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6-14-2017


...what do I know.

I liked your balanced commentary.

God bless Ford, and God bless the United States of America


ps:  'drive train' is not an insult, just not his definition.
6-14-2017


Mr. McElroy,
 
   I do not think i am giving away secrets here. I work at Roush and know of the Autonomous Vehicle Program. Hearing you again on the radio, I am still not sold on this technology.
 
   I may be over thinking this but, how does this technology compare to human vision? My point of reference on this has to do with rural areas and especially areas prone to snow. We have have areas where the road is dry but up ahead you see an icy/snowy patch. A human would take action but how does the car react? How is an Autonomous Vehicle going to free itself from being stuck in snow? I see this as great for the sunnier climates but not we where live.
 
   I maybe over thinking this for now as this technology is in its infancy. I am just a consumer asking the questions I hope the developers are asking themselves.
 
Sincerely.
 
Andrew Mooney
Andrew,

AVs will have vision far superior to any human. They will use radar, sonar, lidar and video cameras. They will be able to see a deer running through the woods long before it jumps onto the road in front of a car. With vehicle to vehicle communication they will literally be able to “see” around corners and through buildings. They will automatically hit the brakes if someone is running a red light in front of you.

They will have advanced warning (from other cars) of ice patches and slow down before getting to them. They will be programmed to rock back and forth to get out of a snow bank or automatically call a tow truck if they can’t get out. The developers are using AI to teach autonomous vehicles how to learn to drive in almost any situation.

It’s understandable that people are skeptical of this technology because so few people have actually ridden in an AV. The reason is that they are still under development. But in another 4 or 5 years you’ll probably get a chance to experience this technology first hand.
6-14-2017


Dear John & Gary,
 
I wanted to write in to thank both of you plus everyone who collaborates on Autoline.  I have not missed Autoline Daily or Autoline After Hours since discovering the website a number of years ago (please feel free to share with your advertisers).  In fact Autoline and Blue Jays baseball are the only scheduled entertainment I regularly watch, so thank you once again for getting me through the long Canadian winters.   
 
I am writing in response to Autoline After Hours #378 and Ford’s termination of CEO Mark Fields.  As a former employee of Franklin Templeton Investments and current employee of Sun Life Global Investments I have had the privilege of having exposure to some of the most talented portfolio managers and analysts that work in the investment community.  The auto industry is always ignored and usually for good reason seeing as how the industry is highly capital intensive, cyclical and in the case of the Big 3 mismanaged for decades.  I can only recall two instances where auto OEM’s have been areas of interest; Toyota after the unintended acceleration issue and tsunami rocked the company in 2011 and more recently with Tesla surpassing Ford and GM in market cap. 
 
Having also recently read American Icon, Overhaul, Once Upon a Car and The Toyota Way, I can’t help from concluding that Ford may be reverting to a dangerous and seemingly shortsighted strategy of attempting to appease Wall St.  The automotive industry seemingly sits in an unwanted asset class that for the most part does not interest investors.  As a whole automotive is ignored by more defensive “value” investors that prefer stability, brand loyalty and low manufacturing costs associated with sectors such as consumer staples; think Proctor & Gamble.  Alternatively “growth” investors want little to do with a capital-intensive mature industry when their capital can be easily deployed in the tech sector where comparatively little upfront investment is needed and growth can be exponential in theory.  As a result of the factors listed above and many others, auto valuations should lag the broader index and more attractive sectors such as tech. 
 
Hence the reason why auto OEM’s are trying to re-position themselves as mobility providers as opposed to auto manufacturers; to John’s point last week both GM and Ford seem to be on the cutting edge in terms of this transformation.  Unfortunately for Mark Fields, transformations of this magnitude take years and he seems to be a sacrificial lamb in this instance.  From an outsider’s perspective Ford is on the right track to transition to a mobility provider and unless Ford plans on drastically changing their strategy I see little to no net benefit to this management restructuring and layoff announcement. 
 
Day traders and some retail investment flows may react by this headline news causing a short-term movement in the stock price, however, institutional investors will not be swayed by the announcement and are more likely to view this as troublesome since it indicates there may be further structural issues at Ford.  More worrisome is that Ford’s actions reflect a dangerously short-term shareholder mindset that is pervasive in corporate (North) America. 
 
Both GM and Ford have been continuously improving their product portfolios since the financial crisis in 2008 and both companies have made tremendous strides in producing fleets of desirable cutting edge vehicles such as the Chevy Bolt (which I believe will be a sales disappointment simply because Chevy is on the badge).  Only if Ford and GM can navigate through the next downturn successfully will their stock prices reward their fiscal discipline and innovation they have displayed since 2008.  Let’s also not forget that companies raise funds in two ways: through issuing equity and raising debt.  Last I checked Ford’s credit rating was upgraded once again in February to Baa2 which indicates investor confidence that isn’t being reflected in the stock ticker. 
 
I hope the recent announcement doesn’t result in a major shift in Ford’s strategy; I would hate a see an FCA like focus simply on trucks.  The optimal strategy in any business model is to maintain diversification, which Ford appears to be doing with the current line up of cars, SUVs, trucks and with the push in to mobility services and autonomy.  In the investing community it is considered that the four most dangerous words are, “this time it’s different”, I would argue that those words could be applied to any industry as history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.  We all know a recession is coming at some point, I hope Ford’s announcement is a business decision based bettering the internal strength of the organization and not stock price manipulation.
 
Thanks – Dan
6-14-2017


As I recall, Mulally saved Ford the last time from Bill's social sensitivity.  Now, with all of Bill's new pet projects bringing down the bottom line again, his biggest asset is being blamed.
 
Get rid of Bill!  Let him just be a Ford figure head, like the queen.
 
r work
6-14-2017


I’m not sure I agree with Ford on letting Fields go. They had him going in multiple directions from the beginning.
I will say Ford has been extremely slow in bring out the US versions of the ECO Sport and Ranger. management may feel they are missing the market.


Michael
6-14-2017


Hi John,



I can clearly see the advantages of vehicle autonomy, especially in large urban areas where public transportation is available to augment the need.  However, for a suburban or rural area, I see some significant barriers to overcome.



As an example, performing a weekend warrior project, I realize I need materials from my local home center right away; the water is off in the house while the toilet is being fixed.  In the past, I jumped in my CUV and bought what was needed.  However, now I have embraced the car sharing concept and need to find transportation.  It could be a while before something becomes available and/or my vehicle arrives.  What a frustration!



How do the autonomy inventors see meeting this need?



Regards,



Doug Watson
Doug,

The vision for ride sharing is that you’d never wait more than 5 minutes to get a ride, even in any suburban area. That’s not going to happen overnight. But in another 10-15 years it could become quite common.
6-14-2017


John,
 
Just watched the show - Friday night Australian time - a great discussion and great to get a production worker's views. 
 
Definitely have Brian Pannebecker back on - perhaps in the lead up to the 2018 elections. His name appears to be German in origin - like Trump's. I wonder if there is an angle there - Trump shaped by his ancestry in central Europe like many Americans in the northern states. His wife is fresh of the plane central European.
 
Thanks for discussing my second question in the show. As you asked it, the global industry will think about it, if they weren't already.
 
