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4-2-2014

John,

Great guest last night-Ralph Gilles. He is smart, articulate .........& creative.

Don Bronn
Owensboro, KY
Yep, Ralph is A+.

McElroy
4-2-2014

Hi John,

Each year, around this time, everyone gripes about road repairs (or the lack thereof). Even the media gets on the bandwagon demanding better funding for (timely) road repairs.

However, there's one factor that I see being left completely out of the discussion. Unfortunately, it's one that will take someone without 'skin' in the game to address and bring to light in a substantive way. Quality of materials and methods.

My eyes were first opened to this a couple years back while listening to a call-in discussion on a local sports radio talk show. It was this time of year again, and the annual, universal 'pothole gripe' session was in full swing. A caller who had over a decade of experience building and repairing roads in multiple states gave about an 8 minute lesson on WHY it is the roads in Michigan crumble so badly and so fast versus other Northern states that get just as much snow and who also use salt to melt it. He even gave a quick example of what it is he saw consistently being used as a concrete mixture on EVERY road project he did in Michigan that would NEVER be allowed in another state like Chicago.

He said it all boiled down to road contractors being allowed (and even encouraged) by the political structure in Michigan to use inferior materials and methods. According to him, there are kickbacks in place that legislators receive from road construction contractors for each job done. The frequency of the jobs directly impacts how many/much kickbacks legislators get. Thus the never-ending incentive to NOT use superior concrete and asphalt mixtures and methods.

I only bring this up with you, because you are in a position to get the discussion started in the public forum. If any of what this guy said is true (and I really have no reason to believe it is not, because it seems to make perfect sense. Especially when you travel to other Northern states and find roads fairing much better than ours), then change will be hard to come by. There will have to be investigations launched and (more) corruption exposed. There will be push-back and denial from the state level. But before any legitimate investigative committee is formed on this, a ground-swell of discussion over frustration with the status quo will first have to lead the charge.

Would you be willing to at least do a little digging and see what you come up with? And, perhaps, begin a dialog about this issue that affects every Michigan driver? You are a very influential personality concerning all things automotive, and I honestly believe you could do a lot to shine some light on this topic. Even without any sort of substantiated evidence for or against the claim, just posing a question that no one else has can go a long way in getting people thinking, talking, researching and acting.

Best Regards,
Michael J. Brown
Michael,

I’ve looked into this issue going back 20 years ago. It’s very simple. Michigan spends $1 billion less EVERY YEAR on maintaining its roads than any other surrounding Great Lake states do. It’s not our weather, it’s not even those super heavy trucks (though they don’t help). In the last 20 years Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin have each spent $20 billion more than Michigan has on its roads. Twenty billion! Each!

For years MDOT has been publicly warning our legislators that the day would come when our band-aid approach to road maintenance would no longer work and that our roads and bridges would start to fall apart. That day has arrived. MDOT will be the first to tell you it can’t afford to properly repair roads, and it’s been saying this for years. I’ve never heard of the kick-back to legislators and don’t believe it.

The governor announced three years ago that he wanted the legislature to raise $1.4 billion more for our roads. They turned him down. Nobody wants to raise the gasoline tax or registration fees. The problem is, even if they decide to go ahead and raise the money (and now that the public is screaming bloody murder they probably will), it’s going to take 20 years of doing things right before we finally get our roads looking as good as any of the surrounding states.

Here’s a link to a show we did with Kirk Steudle, the head of MDOT. We cover a lot of those issues in this show.

Best,
John McElroy
4-2-2014

John,

I am stunned at the absence of Dan Akerson's name in all the GM recall news. How can the Chairman and CEO for the last four years vanish so completely from accountability so fast??

Peter
That’s because we don’t know what the facts are yet. Was he aware of this impending recall when he decided to hand the CEO position over to Mary Barra? Or was top management the last to know? GM is supposed to provide answers to NHTSA on April 3. We should learn a lot more then.

McElroy
4-2-2014

In the Autoline After Hours episode from 20 Mar. 2014, one topic that was brought up was "using gasoline in a diesel engine" or HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition).

Mazda is currently developing this technology for their second generation of SkyActiv engines. According to details reported online, the engines will have a 18:1 compression ratio. Also, Mazda already has the technology working; however, it does not yet work at all engine speeds and loads. The reports state that Mazda is using a dual ignition system (HCCI and spark ignition) to make it work through all operating ranges. It appears the current challenge is making the transition between HCCI & spark ignition seamless.

Mazda has some great technology, and I certainly like to see it discussed more on your show.

Thanks,

Greg Dunn
Houston, TX
Greg,

Great info, thanks for sending. A lot of automakers are working on compression ignition using gasoline. Hyundai has recently talked about this. GM has also talked about HCCI in the past, and we have a great segment on our website with Chris Grundler from the EPA talking about their HCCI efforts.

McElroy
4-2-2014

John,

Although the PT Cruiser is not the best car in the world, it is the ancient mechanicals that let it down.

Everyone I know who had one (me included) liked the look of the car. Given that Chrysler now has the Fiat 500L platform to work with, do you think there is any chance of the PT Cruiser coming back?

Kevin Anderson
Satisfied PT owner
Kevin,

I like the PT, too. The packaging was top notch. And I always wanted to get the diesel version that was sold in Europe.

But automakers never go back to the same (styling) well twice. The PT had its day in the sun, and I don’t see Chrysler ever going with that look again.

McElroy
4-2-2014

Mr. McElroy,

Today’s show dealt with GM and Toyota recalls. Bob Lutz was there, too. Very good!

By the way, is it possible that GM planned to throw Mary Barra under the bus with this issue? It makes one scratch the head.

pj SARASOTA
Yes, I listened to the Diane Rehm show online and I agree it was pretty good.

You’re not the first to suggest the old boy network knew this recall fiasco was coming and threw Mary under the bus. I don’t believe in that kind of conspiracy. But it is entirely possible that Dan Akerson decided to get out of GM before it all hit the fan.

McElroy
4-2-2014

John,

My favorite Dodge dealership used to sell 1-2 Viper's per year. They are a small dealership, but have a few customers that can afford a Halo car. Recently since the spin-off of SRT. Corporate is restricting who can sell SRT and Viper. Dealers must now qualify and then pay a pricey yearly (franchise) fee in order to sell the Viper. With such a small number of sales/production to begin with. Restricting the number of already downsized dealerships who can sell the car, is what really is hurting their bottom line.

