
We have not heard about anything like this, and while we don’t know if these are Takata airbags, your friend needs to contact General Motors immediately.
 
She needs to also file a complaint with NHTSA.
 
Let us know how it goes.
2-19-2016


Hi John,
 
I was watching AAH #197 with Mike Siegrist, Assistant Chief Engineer of the Chevy Cruze Diesel and I've got to think the entire team is rolling on the floor laughing at VW's scandal because everyone had thought VW was so creative and innovative to be capable of building a clean and efficient diesel engine without the need or urea injection; but the sad fact is that VW cheated and will need to actually consider retrofitting urea injection as possibly one of the ways to get to the US EPA standards.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
2-19-2016


I have been waiting for companies to get serious about hacking. Should they concentrate on the nav system for an entry point? Hackers need a way in. Without the infotainment system they should not be able to get in.

Neil
Neil,

There are several different ways to hack into a car, not just through the infotainment center. Here’s a link to an article we published on www.Autoline.tv that enumerates the different ways.

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autoline.tv