On Gary's point about brands - they are key as per your discussion of luxury brands. But I recollect people in Australia being concerned about the cars Ford and GM were importing into Australia from Asia factories. But, once we realised all their vehicles lived up to the brand quality no matter where they were made, we bought them in droves, and now no volume vehicles are assembled in Australia. Mercedes SUVs for the world are assembled in the US, we don't care they are not German made.
 
As with Foxconn assembled phones, we won't care who assembled the volume fleets. At the bespoke end of the market, the factory will still matter.
 
(((Ford has retained design, engineering and test centres in Melbourne to support manufacturing activities in the Asian time zone. But surely, also, to have these key activities in three different baskets around the globe for risk mitigation and idea generation. Also, Melbourne and Cologne are likely very comfortable cities for Michigan born and bred engineers and designers.)))
 
Regards
Peter Egan
6-14-2017


Hello John, 
 
Let me start straight off I love your show and never miss an episode. 
My question is ....is the US government hypocritical? I'm from winnipeg manitoba Canada so this is an outsiders point of view wanting to know your take. Trump pulls the USA out of the Paris accords, as I understand it was based on the USA curbing it's contribution to pollutants in the atmosphere and doing their part in emissions control. Yet...last year penalized volkswagen billions for emissions to the environment. 
 
Is this a case of do as I say.. not do as I do?
 
My thanks,
 
Bo Pohajdak 
Bo,

Trump’s reasons for pulling the US out of the Paris Accord are purely political, and most US citizens disagree with him.

VW was fined for deliberately breaking the law, repeatedly lying to investigators and trying to cover up what it did.

The Paris Accord addresses emissions that can lead to climate change, the EPA standards address emissions that are known to cause respiratory illnesses and cancer.
6-14-2017


Subject: The Downside of Electric Cars!
 
From an unknown source; you may want to research this.
 
I always wondered why we never saw a cost analysis on what it actually costs to operate an electric car. Now we know why.
 
At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, a BC Hydro executive. I asked him how that renewable thing was doing. He laughed, then got serious. If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, he pointed out, you had to face certain realities. For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service.
 
The average house is equipped with 100 amp service. On our small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than 3 houses with a single Tesla, each. For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.
 
This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles ... Our residential infrastructure cannot bear the load. So as our genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged to buy the damn things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive, new windmills and solar cells, but we will also have to renovate our entire delivery system! This latter "investment" will not be revealed until we're so far down this dead-end road that it will be presented with an oops and a shrug.
 
If you want to argue with a green person over cars that are eco-friendly, just read the following:
 
Note: If you ARE a green person, read it anyway. Enlightening.
 
Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors...and he writes...For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine. Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.
 
It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.
 
According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for electricity. I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $116 per kwh. 16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $010 per mile.
 
The gasoline powered car costs about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000........So the American Government wants loyal Americans not to do the math, but simply pay 3 times as much for a car, that costs more than 7 times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across the country.....
Somebody doesn’t know how to read their electric bill. No one in the world pays $116 per kwh. Ok, so this is probably a typo and what the author meant to say $1.16 per kwh. But even that is bogus.

In Michigan, where we are based, residential rates are $0.13 (thirteen cents) per kwh, including all taxes and fees, and that’s typical throughout the country. This highest rate in the US is in Hawaii at $0.37.

There’s a reason why this story is from an unknown source. It’s pure BS, or in today’s parlance: fake news.
6-14-2017


John,
 
I just got back from vacation. We drove a loop of the south east down to FL and back up to IN. We noticed heavy truck traffic. What I found curious was a overwhelming number of new or newer trailers being pulled be 90's to early 2000's tractors. It made me wonder if truckers have found it more cost effective to refurb/repair older tractors rather than by new ones. For what ever reason older tractors are on the road en mass.
 
David Sprowl
6-14-2017


John, I've either watched or listened to every After Hours since late 2009. Some 350 consecutive episodes, give or take. And all of them have been from the first minute to the last (and when I watched live, that included the little bit pre- and postshow). I applaud your show for being mostly apolitcal, except when the situation demands it (such as discussing emissions or safety regulations). But even then ... you, your cohosts, and your guests keep things based in fact and reason -not political partisanship. This guest broke that long running history.

I got through maybe half the discussion with the guest, then skipped ahead to the news portion. The exact moment was when he mentioned something along the lines of 'crooked Democrats like A, B, and Clinton'. It was at that point that I realized that he no longer had anything to say that I was willing to listen to. Until then, even though I disagree with keeping union benefits (including collective bargaining) without paying your dues, I was interested in hearing his perspective. But not after he made his hypocritical partisanship evident with that one remark.

Anyway, looking at your upcoming guest list, it seems like this show was an isolated blip not part of a more political trend. Hopefully it will be another 350ish episodes until I have to skip past a guest like this.

-Davin
6-14-2017


Interesting guest with a different point of view.  He certainly deserves credit for standing up to the UAW.

Alan
6-14-2017


Dear Autoline Daily,
 
Please help me figure out how this $7T in mobility services will materialize.  If we take the 3.17 Trillion miles driven in the US in 2016 and the IRS claim that in 2016 a vehicle costs $0.54/mile to operate, we get $1.7T in “mobility” spending in 2016.  That is less than ¼ of the $7T your sources are claiming.  I know I’m missing something in my back-of-the-envelope calculations, but am I really missing 75%?
 
Thanks, and I love the show!
 
Pete
Pete,

We’re talking on a global basis. And that’s where the 75% gap gets filled.

John McElroy
6-2-2017


Hello John,

I'm a long-time fan of your automotive reports.  You always seem to find something new or interesting in the industry - always a good listen.  



Today I'm writing to know a little more about the VW diesel scandal.  EVERYBODY has reported that VW did something wrong and should pay the price.  But what line of what FMVSS did VW actually violate?  I was just wondering if VW was clever, finding a legal but not ethical solution or if they just completely ignored a requirement of law. 



By the way, if there is no language that prohibits software from recognizing when a vehicle is being run on an EPA test and subsequently modifying its operation, then the government should bear part of the blame for this oversight, don't you think?



Retired automotive engineer,

Ken Shepard
Ken,

FMVSS refers to safety regulations, and in this case we’re talking about emissions regulations.

The US EPA has always tried to have lab tests mimic what’s happening out on the road. Volkswagen designed its software to recognize when a car was undergoing a lab test and have its emissions equipment work perfectly. Then, once it recognized it was no longer being tested, it spewed out very high levels of contaminants. That’s not just unethical, it’s against the law.

VW was very aware that it was breaking the law and did its utmost to mislead the agency. That’s why the Department of Justice got involved and why VW was hit with such high fines.

John McElroy
6-2-2017


Good day,
John, John… I’m sure the “think tanks” back when public transit came on the scene said the same thing. And with ALL the various ways to get around (taxi, Uber, bus, tram, light rail, subways, high speed rail) we STILL are buying cars. I live in Toronto. In the morning I have a lovely 30-40min commute for a distance of 64km (40mls)(I bought a great Chevy Cruze diesel for the great fuel economy, Chevy diesel plug), but in the evening a dreadful 2hr commute. And with ALL of the fore mentioned modes of transportation less high speed rail (of which has recently been brought up in parliament) there is still a large amount of people buying and driving cars here. Don’t get me wrong I agree that there will be some impact, but not to the extent of zero cars sold to individuals, dealerships ceasing to exist. I can speak for my self, I LOVE driving outside of my evening commute, the freedom to come and go as I please, listen to what I want on the radio, etc. Oh don’t forget shopping, be it groceries or large ticket items and vacation… Uber is not going to drive me to Ohio to visit family. Nah, auto industry as far as passenger vehicles are here to stay. They may have to re-invent themselves to cope, but not going extinct. I’m just saying. Great show!
 