Bradley G.
Kouts, IN
4-2-2014

Hi John,

About the backing cameras, look at what Volkswagen is doing on some of their models, the camera's lens is hidden under the VW logo so it is all ways clean and it doesn’t interfere with the look of the car. It work's when the car is put in reverse. The VW logo is also used to open the trunk so the logo has 3 functions: 1. to show the make of the car 2. it hides the back up camera 3. it is a handle to open the trunk Das auto.....

Christian Duclos
Christian,

Thanks for sharing this. Also, the Hyundai Veloster hides the camera lens behind the badge on the rear of the car. When you put the car in Reverse it tilts to reveal the lens.

McElroy
4-2-2014

The camera in my Kia Sorento blinds me at night. It's in the rear view mirror and is WAY TOO BRIGHT at night.

Other than that, it and the sensors are great at least in Texas.

Mike R

RIP- Mr 500. STP's Andy Granatelli from racing fans everywhere.
4-2-2014

Hey John,

It surprises me that whenever we have problems with Venezuela or Russia nobody calls for a boycott of Citgo or Lukoil. I maybe wrong but I believe; Citgo = Venezuelan oil & Lukoil = Russian oil.

We live in a country where special interest groups constantly perform vicious boycotts and protests of sponsors products if they appear on media outlets they don't agree with politically...

Done,

The Mayor
Annapolis, MD
3-19-2014

Hey John,

Now that the government is telling us they are out of GM stock;

1) Is this true - are they completely done with GM?

2) Has anyone reported what the total cost/loss turned out to be?

Thanks!

Your Pal,

The Mayor
Annapolis, Maryland
Mr. Mayor,

Yes, the US government is completely out of General Motors. Various reports peg the loss to taxpayers at around $10 billion.

McElroy
3-19-2014

John,

GM lawsuit - Greedy lawyers. How much will the damn lawyers get? Parasites! Contingency fees have no place in a just system. I despise them...

Tim Beaumont
I don’t despise lawyers or call them parasites, but I do agree that the greatest tort reform would be the elimination of contingency fees. They just encourage exorbitant claims and frivolous lawsuits.

McElroy
3-19-2014

John,

Any truth in Volvo leaving the U.S market. Wouldn't want to have another car that has vanished.

Vic
There is no truth to any rumor of Volvo leaving the US market, which is still the most profitable market for any luxury brand.

McElroy
3-19-2014

John,

With all the tech coming into cars I really wonder what that will do to residual values. In 10-15 years current infotainment will be obsolete, you'll have huge chunk of useless dash space. Imagine a 1990's car with "star tac" cell phone technology. It wouldn't be upgradeable..... you'd have to replace everything electronic which would probably cost more than the car!

Wondering what your thoughts are...

Larry
Larry,

Good point. With the rate of change in technology, much of what’s new in today’s cars will be obsolete in the future. But that’s in the future. For right now, cars without the latest technology, especially Bluetooth, have lower residual values than the cars that have the latest tech.

And consumers cite the latest technology as a reason to buy a new car instead of a used one.

McElroy
3-19-2014

On After Hours, you introduced (to me) the A3, 'for the American market.’ The rear corner view and the rear seat picture looks very much like the VW Jetta with the same space allocations. However, as you said, the A3 will be manufactured in Austria with presumably higher standards than the Jetta.

Another new model seems to pick up some early generation cues. That is, the new 200 suggests a relationship with the first gen Cirrus, a very nice design and space layout. I get the impression that the new 200 does not share in those generous interior specs.

I don't get GM's delays and confusion about recall notices. With my only new car, a Honda, they have been organized and prompt with their notices, EXCEPT when the egr valve failed. Mine failed outside of the warranty coverage.

rwork
3-19-2014

Re: aluminum @ Ford. Is there such a thing as an aluminum tailored blank ?

Regards,
DonRobot
Donrobot,

Excellent question. I actually had to look it up, and yes, there are tailored aluminum blanks. TWB and Novellis are developing them for the automotive industry.

Thanks for asking!

McElroy
3-19-2014

John, wanted to say I remember traveling with a friend years ago during our Michigan winters and he lowered his window and stuck his hand out to tap his wiper to loosen the ice. Well he cracked his windshield! I'm sure these wipers will not tap hard enough to do that, but.... seriously? This is an answer to a question no one asked!!

Amado
Saginaw, MI
Amado,

I like this invention that slaps the wipers against the windshield. I’ve had to reach out the window while driving and do it myself several times this winter when the wiper blades iced up. And it’s happened to me on several different makes of cars. It all depends on the weather conditions.

I’ve been doing this for decades and never cracked the windshield, and I’ve never heard of it getting cracked doing this.

McElroy
3-19-2014

Do you see in the near future large trucking fleets converting to CNG as an energy source? How will the situation in Ukraine and Russia affect the natural gas supply? Will Propane come out as the ultimate alternative fuel choice? Any of your industry knowledge will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Blaid Butler
The conversion of the US commercial truck fleet to CNG and LPG is already underway. Do a search on the Autoline website and you’ll see all the stories we have covering it. The Russia/Ukraine situation may affect the world supply of natural gas, but not the US supply, which continues to grow strongly. However, the US government could decide to export more natural gas to Europe, to make it less dependent on Russia.

It’s difficult to predict if propane (LPG) will emerge as the major alternative fuel in the US. There are more oil companies and big investors getting into natural gas (CNG), so it currently has the edge.

McElroy
3-19-2014

John,

I whole-heartily agree with your take on back-up cameras. My 2007 Dodge is fitted with a high-end aftermarket stereo/nav/back-up camera system and from May through October here in Wisconsin is great! My 8” screen shows a perfect picture and is helpful. But come bad weather, snow, salt and the resulting road grime, and it’s all but useless unless you get your car washed after every trip.

Love the camera, but non-visual warning systems that beep and give an audible idea of how close you’re getting to something is superior – at least in cold and snowy Wisconsin. BTY, a simple back-up into a snow bank took my camera out completely.

Thanks,

Mark B.
Wisconsin
Mark,

Thanks for the feedback, it corroborates what we’ve been saying.

McElroy
3-14-2014

Why do automakers think we want to pay for yet *another* data plan with our cars? People with cell phones and tablets are already paying for plans that are better deals than we'll ever get from the carmakers. And they should stop working on their terrible "infotainment" systems. Just make basic controls and have connections like Apple's CarPlay (that lets your phone take over the in-car screen) and the Android equivalent. Phone software is updated more frequently, and the automaker's clunky systems are already years behind anyway.

Jack
3-14-2014

John,

I was about to test drive the Buick Regal. Not now after the ignition switch duplicity...

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
3-14-2014

Well, Ol’ Boy, maybe you got the top! No worries, it happens to all of us.

It was with no small chagrin I witnessed your Damascene conversion last week: Tesla and the Promised Land. Yes, there IS more to it… and Tesla will be around a lot longer than anybody in Detroit would've given them credit for but battery “farms” ain't gonna be what does it for 'rm. Yeah, you greatly extend the life and probably almost double the efficiency by running utilities at their sweet spot, 24/7 but that concept, electricity banking has been around for a long, long time: It's called water. Here in Los Angeles we “bank” it every night, pumping water back up the Tehachapi and “let it flow” daytime, as demand spikes. That's before all the clever “salt basins” in operation now for storing juice in heat form… not so efficient, but cheap and, when you're a utility, who's counting. Enjoy the ride… just not the stock.

Sam Farnsworth
3-14-2014

John,

I saw the social media edition newscast that was held recently.

The Ford/Mercury Peeling Paint Facebook site provides details on Ford owners experiencing paint issues with current vehicles.

Ford/Mercury Peeling Paint Facebook Site

These are new vehicles, not old ones. The paint problems persist.

Social Media does enable a forum for owners to voice issues.

Regards,
Stephen N. Gaiski
Stephen,

Thanks for the website link. Very interesting posts about problems with Ford paint. We hadn’t seen this website before.

McElroy
3-14-2014

Hi Guys,

I'm not in the US, I'm down here in New Zealand, I was just thinking about the recent news you have been reporting and was wondering if there was a link to the recent jump in SUV, CUV and Subaru sales verses a large drop in hybrids given the recent very cold weather up there.

I don't think there are any 4x4 pure hybrids available but if there are, do they follow the same recent trend? Is the cold weather hurting the real range of hybrids so owners and making the decision to change back to conventional drivetrains?

Is this same trend happening in the warmer states that are unaffected by the polar blast?

Just a thought.

Cheers,
Philip
Philip,

So far there are two AWD hybrids in the US market, the Subaru Crosstrek XV and the Lexus RX 450h. The Crosstrek hybrid is new to the market, so it’s hard to say if sales have been helped by the winter weather. The Lexus RX450h sales are actually down a bit.

The downward trend in hybrid sales started before the winter weather set in. And so did the upward trend sales of CUV’s and Subaru’s.

I think we’re just seeing the continuing popularity of AWD and CUV’s, and possibly a cooling off of hybrid mania. We’ll keep a close eye on this.

Great question!

John McElroy
3-14-2014

John,

Care to hazard a guess as to whether or not (and if so, when) Infiniti’s Eau Rouge will get built, let alone make it to the US and Canada?

I have always thought the up market Infiniti product had the second best interior after Audi, and now with some real power and AWD, maybe Audi regrets letting Johan de Nysschen move on.

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
3-14-2014

John,

Just wanted to tell you how glad I am that Gary Vasilash is your new co-host. I've always enjoyed listening to Gary when he was a guest on my favorite podcast.

Thanks,
Joel
3-10-2014

1) As someone who grew up in the 1950's, a 5 year old car was pretty much done, mostly due to rust. No A/C, no power steering, 2 speed automatics (if you were lucky enough to have an automatic), only AM radio, bias ply tires, vinyl seats, and The Detroit rattle (poor quality) is my baseline, as this was the typical family car that we had back then. Remember needing to add water to the battery "only" 3 or 4 times a year?

Today, one doesn't shop for quality any more. A 10 year old car can still feel almost new. I haven't seen rusted body panels for years. I think it's impossible to buy a bad car.

2) I like small hatchbacks and small station wagons. Always have. I now own a Hyundai Accent, which they tell me is a small car, but I don't think so. It's as large as a 1970's Toyota Cressida, or a 1980's Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. To me, it's not a small car. I feel like I'm driving a luxury car in quality and size. Growing up in the 1950's has an advantage after all!

Ken
3-10-2014

Two notes from the early 1990's, both relating to Honda/Acura.

I remember taking extra keys off my keyring back when I owned an Accord because Click and Clack warned us that all that weight could break the ignition switch. I sold that car in 1995, so GM should have been well aware of the problem, 20 years ago!

I almost bought an Acura Integra when I bought my Accord in 1987. Later, when I went back to Acura, the Integra was gone, and I lost interest in Acura, and haven't paid any attention since. The alphabet soup replacements had no appeal, it being just generic letters. There was something really cool about driving an Integra, but not an ABC, or whatever they replaced it with.

Ken Silva
Laveen, AZ
Ken,

Thanks for your letter. It’s amazing that Click and Clack were on to this problem so long ago!

McElroy
3-5-2014

Hi John,

Wow, thanks for the shout out today on the pillar snafu. At least you know we’re really listening to you!

You also said some really, really nice words to my son Dakota a couple of weeks ago for which we wanted to thank you. You should have seen his face when we played him the episode where you read the letter he wrote to your “You Said It” segment when he got home from school – he was in shock!

We also surprised him by emailing it to his grade 5 teacher who played it not once, but twice to his class – at which point his class burst out in applause!

You have no idea how much this has boosted the esteem of our little guy.

We adopted him almost 3 years ago now and he had a very tough life before then, coming into foster care at 11 months of age. He’s also the smallest in his class, but he really stood tall the day they played Autoline in his class.

He was a major car nut even before he came into our family where, needless to say we’ve encouraged his love of cars.

Thank you again for the incredibly kind words,

Phil Hopewell
Burlington, Ontario
Phil,

You just made my day!

All the best to you and Dakota,

John McElroy
3-5-2014

I am interested in your take on this vehicle. Perhaps it would be a topic for Autoline After Hours. I had read about a former F1 designer who has produced a powertrain that operated on compressed air. This was aimed at small urban commercial delivery and trades vehicles.

This application seems different, but still gets around the whole battery question. I am interested in your opinion. It makes sense that Citroen is involved once again with an air/hydraulic combination, this time in a powertrain. If they made it really viable, I think that this is a very interesting way of reducing emissions in urban settings.

Gavin Smith
Brantford, Ontario
Gavin,

We’ve been covering hydraulic hybrids for years, including the one that PSA is working on in conjunction with Bosch. I’d suggest going to the Autoline website and doing a search for “hydraulic hybrid.” We have quite a few stories there.