Mr. Dana
6-2-2017


Hey John,
 
I disagree with the mindset that this mobility service model is best for most people.  There are many who have no use for such mobility services.  For example, I have a nephew and his wife who currently live in a 3rd floor apartment with their one young child.  The stroller lives in the back of their Ford Escape, the car seat is buckled in the back seat, and I’m sure a big diaper bag stays in the hatch much of the time.  Do you really think they want to haul all that stuff up and down three flights of stairs every single time they want to go anywhere? Plus they would have to get their daughter used to a different vehicle for every trip!  Finally his employment is unpredictable in location.  This year he commutes to a project about 50 miles from their apartment in his Chevy Cruze.  How much extra will they have to pay for super high-mileage use?
 
Add to this example:
1) My friend the architect with hard hat and measuring gear in his trunk. 
2) My friend the video producer with an Expedition full of camera gear. 
3) My friend the civil engineer with work boots, hard hat, and a perpetual change of abuse-resistant clothes in her trunk.
4) Our business with a trailer-towing F350.
5) A smoker.
 
Admittedly our son the college student would be very well served having a vehicle on demand instead of a car sitting in a parking lot behind his dorm.  I just don’t think that >70% of the population will switch to the mobility service model.  I‘d vote <30% if I had to pick a number.
 
Thank you for the thought-provoking segment!  I appreciate your show!
 
Pete van der Harst
Pete,

Superb observations. Thanks for sending this in.

John McElroy
6-2-2017


RE: RETHINKX

This is from a left wing manipulating think tank intent on de-car-ing the American public. Trump budget cuts EPA's budget by 30 some percent and DOT by 20 some, but deep state strikes back...
 
Is Bill Ford married? Are there any Henry III or Edsel II's coming up after him? I get the impression he isn't a 'car' guy. It looks like the priority shifted after Mulally and Fields couldn't do anything about it but try to keep things rolling. The vehicle lineup has had only facelifts while billions go to social trends. Are these trends to be forced on us? Who would have thought that the great product would be at GM?
 
Certainly, there is a lot of ground to cover in those vast 'red' areas of the country. Is that to be a 'nature reserve'?
 
r-work,  for something
6-2-2017


Who currently makes the largest displacement 4-cylinder engine?
Wow, never got asked that before! According to the Ward’s Auto database from 2013, which is the most recently available data, the largest I-4 in production for light vehicles is a Mitsubishi 3.2 L that goes in the Pajero. In North America the largest displacement I-4 is a 2.7 L that goes in the Highlander.
6-2-2017


John,
 
I watched you on Fox 2 News last night.  First of all, you are looking good: Between you and Tim Skubick, it is nice to see someone carrying on the tradition of good tailoring now that Brian Williams is out of the market.

Second, mighty impressive tap dancing around the issue of FCA's "undeclared" software modifications to the PCMs on its diesels.  "There's absolutely Noooooo truth to the rumor that this software was intended to skirt emission requirements; none at all.  It is simply an ugly rumor that FCA did what VW has already admitted to.  It is merely unfortunate timing for FCA.

And you did it with a straight face. A real professional car guy. Good show!
 
Clinton
Clinton,

Thanks for the compliments.

As for dancing around the FCA issue, it now goes to court. Let’s see what the judge says.

John McElroy
5-26-2017


Ok I need to get this question answered by all the automakers, maybe this can be your standard intro when interviewing:
 
Why must us consumers have to put up with headlight housing that turn milky white? Was this a ploy by the aftermarket segment to grab our dollars in buying kits to polish the plastic?
 
I get we need to have a low COD and hence us abandoning glass headlights, but can't we design something better? 
 
Really why hasn't this been brought by the CSPC or DOT or any of the agencies the regulated automotive safety.
 
I hope this gets some traction.
 
Thanks for the great show
 
Rory Sena
Rory,

The problem you cite was quite common on cars a decade ago. Today there are better coatings on headlamp housings that prevent UV degradation.

Cleaning up the headlamps is fairly easy. You can buy kits to do it yourself or pay your local garage to do it.
5-26-2017


But John you have to agree that this is not right that the onus is on us consumers to fix a design flaw since it does become a safety issue. When you say they have gotten better, from what years? I had a 2012 Toyota Prius that started UV degradation 2 years into owning it also you have to understand that we live in the desert southwest unlike where you are all from in the Mid-Atlantic Northeast states. UV attacks everything here just saltwater on the coast destroys metal.

I guess chemical tech has not figured out how to beat the old Sol.  

Thanks for the reply.

Also, thank you for reading my comment on Autoline Daily about the Kia Hybrid and diesels. 

Cheers

Rory
5-26-2017


Regarding the VP of Global Propulsion Systems for General Motors, Dan Nicholson's appearance on Autoline This Week and his remark about us living in a very rapidly changing world these days, I, myself; do not like this very rapidly changing world; and I refuse to accept this very rapidly changing world.
In every way, shape, and form; I still feel that the world around is exactly the same as it was during the 1970's, 1980's, early 1990's; and the mid 1990's.
5-26-2017


if I were in charge of the Product Planning at General Motors; I would order development of the resurrection of the Rear Wheel Drive, Frame on Body GM B-platform that was discontinued in 1996; for there to be a new Chevrolet Caprice, a new Buick Roadmaster, and a new Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham as part of this process; for this platform to have an LT1 V8 from the standard current-generation Corvette and the standard Camaro SS to be mated to a plug-in hybrid powertrain similar to that of the Volt. And these cars would be styled like the 1977-1990 generation of GM B-platform.
5-26-2017


Hi John,
 
I can imagine someone riding their Chevrolet Bolt to work and after he exits the Bolt, the Bolt drives off autonomously to begin it's ride-sharing as the owner of the car gets money which can be used to help pay off the cost of the Bolt and insurance; the Bolt has a 300+ mile range which means it can pick up and drive a number of people as it can be programmed to locate a recharging dock if it does not have the charge to drive back to it's owner and get home.
 
While recharging cycles does weaken the battery, if the Bolt's battery is like that of a notebook computer; topping off a charge does not count as a recharge cycle meaning a vehicle could be programmed to top off it's battery once a charge reaches a certain level.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
5-26-2017


Question:
With the coming of Wi-Fi connected cars , do you think local law enforcement officers will ever want to control a car that is driving erratically? Maybe pull a kill switch to stop the vehicle? This could reduce the number of accidents, maybe save lives.
Love your show and the daily updates on YouTube.
Cheers,
 
Bruce Thompson
Cars with communication services such as OnStar can already be disabled. There are quite a few stories of the police stopping car thieves and stopping other crimes thanks to OnStar. In another decade or so it’s likely that all new cars will have this disabling capability, especially fully autonomous cars.
5-26-2017


Hi John,
I was driving home from work (19 May) and the talk radio was full of
GM pulling out of the right hand drive markets of India and South Africa.
This led to speculation as to where cars would come from in Australia  
once manufacturing ceases. Opel has been sold to Peugeot Citroen.
I must admit it is a bit of a beat up but something GM needs to be aware of.
I know that the Chevy Equinox and GMC Arcadia are both being engineered
for right hand drive. It would be interesting to know what other product is
being engineered for right hand drive. Will it come from the USA, Mexico
or South Korea? Frankly GM's handling of the Australian market has been patchy
for years. (Nissan, Ford and Honda have also been guilty of this)
Maybe when you get guests on After Hours who are project managers for GM product lines
ask them the "are you engineering these vehicles for right hand drive?" question.
Great show, young Sean does an excellent job!
Regards Tom C Melbourne Australia
Tom,

Thanks so much for this suggestion. We will definitely start asking GM if it will continue to engineer cars for right hand steering.

Best,
John McElroy
5-26-2017


John, Sean, and others

I was kind of shocked by the number of people who seem to support Mexican workers being paid almost nothing, for assembling expensive cars. I feel the same, if workers make that little building Nissan Sentras. Something isn't right, as your linked article described with the corruption involving the non-functioning "unions."

Kit Gerhart
5-26-2017


John,
 
I know it been a while since we have had the chance to touch base but, had to reach out after watching this episode
 
Even though the dialogue was high level, the discussion points really on point.  Personally, I’ve been a proponent for hydrogen since the electrification debate began.  Knowing Joel Ewanick since his Hyundai days, seeing him launch FirstElement was a really encouraging sign that this fueling source had a chance.
 
Additionally, Bryan Pivovar’s explanation of how America could develop a closed loop energy system utilizing solar, wind combined with hydrogens storage capabilities was inspiring.  Now to your point, how do we get the government to recognize and support this technological and ecological opportunity shift?
 
Thanks for continuing the great work.  Hope to connect with you again soon.
 
All the best,
 
Steve Ernst
5-26-2017


Greetings,



I had the bad luck of tuning into your show this morning while the talking heads were spouting inanities. I was shocked. What planet do these people live on? I thought you had put a camera into a roomful of Trump advisors.



I'm afraid that I have become so sensitized to right-wing rhetorical BS, that I was forced to change channels before the talk on self-driving cars really got underway, because I was just so nauseated by the high spin factor. It was as if they had never even heard of global warming and the horrible price we are all going to pay by not dealing with this problem quickly and effectively, as Musk is attempting to do.



I can only imagine that these "Wall Street analysts" are in some way benefiting from the $25 million Charles & David Koch campaign to slander and put down electric cars. I presume they also think the government should continue spending 300 - 500% more than SpaceX charges to continue launching with government contractors rather than waste money on some young upstart company with no proven track record that keeps doing impossible things and proving "more experienced players" wrong.



First, Tesla filings show they are making excellent profit on the cars they make. Pre-tax profits have climbed from 22% last year to over 27% this year using GAAP. The reason they are not doling out huge dividends presently should be obvious even to the very thickest of Wall Street analysts, but was obviously beyond the ken of the gang hosted on your show. SpaceX is making 70% pre-tax margins on its launches, but that is a riskier business.



Tesla has been investing in the future, not resting on its desiccated and wilted laurels like the former big three. Tesla is building the Gigafactory. Without that, there would be no volume production of electric cars - something most other auto makers have failed to realize. Tesla is doubling the size of its Supercharger network this year, so all its customers can drive wherever they like without having to stop for hours to recharge. Tesla is ramping up service centers and stores.



Tesla also acquired Solar City recently and has created another, and probably very major profit center. Tesla is supplying Power Packs to utilities around the world. I'm very disappointed in the presentation that was aired on this show, and I don't believe I will watch again. Personally, I think Tesla has the potential to be one of the most valuable companies in the world.



Charles Riordon
Charles,
 
Thanks for you no-holds-barred feedback on that show!
 
But one correction to what you say. Tesla is not making a pre-tax profit and never has. Here is the link to Tesla’s latest financial report for Q1 2017. Scroll down to page 6 to the Condensed Statement of Consolidated Operations. Look down about 24 lines to where it says Loss Before Income Taxes. There you will see that Tesla reported is lost over $371 million before income taxes in the first three months of the year. You’ll also note that those losses are growing. You’ll also note that it lost money on Operations and posted a net loss as well.
 
Best,
John McElroy
5-26-2017


Hello John,

I hope I was not overly vehement. I have been railing against traditional automakers for some time. About 20 years ago, I swore I would never buy another American-made car. Then Elon Musk came along, and I was forced to re-examine my position and conclude that he was making a car I would really like to own, so I reserved a Model 3 the day after it was revealed. The Model S and X are lovely, but I refuse to spend that amount of money on a car, even the best car in the world (at least from a value perspective).

I stand corrected regarding the "profit". I was referring to the Gross Pre-Tax margin, which is significantly higher than that of most of its North American competitors. Tesla is spending a lot of money (potential profits) to ensure that the customer experience will be extraordinary, and to build a potentially huge energy revenue stream. Trying to apply traditional economic measurements to this type of company is almost futile. Wall Street has been struggling for some time to come to terms with the new economic reality. Many of the other manufacturers seem to think this is an anomaly, a blip that will fade when Trump repeals Obama's CAFE restrictions - they couldn't be more wrong, unless they were actually Trump.

The loss was reported because that's what the numbers show. What they don't show as clearly is the huge capital investments that will inevitably generate significant future income: the Gigafactory, with its eventual 35GW of battery cell production (and the announcement of 2-4 new Gigafactory startups this year and next); the doubling of Supercharger capacity (which nobody else has, BTW); all the R&D & tooling costs to bring the solar roof panels to market (another major revenue stream); the massive tooling and setup costs for a next-generation assembly line to produce the Model 3, and all the robot workers which will nominally permit an assembly line speed of over 3 feet per second (as opposed to the typical 3/4" per second typical in most automobile assembly plants. While pushing the envelope is not free, the delayed dividends are not typically an issue for Tesla investors with a more long-term outlook.

I repeat, despite the numerical loss of shareholder value, Tesla is not losing money: it is investing money that could shortsightedly be returned in dividends to the long-term detriment of the company, to make even more money. None of these projects is inconsequential, and all are disruptive to the more staid and traditional industries - few of which I would feel comfortable investing in, unless they show some alacrity in coming inline with the current needs of society and the world, rather than continuing to try to shove their outdated ideas of what automobiles they think the consumers should be driving, down metaphorical throats with hundreds of millions of dollars of expensive advertising.

On a positive note, the echo-chamber lambasting of Tesla's Q1 results is putting downward pressure on stock prices, so it may soon be time to buy again! The sooner the fossil fuel industry is relegated to the field of specialized industrial chemical producer rather than major fuel producer, the better. The propaganda war they have been waging against public interests over the past three decades or more is positively evil, and may spell the demise of the human race. No hyperbole necessary. The Yale study of April 7, pegging temp rise with a doubling of atmospheric CO2 at between 5.0 and 5.3 degrees C (9-9.5 degrees F), by simple arithmetic, puts at 2 degrees C of programmed warming

Charles Riordon
Charles,

Food for thought.