McElroy
3-5-2014

John,

I think Acura's problem can be summed up in one word, 'styling'. It is horrible. Acura should go back to more classic lines, something like the old Legend, and drop the 'B & B', beak and boat-tail look promulgated by the California design studio. Mechanically they are great vehicles, sporty yet fuel efficient and reliable.

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
3-5-2014

Hi John,

I enjoy the show. Now that Ford has a modern IRS on the new Mustang wouldn't it just be ideal to start making a sedan and then later a high end sports car for Lincoln on the same platform. The plan is not selling a boatload but getting that foot traffic in the showroom.

Mike from Philly
Mike,

We can confirm that Ford is going to use the Mustang platform for a Lincoln. But we just don’t know what kind of car it will be.

McElroy
3-5-2014

John,

With respect to competitors to Tesla: The ELR is a very nicely styled car... But I just don't think it's a real competitive threat to Tesla. The Model S is a real BMW 5/M5, E-Class, A7/S7 competitor that actually is superior at the same price. The Model S is a superior luxury performance sedan which happens to be electric.

There is so much of a 52 card pick up scrambling situation with electric powertrains that the conventional auto market segmentation by buyer, form factor, and powertrain will be redefined in many cases.

As far as h2fcv, the reason many of the OEMs are creating alliances is to keep a toe in the water while not shouldering the entire R&D burden by themselves for a future technology. You don't do this as a corporate or technical strategy if the technology is at mass market viability. By the way, FCVs are electric vehicles (albeit with only a Prius sized battery) so the OEMs have to be technically proficient in everything for Electric vehicles anyway. It is far easiest to create PEVS with compelling performance and NVH than a conventional or FCVvehicle.

Also. FireWire isn't going anywhere ... USB is the now the universal standard. But yes Apples lightning is far better than micro USB since it can be conveniently flipped either way plus output video (in addition to a simple serial port like USB).

Regards,
Dave Tuttle
2-28-2014

John,

Have you heard any news on where John Krafcik is heading to?

I was always very impressed by all the interviews I saw with him. He seemed to have a very well-rounded thought process, and was very engaged with whoever he was talking to. (I think there are a lot of Automotive CEOs and Executives that could take some personality lessons from him)

Also, did you ever find out the real reason why he and Hyundai parted ways?

Wherever he ends up, I hope it’s an automotive company, and that this industry doesn't lose him.

Thanks,
Tom
Thomas,

I agree. Krafcik is one of the best CEO’s in the business. Fear not, I’m sure he’s going to surface again one of these days in a senior position within the industry.

I believe Hyundai dropped him because the company was losing market share in the US, and Krafcik was averse to resorting to fleet sales or incentives. I think his bosses simply decided they needed to see if someone else could get sales and share moving again. That created an opportunity for Dave Zukowski, his replacement. But it also opens up the door to a new phase of John Krafcik’s career.

Best,
McElroy
2-28-2014

John,

I worked at Coskata, a cellulosic ethanol company, for five years (I still see some of the B-roll from our demonstration plant in Madison, PA on Autoline). I worked on a lot of our municipal solid waste feedstock initiatives. I can share with you that the challenge with trash is significant and, believe it or not, we don't produce enough of it to make a business case interesting. The rising price of oil means that recycling paper and plastic a much better economic use than turning it into a fuel. Given that about 25% of trash is water and ash (metal, concrete - all things you can't turn into fuels), there's significantly less left over in the scale that is needed to build a business around. Further, getting a gasification-based process using MSW as a feedstock has never been permitted. It's like getting a nuke plant permitted apparently. Lastly, the capital for these types of facilities is significant. They're not unlike any other commodity chemical production facility. That's just hard to fund these days.

But it isn't for a lack of trying, John, I can assure you. It's just really hard, expensive, and there are better opportunities to work on in the short term.

Here's some stats.

Economic breakdown of a biomass (wood) to ethanol plant: (these numbers are old, and too low in several instances, but it illustrates the requirements pretty well). A Trash facility using the same process would be more expensive.

Doug
2-28-2014

John,

In your bit on the AWD tires...Subaru and Audi I believe are the only manufactures that use a full time AWD vehicle.

Nearly all AWD vehicles these days are FWD and only divert power to the rear wheels when needed, like when the front tires slip.

As such, the front tires wear faster than the rear anyway.

The AWD system has two differentials, one in the PTU (power transfer unit) and in the RDU (rear drive unit) and the RDU also contains a clutch pack...all work to keep things rolling evenly.

One more thing...all vehicles, even full time AWD cars, have to deal with tires that are inflated to different PSI due to leaks, or improper inflation.

PS: love the show, watch ALD everyday and all the other shows as well! Keep up the good work, do miss the Autoextremist on your show though, you guys were good together on AAH.

Rob Michel
2-28-2014

Hello John,

I read Wards Auto through my subscription through Ford Motor Company everyday as well as watch your Autoline videos and other features.

I just read your article on the UAW not being able to sell itself. Though I am a UAW member I agree with your points on what it should be doing to sell itself, and what points is should leave alone.

However, I would like to give you my take on the outside influence that you said the UAW blames. I was greatly concerned when Senator Corker came out and stated that he "...received assurances from VW that the plant would get a new vehicle if the workers voted against the union." The fact that he said this publicly on the first day of voting, and in direct opposition to VW's statements on the matter since September 2013 that the vote would NOT have an effect on where the new vehicle would go, is of great concern to me. Also is the fact that Senator Corker left vague of whom he was speaking with within VW, and a VW Executive spoke out shortly thereafter to state that Senator Corker's claim was in fact false.

Speaking as an autoworker of more than 21 years I can assure you when someone of significance (Plant Manager, Senator, Mayor) states that your plant will not get a new vehicle based on some actions in which you have a choice, jeopardizing your future or job security (Chattanooga built to produce 2 vehicles but only producing 1, if under utilized and the workforce is viewed as non-cooperative with the company it could be closed) those workers will usually vote for their jobs. I was wondering if this circumstance did not occur to you? It does not seem so since the tone of your article, as well as your statement, is that the Union wishes to put blame somewhere else. Though I agree the Union has better marketing of itself to do, I feel it was Senator Corker coming out on the first day of voting and putting into the worker's minds that if they voted for the Union they would not receive the new vehicle. The Union stated it had received enough of a majority in cards for a vote that if even 44 employees had changed their mind they would STILL win the vote. However, I feel the fear for their jobs being put into their minds was too big of a deterrent.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I enjoy your reports and incite. No two people will always agree but I appreciate the way you present your information.