GM posted a $30 billion gross profit for 2016 (plus an operating profit and a net profit which includes spending $8.1 billion on R&D, $9 billion on capital expenditures, $4 billion on stock repurchasing and $2.2 billion on dividends). This does not mean that GM is worth investing in, but it puts the Tesla numbers in perspective.

Even if you don’t count Tesla’s investment in R&D and capital expenditures, it’s losing money on operations and its debt more than doubled in the last year.

If the venture capitalists ever decide to stop plugging Tesla’s cash gap the company will collapse. Fortunately for Tesla they are still willing to give the company money because it’s top line is growing so fast.

Also, regarding CO2 and electric cars. EVs are very energy intensive to manufacture. The batteries have to be baked in ovens at high temperatures for 6 weeks! There is only one battery recycling plant in the US (Retriev in PA) that can recycle lithium ion batteries, but it can’t do it in volume or at a profit. Does that mean all these batteries will ultimately end up in landfills?

The power electronics needed in EVs are also very energy intensive to manufacture and there are no recycling facilities for them. The Union of Concerned Scientists states that an EV with a range of 250 miles rolls off the assembly line with a carbon footprint 68% higher than a gasoline-engine car. Just because an EV does not have a tailpipe does not mean it’s a zero-emissions vehicle.

John McElroy
5-19-2017


My guess at what is really going on at the Corvette plant.

The recent leak of a new LT5 engine “ENGINE GAS CYL, 6.2L, SIDI, DOHC, VVT, ALUM, GM,”
 
“The Corvette plant will get a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop -- 200,000 square feet more than the current shop”
 
The new paint shop is only part of what they are doing. For 2019 model year the assembly line will start off as 1 line to create the mid-engine chassis and then split into 2 assembly lines. Line A will build a new Cadillac sports car.  Line B will build the Corvette. This line will be longer with more work stations and people working on it so the cars can be built cars faster than on the Cadillac line. So the reason they are closing tours for 18 months is they do not want people to see the new assembly line being built and anything that might say Cadillac.
To design, engineer, and develop a new DOHC engine is going to cost a lot of money. For a md-engine car you’re going to need new transaxle (dual clutch) or maybe 2 transaxles (auto and manual). Could Corvette justify and pay for this high cost driveline by itself? I don't think so. But if they could share the cost with Cadillac, then they could.
 
George Ricci
Great letter!
5-19-2017


John

That was a great historical show on GM fuel cell development.  Floyd and Charlie were priceless.

Regards

Chuck
5-19-2017


Hello, I just finished listening to last weeks AAH and the caller who said that gas prices here in Ontario were already at $5/gallon was wrong. 
 
First, that person must have confused US gallons and imperial gallons. 1 imperial gallon = 4.5L while a US gallon is 3.8L. Lots of us in Canada make that mistake. So at the $1.16/L that he was talking about, an Imperial gallon would cost a little over $5.20. But as Americans, you obviously think in US gallons. Which at that same price would be about $4.40.
 
But thats not all. Then there is the exchange rate, which has been hovering around 1 Canadian dollar equalling 73 cents US. Or to think of it another way: everything in Canada is 27% off to Americans.
 
So, that '$4.40/gal' is actually more like $3.20 if you were to hop the border. Still more than the average price in the US by about 50%. But its nowhere near the 2 to 3 times more that you mentioned in the show.
 
You were right that our gas is more expensive due to taxes and a lack of domestic refining. It would make a lot of sense for there to be a refinery setup out west to send gasoline to the rest of the country instead of sending our crude down to Texas & buying back the gasoline ... but thats a discussion for another time. On thing that we do get from our higher gasoline taxes is better roads, overall, than in the US. I've driven through Michigan, Ohio, and New York a fair bit on my way to states that are even farther afield. And a lot of the roads are just awful. Seems like a lot of them aught to have been repaved at least 5 years ago. And seeing all those bridges with plywood 'concrete catchers' under them isn't the most confidence inspiring either. Our roads here aren't perfect, but a lot of the worst ones get fixed up or replaced in a pretty timely manner, at least as far as I can tell.
 
One other side benefit of higher gas prices: by making mass transit more attractive, it pulls more cars off the roads making the act of driving (on our at least half-decent roads) all the more enjoyable.
 
Take care, and congrats on 20 years of Autoline. I've been watching/listening since a little before Round About started. Sometimes I miss that show, other times I wonder how it managed to last as long as it did.
 
-DG
Davin,

Great, great, great feedback. Thanks so much for sending this.

John McElroy
5-19-2017


Wow! I just finished watching your show # 2114- Fuel Cell technology and found it to be a fascinating topic. Maybe this topic could have been selected to a “one hour long sow?” Thank you, keep it up!
5-19-2017


Hey John,
Been watching your show for coming on 18yrs now. Watch it every chance I get, love the stories, love the people and love the info. I do miss the AUTO EXTREMIST and your dog.
 
You guys did mention at the end of a recent show the news involving the Packard Plant…

1. Packard Plant Redevelopment

2. Packard Plant Project Moving Forward

Thank you for the great show, the great info.
Mike from Delaware.
Mike,

Thanks for the great feedback, much appreciated. And thanks for the links to those stories.

John McElroy
5-19-2017


Hey John. I remember advertisements by oil companies saying that more wear and tear in an engine is done at engine startup than during normal operation. With more and more manufacturers putting stop/start technology in their vehicles, wouldn't that cause the engines to wear faster?



CNews123
Most engine wear comes from cold starts, after most the oil has dropped to the oil pan. A hot start does not cause that much wear. Most stop/start systems don’t engage until after the engine has reached operating temperature.
5-19-2017


John,
 
I would like to see an interview about how the Recovery Industry is and will plan to handle wrecked electric and hybrid vehicles. I remember when autos with hydraulic-backed bumpers were amputating fingers/hands and damaging the recovery workers knees back in the 70’s. Now they have to be concerned with electrocution from the electric power source.  I enjoy your programs.
 
 
Jim Adcock
5-19-2017


Good afternoon,
 
I haven't finished yesterday's Autoline After Hours, but had two topics perhaps for next week.  First, a comment during the Tesla earnings call could use your interpretation.  How big of a deal is this anecdote when considering manufacturing improvements?
 
Tesla’s flagship Model S and Model X have approximately 3 km of wiring within the vehicle, while Tesla’s highly anticipated Model 3 will have roughly half of that at 1.5km of wiring. Model Y on the other hand will only have 100m of wiring, a 95% reduction over Model 3.  
 
Second, the use of data as a revenue stream has been mentioned frequently.  Can you or any of your guests walk through a real example of how the data will be used, value, etc.?  Will the ads be placed in the car or gathered and sold to marketers who will place ads in other venues?  This topic seems to be a primary business driver but hasn't been fully defined yet.
 
Thanks,
Alan
Alan,

Two terrific suggestions. We will take you up on this!

John McElroy
5-19-2017


You started by speculating that the Corvette plant was being closed to tours because maybe the Corvette is going mid-engine.  You followed that with a discussion of hybrid supercars. It seems to me a real possibility is that the new Corvette could retain the front engine but add hybrid power.  That change would be sufficient to close the factory to tours.
 
Neil G
Neil,

The new ‘Vette could be a hybrid. But you wouldn’t need 18 months to retool the plant for that. That much of a shutdown implies something much bigger is on the way.
5-19-2017


Autoline After Hours has many times discussed the pros and cons of using hydrogen fuel cells to propel vehicles. Fueling infrastructure is one of the major limiting factors for the broad use of hydrogen. Also the amount of conversion energy required to separate hydrogen from water and natural gas as well as on board storage are often mentioned. An article in a recent SAE International newsletter presented a unique method for on demand hydrogen generation developed by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for use in aircraft.
 
Forget ICE and liquid or compressed gas fuels. Let’s move on to fuel cell electrics using activated aluminum powder and water as the fuel source. Imagine going to the dealer, maybe auto parts stores or big box stores for do-it yourselfers, to purchase the aluminum powder (in a reusable cartridge) and using your garden hose to fill your plastic water tank. Wow, would this be a traumatic change in the status quo of the automotive world as we know it or what.
 
This scenario may be one to consider for discussion during an upcoming broadcast.
5-9-2017


John,
I enjoyed the City of Tommorrow program but was waiting for an in-depth discussion about autonomy and Mass Transit. If I were a Gov't official looking at buses, trains, subway and such, I'd slam on the brakes as I think autonomous vehicles will rewrite the book. 
I'd take a bus to work if I could go to the park and ride lot and hop in a Waymo Pacifica that would only take 4 or 6 people and drop us within feet of our exact destination with no ghost stops along the way like conventional buses must do.
I'd love to hear this discussed in greater depth.
 
Peter Smith
Peter,

We’ve reported a lot on autonomy and will continue to do so in the future.

I completely agree that city transit officials may not want to invest too heavily in mass transit until this move to ride sharing becomes clearer. A bus in combination with an autonomous shuttle for “the final mile” could be a very compelling system.

John McElroy
5-9-2017


Love watching all the shows, found about them about 2 years ago



Anyway not sure how to add it to "you said it" but after watching autoline after hours with Buick Enclave wouldn't it be better for Buick or GM in one of there other trim lines like avenir only as a plug-in to make it easier to meet CAFE laws
Automakers lose money on plug-ins. They pretty much only offer them because the law requires them to do so. GM will sell as many plug-ins as it needs to. Until costs drop dramatically and until consumers buy them in mass quantities, automakers will not have much incentive to offer more plug-in models.
5-9-2017


John, on AAH# 375 when discussing autonomous cars and high speed.
The technology for multiple vehicles to travel at high speeds close together is one thing, however...the laws of physics still apply.
Autonomous vehicles are still at the mercy of tires, traction, road hazards and countless other variables.
It just seems that IF something goes wrong at high speeds, autonomous cars will still crash, especially when tightly grouped together.
  
Rob Michel 
All your points are spot on. Autonomous cars will not be perfect. That does not mean we should not adopt new technology or new ideas. We could also eliminate almost all traffic fatalities by strictly enforcing a national speed limit of 25 mph. But people will not accept that because we are ready to accept a certain amount of risk.
5-9-2017


Two questions for you, and they can be talked about if relevant to the show whenever.
First of all with all the Technologies in newer cars, how do you feel that this will affect the used  car market in a few years?
Do you think that buyers are going to want the possibility of paying to repair or the maintenance to keep the cars up, or will we see an uptick in
Certified pre owned  with extensive warranties and service contracts.
 
Second I know that the auto companies love loyalty to their brands, but how do you think they feel when someone loves their car so much it keeps them from buying a newer version sooner than later?
As an example I love my 2000 Impreza 2.5Rs and have had it since new with no plans to replace yet even with over 200,000 miles on it> is this a good thing for image or rather have bought 3 to 4 cars within that time frame?
 
Thanks again for a great show
Shawn Priest
Fairbanks Alaska
New technology has been pouring into cars in the last decade and it has not affected how people buy used cars. CPO sales are up, but that’s probably got more to do with better marketing than it does with consumers afraid of all the technology in used cars.

Automakers would always prefer to sell more cars. But they also appreciate owners who hold onto their cars because they love them, and who tell all their friends how good the car is. That is the best way to build a brand’s image.
5-9-2017


John,



Long time viewer.. with questions.



1.  GM proposes premium fuel? Do you think this will happen? How will this affect ethanol production?  This could also affect the school bus industry which is considering gasoline as an alternative to diesel.



2. You have referenced truck sales being down as an economic indicator. Could it be that the emission controls legislation caused a disruption to the truck buying cycle?  For example trucking companies pre purchased trucks before the 2007 & 2010 emission updates and this caused truck purchases to sync up. So now there is a purchasing cycle that is not economically driven.



Thanks

Dan Kobussen
Good questions.

High octane fuel will likely become the standard fuel in the next decade or so, since automakers say they need it to meet fuel economy and emission standards. This will definitely help production of ethanol, specifically cellulosic ethanol.

The school bus industry is also very interested in propane (LPG) because it’s so cheap and burns so clean.

My sources in the trucking industry say that the drop in Class 8 sales is just a cyclical downturn not related to new engines with more expensive emission controls.

John McElroy
5-9-2017


Hi John,
 
Can you imagine a day where Amazon has fleets of autonomous vans that deliver merchandise; when the van is 5 minutes from your delivery point, you get a phone call stating that your parcel is ready to be delivered, to press 1 if you're available to pick up or press 2 to pick up at a later time.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
5-9-2017


Next time y'all interview someone from GM, could you ask what's up with this?
 
I've visited GM dealers in the Jax Fl and Brunswick Ga area about 15 times in the last 18 months looking to see and feel either a diesel powered Colorado or Cruze. They never have them and even though they take my number, they never call me when one comes in.
 
On several shows, I continue to hear that the diesel hasn't been incredibly popular but to my point, "how can this really be judged when the dealers simply don't have them"?


If Toyota doesn't release a diesel version of either the Tundra or Tacoma this fall, I will consider ordering one if I ever stumble across one to test it out.


PS, all of my Motörhead friends really are bored with all of the autonomous vehicle chat. We doubt people really care about this as much as John does. And tell him to stop cutting guests off on his show when they chat about diesel stuff. He may hate diesels but we don't and would love to hear their comments as it more represents a greater part of the population. Just my 2 cents. Thanks,

Tom Brouillette
5-9-2017


Love your show and watch daily and weekly all that you produce.  Wanted to say I was not expecting much with todays episode of Autoline After hours but Don Tocco was fabulous.  Really well spoken and just very interesting person to hear from.  Thanks for thinking outside the box and bringing him on.  He was truly fascinating and so great to listen to.  Good questions from you all as well.  Keep up the good work and thanks as always.



Bill Eichenberger

Auto Enthusiast Extraordinaire.
Bill,

We’re glad you liked the show. We were wondering how the audience would react to having a guest who is not a car designer, engineer or executive. But we figured Don Tocco would be interesting enough to carry the show, and he sure did!

John McElroy
5-9-2017


John
 
Last evening I was watching TV and saw what I think may be a newer version of the awful Volvo ads. The ad showed a man sitting in an office switch to a garage and this guy is  then putting a bike on a roof rack on a Volvo . The next scene is the car a Volvo driving out of the garage without the bike or a roof rack. Switch again to another scene and the roof rack is back on the car with a bike on it and they are driving down a road. That’s it no real mention of what the car is or why you should buy it. Just a white line of text on the screen saying Volvo.
 
John, what happened to selling to car telling the viewer about how safe a Volvo is, what a great car it is, anything! These lifestyle ads don’t say anything. I can easily understand why Volvo sales are in the hopper.
 
Michael Gelven
5-9-2017


John,
 
I know it been a while since we have had the chance to touch base but, had to reach out after watching this episode
 
Even though the dialogue was high level, the discussion points really on point.  Personally, I’ve been a proponent for hydrogen since the electrification debate began.  Knowing Joel Ewanick since his Hyundai days, seeing him launch FirstElement was a really encouraging sign that this fueling source had a chance.
 
Additionally, Bryan Pivovar’s explanation of how America could develop a closed loop energy system utilizing solar, wind combined with hydrogens storage capabilities was inspiring.  Now to your point, how do we get the government to recognize and support this technological and ecological opportunity shift?
 
Thanks for continuing the great work.  Hope to connect with you again soon.
 
All the best,
 
Steve
5-9-2017


Just watched your show on tooling problem. The Chrysler guy said they pay 12.50 an hour to start. That's why they have this problem. That is not a living wage for a skilled position even to start. The basic skill level for that type of job demands 20.00 an hour to start . Ask how much those guys make on that show. Top down economics.
4-24-2017


Hi John,
 
    I would like to know how many Auto Manufacturers are offering "Standard Shift" and in what models. It seems that "Stick" is going the way of the Dinosaur.
 
Thank You,Dale
What you’re asking for would take several hours of research. Send us a check and we’d be happy to do it!

What we can tell you is that last year 501,230 manual transmissions were sold in cars and trucks in the U.S., which represented 2.8% of all transmissions.
4-24-2017


John and Gary,
 
As industry insiders, you obviously care about the auto industry and its base in metropolitan Detroit.
  
I write from a country with the opposite problem to the US and Detroit in particular - people are leaving rural areas and small cities of Australia for our 4 largest cities - its all about access to public and private services - our mobility is crap so people move to where it matters less. Another factor may be that our state governments are in the largest city in their state.
 
Detroit/Wayne County is still losing people. One property developer is doing a lot to revive downtown Detroit, but it will suffer until its mobility issues (in the widest context) are much improved.
 
Outer metropolitan Detroit is still growing. The product of the auto city/auto state made it possible to live a very suburban life in neighbourhoods with "people like us". Detroit city was allowed to go bust by the State Govt. 
 
If Michigan is to continue long term with its out-sized role in auto/mobility industry, it needs to be able to show off a city where all the main mobility technologies are available, and are attracting people to live there. 
 
New York is about the only US city where the city centre is a sought after place to live and work. Yet for most of the developed and developing world, city centres are the sought after places to live. 
 
"Detroit" was the name around which the US auto industry was organised. It is a name known to the world as a result. That the name is disowned at home from a political perspective hurts the industry.
 
The Detroit Three and local major suppliers need to pressure the state govt to come up with an integrated Detroit metropolitan strategy that allows the city centre, along with a number of regional centres, in the metro area to thrive. 
 
It would help to have a "Detroit Metropolitan Planning Authority", rather than a "South East Michigan Planning Authority".  There is nothing that shouts more loudly that I hate the biggest city in my state than government refusing to use its name. This hatred rubs off on visitors and the economy.
 
Philadelphia has the same problem. Among other things, its transit authority is called the South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). My cousin, who is a university lecturer there, says it is very destructive to the morale of the city.
 
Regards
Peter Egan
4-24-2017


Hi John, you know what grinds my gears in automotive design is the fact that manufactures re-badge and sell it to different markets. Like take the example of a Opel Insignia as a Buick and the new Chevy Volt as Buick Velite in china. I get so mad that the Opel Insignia is not Opel's design language. I know there is cost saving. But those companies need to separate what is Opel design versus a Buick design and etc. 
 
I feel bad for the Opel designers ( in this example). who cannot think and design what Opel stands for and just copying it from Buick. Just sad
 
That's just my 2 cents. 
What you think of it?
 
Thanks
Abhi from Canada.
4-24-2017


on Oliver Schmidt  
 
I had thought that he was cooperating with US, and even
let US know that he was coming to US?
 
thanks
 
mike
Yes, Schmidt alerted authorities that he was coming to the US. They arrested him and still have him imprisoned saying he is a flight risk. Another reason may be that they’ll use him as a bargaining chip with VW.
4-24-2017


Dear John,
 
I love Autoline and am an avid follower. I have a question that maybe you can answer. I know that there have been tests of seat backs in vehicles that fail in an impact causing them to fall into the back seat. If an infant carrier is there. the infant could be severely injured or killed. I believe that there have been instants where infants have been killed. Have seat manufacturers addressed and fixed this issue? Should there be a recall of vehicles that have defective seat backs?
 
Love your show! Keep up the good work.
 
Bobby
All automakers have to meet crash standards for seat backs. They are tested at 30 mph. Consumer Reports has developed a new test that occurs as 35 mph. But if an accident is severe enough, meaning if a car gets hit at high speed, the seat backs could break. Some safety experts say the standards are not tough enough.
4-24-2017


When I heard the Lincoln gentleman speak of the horizontal, horizon defining description of elegance, I said YES!
 
It's getting back to those 'timeless' visual sensibilities.  It was also kind of funny hearing this after the description of the 'fierce' Infinity grand SUV.
 
But, these things go in cycles of course, but Lincoln is tapping into the yearning of many.
 
r work
4-24-2017


Subject: automotive technicians and poor pay for the knowledge

HI guys
  I don't get to catch much TV but I like this insider program . I have always wanted to bring up the poor pay in the field for the amount of schooling ( that never stops ) and how much our bodies get beat up over our life. The "quick buck" dealers constantly try to find ways to reduce book time and so on.
 Most of the smarter people I know left or are in the process of leaving and what we are left with are poor working part changers but all anyone wants is speed and a quick buck.
 This field wont keep a quality work force with 50 to 80k a year pay when people in the cpu industry make the same or more and don't have to invest 30k+ in tools !
 I would like to know your thoughts on this and while some people will counter this I find they never did it for a living but something has to change because the old grease monkey won't cut it anymore!
 
Thanks for the great show
Tony 
Tony,

You make a great point. Asking techs to buy their own tools is like asking teachers to buy their own supplies and materials.-
4-24-2017


Hey Ford Motor- Shame on you- How dare you ( Ford Motor Co.) insult me with the blah blah blah about your Police Responder Hybrid Sedan being a "pursuit rated " vehicle., I read all of the propaganda and found NO information about how fast it will go, and for how long. Other manufacturers offerings are approaching 140 mph. Although very rarely needed it is welcomed! Speed is a welcomed intimidation  weapon in an officers' arsenal. Maybe a more correct term should be "mop" up vehicle vs. pursuit rated vehicle.. Youngblood ( Retired from the field of law) C'town OH
4-24-2017


John
 
Have you seen the 2018 Sienna snout? Oh I’m sorry I meant the new Philips Electric Razor.
 
jd
Shaves without a cord!
4-24-2017


Hey, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Nikola Motor Company. I went to the site and the truck looks interesting and might be able to save operating cost. They are building a hydrogen network through the Ryder system, not convenient but a start.
I think that Nikola has a technically intriguing idea, but it seems to be a very expensive system. It is a battery-electric Class 8 semi with a giant 320 kwh battery pack that uses a fuel cell as a range extender. Batteries are expensive, and fuel cells are expensive, so this will be one very expensive truck.