Sincerely,

UAW Toolmaker
Ford Motor Company
2-28-2014

John,

I really liked your recent article on the “Safety Tech versus Safety Drivers”. You were spot on with your opinion that training the drivers is the answer to fewer accidents. I remember when I was a teenage driver (46 years ago) and had a ’65 MGB Roadster convertible in 1968 that my Dad had bought for me as my first car. He had said, “No sports cars and no convertibles”, go figure! He came around when he realized that it had only two seats, the gas usage was going to be minimal because it was only a small 4 cyl., and there was no back seat for my dates when we went to the drive-in theater. That little car taught me more about driving than any driver education course that was ever offered. My best friend and I spent hours at the mall on Sunday afternoons in the wintertime (the mall was closed on Sunday’s back then). We’d get up to speed zipping across the snow covered parking lot, yank up on the emergency brake, throw the front wheels one way or the other and ride out the spin while whooping loudly all the way. But,…..I also learned how to control those spins, how to steer with the slide, and even how to steer a car sliding backwards. Those experiences stick with me even today. In summary, I learned how to control and drive a car in other than normal stop and go traffic.

How invaluable it would be for our teenagers today if they could be taken out on a skid pad (aka the mall parking lot) with a knowledgeable instructor in the car with them to teach them the finer points of slipping, sliding, skidding, spinning, and the myriad other sorts of conditions that they could get into in a car that’s seemingly out of control, yet learn how to get that car out of those types of situations.

I guess that’s enough said, but, I wanted you to know that I think you hit the nail on the head with your article. I only wish that the driver education courses as they are taught today, could teach what you are basically advocating in your article. Safety has to be taught and learned and become second nature to the driver’s mind and reactions, it can’t be installed in the computer of a car.

Thanks for your great articles. I enjoy every article you write. Somehow you seem to hit the strike zone with every pitch you make.

Thanks and keep up the good writing,

Neal E. Hornung
Neal,

Great feedback! I’ve also just learned of an effort to use driving simulators to give students the kind of training that you’re writing about. Once I get more info on this I’ll be reporting on it.

BTW, I learned how to drive the same way: the church parking lot after a snow storm, and on the dirt roads in the middle of the corn fields of mid-Michigan.

Best,
John McElroy
2-28-2014

John,

I agree completely that it would be in the best interest of the U.S. to reduce dependence on OPEC oil. Developing more North American oil is one way, making vehicles more fuel efficient, and increasing public acceptance of electric vehicles which do not demand drastic changes in driving habits (i.e., extended range REvs) are other viable approaches. By powering EVs with electricity produced by wind, solar or nuclear, we can reduce dependence on foreign oil and be more environmentally friendly.

Larry Kimura
2-28-2014

Well John,

I pretty much enjoyed the new all-union-all-the-time show, but damn it, every so often somebody kept referring to pesky frivolous issues about vehicles, vehicle attributes, vehicle manufacturing, and vehicle design.

But based on the new automotive-journalists-discuss-union-issues ad nauseam format, IF you ever revert to your former format mostly concerned with vehicles, won't your current panel have to be replaced by union-organizers-discuss-vehicles experts.

The kid from the Detroit press was smart, sharp, clever, ironic, quick, and seemingly knowledgeable; let's see more of him.

Pete Nicholas

P.S. Any damn show is just too slow and too naval-gazing anytime a host or panelist says "I still think ..." and restates the same damn point for the third or fourth time. Definitely put today's show on your bloopers reel.
2-28-2014

Hey John,

The new Renault Twingo looks fantastic. Renault has a big hit as long as they didn't raise price over prior model. I also think this vehicle will be a big hit at Geneva. Question: Is this the first mass-market rear-engine, rear-driver since VW Bug? Also, will Nissan build a version for USA market?

Thanks,

Vincent A. Joy
Aside from the new Renault Twingo, the only other rear-engine, rear-drive mass-market car besides the Beetle that I can think of was another Renault car, the Dauphine which was in production from 1956 to 1967. I don’t think that Nissan will do a version for the US, but in this business you never say never.

McElroy
2-28-2014

Gents,

Long time viewer, really appreciate your coverage in general, it is a quick way to stay up to date…

Just wanted to share I think your segment on AWD Drawbacks (i.e. tires) was a little misleading, painting a depressing story for AWD. What really matters is rolling radius… (all of these statements are assuming the vehicle is a FWD base architecture):

Many (most?) folks don’t maintain their tire pressure appropriately to avoid a difference in rolling radius that is less than the difference of 2/32 or 4/32 of tread depth.

In addition to that due to the weight distribution on most cars the deflection on the front tires (if aired identically to the rear) can also be more significant.

On an Explorer (late model) or Ridgeline type vehicle the pay load plus tongue weight effect on the rear tires especially if rears are a couple PSI lower.

Some vehicles have a slightly offset gear ratio front to rear accomplished by not matching the rear R&P ratio to the PTU ratio.

Most folks do not rotate tires often enough to keep fronts vs. rears within 2 or 4 / 32.

Assuming an open differential on a standard system with only front – rear control the additional height of the tire is cut in half once it goes across the differential.

Plus if you staggered your air pressure side to side, you could eliminate a portion of the difference right off the bat, then half it from being across the diff.

If there was a difference great enough for the vehicle to catch from a mismatched tire, All the vehicles I’m aware of would have some sort of mini - spare logic (or similar) that would put the system in a reduced mode still providing some benefit to the customer, and NOT damage or cause excessive wear to the system

All that being said if you know your car, and it’s duty cycle you can easily get by with replacing only 1 or 2 tires, then do a custom rotation schedule(assuming non-directional tires) use a staggered tire inflation strategy (within reason of course, come on these cars are not blistering around the track;-), etc. to avoid shaving a tire or buying 4, then you keep the one you just got as a spare until you sell the car which could potentially help you avoid another purchase.

It all depends on what is important to you…;-)

Just trying to not paint such a bleak story for AWD…;-)

Kind Regards,
Ben
2-28-2014

Hey John,

Do you have an insight on why Speed Channel died? I realize they say that it didn't go away - it became FoxSports blah blah something...

Do you think it ever made money?

It had huge promise. Those early years with everything from SCCA runoffs to lawnmower racing. Fast forward to a few years ago and it had become the "Pinks" 24 hour network broken up on the weekends with 48 hours of Barrett Jackson - Trenton, NJ taped from 3 years ago.

I hate to say it but I almost wish we could go back to the days of their original content like; NASCAR gibberish AM, NASCAR gibberish Mid-day, NASCAR gibberish early afternoon, Housewives of NASCAR Drivers etc. - the days when everything was just NASCAR related. I whined about it back then (not a NASCAR fan) but I'd take it at this point.

Your Pal,
The Mayor
Annapolis, MD
Dear Mr. Mayor,

I’d go back even earlier than that. Remember Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN? That’s where I saw Jeff Gordon race for the first time at a sprint car race in Indiana when he was maybe 16 years old. He didn’t even have a driver’s license to drive a car on the street. He won the finale that night, beating out all the veterans. I made a mental note that night to remember his name because it was obvious that kid was going places.

Those early days (1980’s) of ESPN and Speed were great. Their programming was not slick, so it had a great grass-roots feel to it. But Speed ultimately failed because it wasn’t able to get the advertising revenues it needed to survive. The silly shows that the network started airing was a desperate attempt to attract the coveted 24-35 year old male demographic. It didn’t work.

Autoline This Week aired on Speed for about 5 years. We had a decent following, but with an older demographic. The Speed people begged us to “spiff up” the show. I think if we had featured bimbettes in bikinis bouncing on trampolines they would have kept the show, but they dropped us.

The kiss of death for small start-up networks is when they hit a given level of success, get bought out by big money networks, and get squeezed to death trying to produce more profits. I think we need motorheads need an operation like CSPAN, which is content to provide great content to a small audience and earn a modest profit.

McElroy
2-19-2014

Quick question. What makes a BMW or Mercedes so much better than a Cadillac? I am in the business and more so I am very familiar with a vast range of products in it. I wonder if it has to do with product at all anymore. Thanks.

James Becker
Personally, I don’t think that BMW’s or Mercedes’s are better than Cadillac’s. Not anymore. The products are on a par. But that’s not true of their brand image and prestige. The German brands have it all over Cadillac in that regard, especially outside the US market.

Cadillac is doing a better job of improving its brand image, but that takes time. You can’t buy it with clever advertising, you have to earn it over time via outstanding products and service.

Back in the early 1930’s when Cadillac set a goal of surpassing Packard as the undisputed luxury brand leader in the US, it took 20 years to achieve that goal. And that was without all the luxury brands that are now in the market. Today, Cadillac faces a much tougher challenge to regain its status as “The Standard Of The World.”

McElroy
2-19-2014

I just found your web site and have listened several of your programs and loved them all. I do have a few comments about the show “The Top Truck? North American Truck of the Year 2014”.

It was said that the new 2015 truck offering from GM has many nice innovations like the rear step and the rear tailgate soft drop feature, and that this is what the consumer is looking for. Well, coming from a lifelong GM truck buyer, you’re way off base and clueless. What truck buyers are looking for, among others things, is a truck that looks like a truck, acts like a truck and has useful features. We use our trucks in a variety of ways and we need a truck that can offer features to help in our daily duties. Come on, soft drop tailgate, are we weak out here? That’s a major feature or innovation? Ram offers useful features like Ram Box, in floor removable storage, air ride suspension, self-adjusting high beams, dual exhaust, eight speed transmission, air louvers, coil springs, do I need to continue. This shows a company wanting to stretch the envelope a little, to offer new innovative designs for the consumer.

Ram has asked me for my opinion on four separate surveys concerning the quality, features, design etc. of how their truck has performed in the real world. I like a car company following up on their product, it shows they want to win my business again. No, just because GM rolls out another poor excuse for a truck, assuming their loyal consumers will line up again as lemmings to purchase the half-baked, penny pinching bean counter offerings doesn’t mean we’ll buy them anymore. I work hard for my money and I for one will not give it to a company that doesn’t work hard on offering me something better than before. My local Chevy dealer has a large storage lot full of this last offering and very few busting bugs. GM hasn’t learned what sells trucks and they will keep getting what they’ve been offering, VERY LITTLE!! C’mon man!

Thanks, Bill
2-19-2014

John,

I keep seeing in the media that VW needs to bring in an outside union “due to current U.S. law” in order to setup a works council for the Chattanooga plant. What specific law is being referred to? What is the history of this law? What is the law’s purpose (aside from forcing unions into places where they are not wanted)?

Kevin H
Kevin,

Basically it comes down to this. Under U.S. labor law corporations are not allowed to form “company unions,” that is, unions that were set up and organized by the company.

And since a works council could come so close to being considered a company union, U.S. labor law stipulates that any works council must be represented by an outside, independent union.

Hope this helps,
McElroy
2-17-2014

John McElroy

Early this week Green Car Congress had an article about the eCVT being developed by UK based Magnomatics. Mike Millikin, the editor of Green Car Congress told me that they had developed a version with a ratio range of 15.

Driveline News has an article about the Honda hybrid system that uses two electric motors instead of a gearbox. At the end of that article they say that Ford is working with Magnomatics and the new 2015/16 Prius may have a system similar in design. Magnomatics says that this system will be cheaper, simpler and easier to package than a conventional gearbox. It also may be possible to eliminate the flywheel and the torsional damper.

This would all be highly speculative if it were not for the Honda hybrid system. Maybe you could consider Magnomatics as a future guest on your program.

Ray Aurand
Ray,

Thanks for the heads up. Great suggestion!

McElroy
2-17-2014

I realize when you are referring to a need for a union it is to abide by current law that a worker's council can be construed to be a company union and VW states they must have a worker's council. VW can change that policy and there are other ways to attain employee feelings. It's my understanding that GM was going to build a new Buick Plant in Flint, Michigan and was ready to let the contracts and the UAW said the contractors had to be union. GM built the plant in Texas. Flint eventually lost in excess of 70 thousand jobs and the population of Flint is roughly half of what it was. The time for the UAW has long since passed and they have done a great harm to the workers and GM. I grew up in Flint and worked one summer on the line at Chevrolet Flint Manufacturing while going to college during the 50's and have long been a supporter of GM.

Ray E. Gadberry
Apple Valley, MN
2-17-2014

Concours Judging

Really appreciated the current approach about not relying exclusively on points. At our Porsche events, we sometimes joke that the winner will be the vehicle that has the most used Q-tips on the ground or floor around the car!

Gregg
Vancouver, WA
2-17-2014

John,

In response to the viewer's question addressed to Nancy Gioia on your February 6th AAH program, I may have an answer.