Nikola faces a technical challenge and a business challenge. Now it’s up to Nikola’s management to overcome those challenges.

John McElroy
4-24-2017


Hi John



The 2018 Outback looks like a mid-cycle refresh not an entirely new model. Am I correct in this thought?



Thanks I love your shows!





Michael
Michael,

You are absolutely correct. The new Outback represents a mid-cycle refresh.

John McElroy
4-7-2017


John - We were told we would see the Pacifica Hybrid in 4th qtr 2016,  Journalist drove them in Nov.  Chrysler wrapped their building with flying pigs in Nov.  Production started in Dec.  Customers could place orders mid Dec.  By Feb many were being build, but now they are just sitting at the plant and Chrysler won’t ship them.  (Mine was built 2/13 and has been sitting in storage for 6 weeks)  Many of us that have ordered these and have the build sheets are very frustrated at Chrysler for no info on why they won’t ship.  With all your connections is there any way you can find out what’s going on?  Chrysler is going to blow this launch if they don’t start shipping soon.
Check out the Pacifica forum to see the frustration building.



Any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Been a fan for years and love the work you do for all us “enthusiast of the automotive industry”.



Thanks,



Tony
Tony,

You’ve definitely uncovered a launch problem with the Pacifica plug-in. It took me a while to get FCA to put out a statement, but here it is:

“As with all launches, but particularly in the case of this technically advanced vehicle, we are taking great care to ensure that the Pacifica Hybrid comes off the line with the highest quality possible. We will only introduce a vehicle when we are fully satisfied the vehicle meets or exceeds customer expectations.

We have been ramping up the build at the Windsor Assembly Plant, and full retail production will now begin on Friday, April 7. Vehicles will start shipping to dealers on Monday, April 17.”

The fact that they took your order months ago indicates that whatever the glitch is caught them by surprise. I’ve driven the plug-in Pacifica and was astonished at how good it is. Hopefully they’ve got all the bugs ironed out.

John McElroy
4-7-2017


After Hours #368:



Pieter Hogeveen said that the new Alfa is aware of the poor perceptions Alfa had in the past and that they
already working to avoid repeating that unfortunate history.  They are working to assure a better experience f
or today’s newer [and less jaded ] buyers.



I loved the GTV and the Duettos when they were new [and I was much younger].  I did not, however
put any mechanic’s children through college by way of keeping Spica duel injection  alive.



Mr. Hogeveen's claims that the old perceptions of Alfa will be swept away by new favorable experiences
[presumably with more reliable, better engineered and assembled cars, and good dealer service] appear somewhat optomistic.  To be taken not with a grain [65mg], but a kilogram [1000mg] of salt.



Like the crush of a disappointing romance [take your pick:  female, auto, motorcycle, airplane], the
omens do not auger well for the Alfa.



I swear that Marchionne fellow is a Jonah.



When I hear a story about a fault ridden Alfa Giulia from a car guy by the name of Mike Monticello.  [You will remember his byline from Road and Track], I shudder.



On a different note:



John, you said something like the Ridgeline was the truck for non truck-guys last week, yet I seem to
remember these words escaping your mouth when it was introduced:  "I love it !”



Perhaps even a truck guy can love a truck built for non truck guys.



Best,



mike
4-7-2017


Just wanted you to know that I enjoy the show. Great perspective.



I met Mr. McElroy many years ago when he gave a presentation in Santa Fe for the world executives of Webasto Sunroofs, which was part of the Magna group at the time.



Thanks for the informative presentation!



Bob Jacobs
4-7-2017


Yes, I do agree that America used to be the best tool & die makers.  Well, we used to be the best industry manufacturers too, but that's a bigger issue.
 
My father worked at Packard Motor Car Compay for 20 years (1936 to 1956).  Once this auto giant collapsed he went to work for Don Prior, Inc. an experimental gear machining group in Oak Park, MI.(Meyers & Capitol).  He did a variety of gear tool processes and eventually became their main Q/A inspector.  However, the company folded in the early 1990's.  WHY?  Because Detroit Auto, the Big-3, were offshoring this work to cheaper European and possibly Asian operations.
 
I say one has to lay blame to the current offshoring process that American businessmen have dumped onto the once capable American skill trades.  You're seeing it accelerate to blue collar manufacturing and even white collar engineering, using the two-fer from China, India or Russia to replace higher but better qualified American engineers.  I mean go to Cleveland, OH, once a capital of machine shop tool industry, and see the destitution.
 
The problem here in the USA is the ambitious and destructive American businessman.  Business is business is their going motto and they can get away with economic murder with it.  Making personal wealth for the Ford family is more important than making an economic viable and thriving tool & die industry.
 
So I don't believe the American tool & die industry will come back.  For one, we don't even make the machines that make the things, like we use to do.  I think maybe Bridgeport Milling Machines may still be around.  And look at GM selling off all that tooling to foreign buyers when the Ypsilanti Hydra-Matic transmission plant closed doors.  Again, another auto management decision to use cheaper slave labor from the "Global Economy", which Detroit does not seem to be part of anymore.
 
I'm seeing a raping of America ability over the past few decades.  We used to do the work and it was abandoned by those Harvard MBA Genius types who strolled into Detroit to make their fortunes at the cost of destroying Detroit's economy.  And it did through cost reduction methods (see Ford).  Detroit City didn't go bankrupt because black men were in political control.  It started with with the offshoring of local quality work by Big-3 managements.
 
I have 45 years of Detroit Auto experience and have done a large amount of innovative work for Ford, GM and Chrysler plus many of their suppliers.  I know and see the truth of what is happening from in the inside.  And its just very disturbing to those Americans who want to advance skilled trades and science engineering.  Slave labor rules and runs this process anymore.  Ask anyone with a fancy MBA what their objective is.
 
But nobody tells our story of struggle and abandonment.  We don't have a Sales and Marketing group to feed advertising money.

Al
Al,

I completely agree with everything you say here. The Big Three only have themselves to blame for offshoring so much tool & die work. I remember talking to some tool & die companies from Ohio about a decade ago who were very bitter about this. In fact, one of them said, “God bless Honda because they believe in local tooling sources and they’re the only ones keeping us alive right now.” They hated the Big Three.

The good news is GM, Ford and FCA finally got the wakeup call. They along with Toyota and Honda are dead serious about reviving the US tool industry. In fact, we just shot one of my Autoline television programs all about this which will be on our website on April 13 and can be seen on Detroit Public Television on April 16.

It’ll take years to turn this around but you’ve got to start sometime. You’ll be hearing more about this effort.

John
3-29-2017


Hello Autoline - love the show. I moved out to California to work for Tesla and I have been tuning in more and more to get your take on the industry. You guys are pretty fair to Tesla. I hope someday they can be allowed to sell in Michigan.



Here's a suggestion: I would love to see Peter de Lorenzo of the auto extremist blog.



Also, to give feedback on your live recordings, I off course never take in the show via live format.



Thanks and keep up the good work!



John
John,

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. We hope the state of Michigan wakes up and allows Tesla sell to all the people who want to buy them.

Did you see Peter DeLorenzo in the Autoline This Week episode?

Best,
John McElroy

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