While attending the Chicago Auto Show which had the yellow prototype coupe with the vacuum gauge on display I addressed the question to the Ford representatives.

They informed me that the Mustangs on the show circuit are indeed prototypes with production details to still be worked out.

One of those details includes instrumentation for the new turbo charged 2.3 engine, so space for the "vacuum gauge" was included in the prototype dash cluster.

My bets are that the gauge will be unique to the turbo charged model, and will be a turbo boost gauge as opposed to just a vacuum gauge.

Hope this answers the question for you, and a whole bunch of Mustang aficionado viewers.

Sam S. Melnick
Michigan City, IN
Sam,

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll bet you’re right.

McElroy
2-17-2014

John McElroy,

2014 Ram Eco Diesel Fuel Economy.

The 28 MPG highway fuel economy rating for the 3.0 liter diesel is only 3.0 MPG better than the same truck with the 3.6 liter gasoline engine. Since diesel fuel has about 11% more energy, BTU’s, than gasoline I find the 28 MPG rating strictly mediocre. This combination was supposed to be capable of 30 MPG highway. Did the overstressed calibration group come up short again? I doubt that I’m the only one that has come to this conclusion.

Ray Aurand
2-17-2014

I am not a big fan of connectivity and cars that drive themselves and big brother looking at you and 50 million gadgets in the car and so is Subaru. They are Spartan utilitarian machines built like tanks with AWD on all the time and people keep buying more and more of them! They hold their value better than Toyota, Nissan and Honda combined because people want them!

They never die unless you have a WRX that's turbocharged to an inch of its life and they are cheap with decent gas mileage now.

WHY CAN'T CAR COMPANIES UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR DO DADS AND FOO FOOS!!!

They want the car to work and go fast and get you out in the snow! lol What a concept!

Don from NJ
2-17-2014

Hi John;

Miss you on my cable box public TV here in Traverse City, but love the website.

I loved the Hawking Honda show, but I do have questions for your Honda guest next time.

1. When the NSX?

2. I always wanted a true 4 wheel drive Accord with a V8, but I do dream, so I bought a Subaru Legacy Sport which I love & the price point was UNDER $25,000?

3. My wife has an Element that they stopped making. Why? The story is they missed the segment 18-35 so they discontinued it. My wife hates the CRV & I always try to sit in the new model (they share the same drive train which is bullet proof) but always hit my head and the seats although leather aren't to me as comfy as the Element? We are now in our 60's but everyone in Traverse that has one looks to me to be over 60 or at least out of segment. We had to go to Grand Rapids to purchase our's new because the local dealer had back orders of approx. 4 months. If this is not enough, look at used Element prices and don't tell me it is all inflation.

I loved his answer on the "driver-less" concept. I know it is coming, but I would rather drive my own car.

Love your show which I feel is the best automotive show going. Please continue your success.

Sincerely;

Eric W. Everson, Sr.
Cedar, Michigan

PS One idea is to examine why there is very little loyalty in the Retail Car Business & maybe as a solution why sales personal are always leaving or moving. Every time I go to buy another car my sales person has left or been promoted. You can say it is the nature of the beast but when I used to need to buy suits I had the same gentleman for over 22 years?
2-17-2014

John,

I've had the good fortune to meet a lot of brilliant people in the STEM world. Many exhibited the unconventional body language and facial cues I observed in your interview with Michael Scully (Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt.3). Was he uncomfortable on camera, or is he a 1st Class engineering mind?

HelicopterJay
Helicopter,

Michael Scully was not at all uncomfortable on camera. In fact, he was amazingly relaxed. The fact that BMW and the US Olympic team would put him in charge of designing a new bobsled tells you everything you need to know about their confidence in his abilities.

McElroy
2-17-2014

You don't need Vehicle-to-Vehicle or Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communication for Fully Autonomous cars, Google have proved that, so why does Ford think you do?

Cheers,
James S Welling
Nancy Gioia from Ford made a pretty good point about this on Autoline After Hours. Yes, Google has racked up more than half a million miles with its autonomous cars and with no V2V infrastructure yet in place. But she says there are times when humans have had to intervene and take control of the Google cars, and that if this technology is going to fit all drivers then we’re going to need the V2V infrastructure. I need to verify this with Google, but what she’s saying does make sense.

McElroy
2-17-2014

John,

Both the Weather Channel and the Military Channel have been doing stories about aircraft accidents. Two of the stories deal with failures of Airbus electronic flight control system, an automated flight system. You might find these stories to have some relevance to autonomous vehicles.

Ray Aurand
Ray,

There’s no question there will be technical failures with autonomous cars that will lead to accidents and fatalities. Yet, autonomous cars could drastically reduce the 32,000 fatalities and 2.4 million injuries that happen every year in just the United States alone. This technology is so promising that we need to pursue its development. Notice that, despite the failures you mention, the airline industry is not going back to cable operated flaps and rudders.

McElroy
2-17-2014

Autoline,

I had an auto industry question I hope you can answer for me.

I recently saw an ad for “Nissan Versa Note” and I thought that was strange. Last year in Europe, I rented a Nissan Note. For the past few years, in the USA there was a Versa Sedan and a Versa Hatchback, now it looks like the hatchback will be spun off as a the Nissan Note and the Nissan Versa will be sedan only.

Why do they bother with the funny sub-model name “Nissan Versa Note”? It doesn’t even sound good from a marketing perspective… Why can’t they just start a new model “Nissan Note” right away?

Other examples:

Honda “Accord Crosstour” become Honda Crosstour
Toyota “Camry Solara” became Toyota Solara
Subaru “Legacy Outback” became Subaru Outback

Is there some loop hole in the process of introducing a new model that allows the car companies to avoid US gov. certification, testing, costs by spinning off from an existing model versus introducing a totally new model?

Thanks,
Rich Kabara
Richard,

It’s probably because by naming the Note as part of the Versa line, Nissan gets to count all those sales as Versas, which makes the total look all that much bigger.

McElroy
2-17-2014

John,

One more reason the oil change is more expensive on the new 2014 GM full size pickups is that they take more oil. I am surprised that this fact did not make it into your story as you usually have very thorough reporting. Here is the info from Chevy's press release back in May of 2013:

Advanced oiling system: The oiling system incorporates a new variable-displacement oil pump that enables more efficient oil delivery, based the engine’s operating conditions. Its dual-pressure control enables operation at a very efficient oil pressure at lower rpm, and then delivers higher pressure at higher engine speeds to provide a more robust lubrication.

Oil capacity has been increased to six quarts for the 4.3L V-6 and eight quarts for the V-8 engines. All engines use GM’s Dexos oil for increased fuel efficiency and longer oil life, and V-8s are engineered to use 0W/20 oil to improve lubrication and reduce friction.

All trucks also feature GM’s oil life monitor, which better protects engines by recommending oil changes based on actual engine operating conditions and can save owners’ money by avoiding unnecessary oil changes.

Oil-jet piston cooling: At higher engine speeds, small jets spray oil on the underside of each piston. This helps reduce piston temperature, enabling the engine to maintain maximum horsepower and torque, and also reduces engine noise.

Nick Bridges
2-17-2014

John,

I have listened to you on WWJ for years, and this is the very first time I have to 100% disagree with you, and frankly, wonder if you really did your homework for your January 31 Automotive Insight piece on GM and Dexos engine oil.

Disclosure - I work for GM, but I am writing you with my own personal opinion, not representing the company in any way. I am writing based on my own experience as an owner of more than one vehicle that uses dexos engine oil.

Dexos rated oil only costs about $1.00 to $1.50 more per quart retail than "regular" motor oil - you can check it out at Auto Zone or O'reillys. It has "some" of the properties of full synthetic oil, but only "some". At these same retail outlets, "full synthetic" oil costs another $2.00-$3.00 per quart above and beyond Dexos rated oil. Full synthetic oil, of course, meets the Dexos spec (it exceeds it). The reason you get stuck with a $70 oil change (it happened to me the first time, but I researched why) is that the "quick" oil change outlets don't want to stock dexos oil (I'm sure it costs them to do so) so they sell you the full synthetic at their highly marked up price, because, it is also dexos compliant - but it's also a lot more than you need. Most people don't know enough to ask. But my point is that these places should at least inform you that they are selling you a more expensive substitute.

If you go to a GM dealer, as I now do, a dexos oil change is only $5.00 or so more than one with regular oil, which is what it should be.

So, in my opinion, this is a case of the "quickie" oil change outlets ripping off customers. I don't go to them any more.

Here's some proof for you. Jiffy Lube will sell you full synthetic expensive oil as a dexos oil change. However Wal-Mart car service (at least oil changes) have been taken over by Jiffy Lube in some areas. If you go to Wal-Mart, they will sell you the exact Dexos oil (since they carry it in the store) and charge you a lot less for the oil change. I actually did this once so I know it's true. Just to see what would happen, I went to a stand alone Jiffy Lube, and told them I got a cheaper price for my oil change at a Wal-Mart Jiffy Lube - and they gave me the discount. However, it's much easier to go to the car dealer.

Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing you every day on WWJ at
5:43 AM.

Ken Meloche
Sterling Heights, MI
Ken,

Great feedback and thanks for taking the time to do so.

You raise great points that don't always fit into a 60-second radio report. I need to impact the most amount of people in the shortest time possible, and sometimes that takes some shorthand explanations. We have a much more comprehensive report on Dexos in Autoline Daily.

My point, though, is that GM should do a better job of explaining Dexos to customers and what they need to do, so they don't get caught with a $70 oil change bill.

Best,
John McElroy
2-5-2014

I listened to the interview with Bob Lutz & thought it was pretty good overall. However, being a truck fanatic & having one since I first got my license, I would like to point out that, personally, haven't seen the wonderful things the 'smart' engineering he touted about GM...

My personal experience has been GM did weight savings at the cost of durability. There's a lot of GM trucks with dented tailgates on the outside by the handle. If you shut them wrong by placing a hand on the sheet metal, it will dent in when it latches up. The suspension design is also much to be desired, especially on the HD series. If you want to plow you better get a 3500 solid front axle or forget it. The ground clearance isn't much to begin with & pretty much disappears when you lift the plow up. Also noticed on the new series they put the DEF tank on the diesels under the passenger floor plan & it hangs lower than the running boards! Just stupid design there.

I do agree the aluminum makes a lot more sense & pays off better than diesel. The RAM 1500 diesel is $4,000 more & the 2500/3500 Cummins is $8,000+. You're looking at a 15 year payoff, at least. One thing you overlooked in your response is the new F150 is it's using an alloy, so it doesn't need to be thicker than steel to be as strong or to resist denting. Yes, it's going to be more expensive to work with than traditional sheet metal... however if you saw the body shop estimates I got to fix an incident I had over the winter with my truck, traditional steel repairs aren't all that cheap!

Competition is a great thing. The next several years will be interesting to see how things turn out with all of the new product hitting the road.

Keith C
2-5-2014

John,

During the Super Bowl VW ran an ad where they claimed they have more vehicles on the road with 100,000 miles than any other automaker. This claim surprised me, but I have no way to check its authenticity. What do you think?

Larry
These things usually get vetted quite thoroughly before they go in an ad. If it were not true VW’s competitors (all the other car companies) would attack it. Since no one is disputing VW’s claim, I’d say that means it’s true.

McElroy
2-5-2014

John,

I find your story on Autoline Daily regarding gradient surfaces interesting. I wrote a comment/complaint a few weeks ago on Autoline After Hours about how so many cars today have black interiors. My wife and I own three vehicles and they all have black interiors. My next vehicle will not! I am interested in seeing how this gradient surface will look and feel. I want my next interior to look and feel luxurious. Hopefully the manufacturer will be able to incorporate this into their product. If they are not able to, I will not be interested. However, perhaps their target group is much younger than the one I'm in.....the Baby Boomers. Thank you for all the information you provide on a daily basis.

Amado
Saginaw, MI
Amado,

Thanks for the feedback. I’m with you. Interiors should be available in more than just black, grey and beige. I hope this gradient treatment really catches on.

Best,
John McElroy
2-5-2014

Hi John,

Why don't the car manufacturers offer engine block heater as standard equipment? This device would greatly aid cold weather fuel economy, reduce winter time emissions, add safety to lazy drivers who don't scrape, and make engines last a lot longer. Just like an EV...plug it in each night and enjoy the morning.

Warm regards,
Roger Blose
Overall, so few motorists need engine block heaters, and only use them for such a short part of the year, that it doesn’t make sense to offer it as standard equipment. For example, here in Michigan its gone down to 11 below zero F this winter (ambient) and I never needed a block heater. Those who truly need them should just buy them. They can always keep it for their next car.

McElroy

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv