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9-4-2014

John,

Great show as always today!

I’m intrigued by a couple of subjects in your report related to ad dollars spent and whether car companies consider racing as marketing dollars. Can you run the numbers that would combine both figures for at least GM, Ford, and FCA (at least Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep) and re-compare? Since Dodge pulled out of NASCAR, and other racing programs within the FCA group have been whittled down, my guess is that if you added racing program dollars spent to ads purchased, FCA (again Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep) would be at the bottom of the list rather than leading it.

I’m purposely not including Ferrari in this mix because I believe it’s a different animal altogether.

Just thought it would be interesting to see the ranking with this perspective.

Thanks,

Mark B.
Waukesha, WI
Mark,

I sure wish we could run those numbers for you, but car companies treat their racing budgets as top secret information. We don’t have access to that!

McElroy
9-4-2014

John,

Changing which side of the road you drive on. Actually it was Samoa in 2009 who was the last to change which side they drive on, and they changed from right to left. This was to bring them in line with other SE Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, so as to make it easier to import used cars.

Eric/Rumblestrip
9-4-2014

John,

I have heard you and your great team talk about the democratization of luxury and technology. Seems the auto brands stuff the newest, neatest stuff into what ever vehicle is coming through the development process when the new tech hits. Gone are the days when you had to buy 'up market' vehicles to the goodies. Not sure that is great strategically for mid to upper tier brands.

Listening to Larry Nitz the other night talk about the new Volt, I wonder if Chevy is going to get the next generation GM range extended hybrid before the ELR from Cadillac gets it. I think that would be a shame.

BTW - Larry seems like a great guy, highly decorated/recognized, super smart or as Peter D said - A True Believer!

Peter Smith
Lugano, CH
9-4-2014

Just a note I sent to the recall site, my final say in the matter...

Dear Ms. Barra/GM,

I have had the recall repair to my Cobalt completed. I found it rather curious though, I was offered $500.00 additional trade in allowance if I traded in my car. It took 3 months for the repair while my car sat at the local dealer’s lot. The rental car that you issued through Enterprise (and thank you for doing that) was listed at $35/day. That would be about $3,000. I would assume you negotiated a better deal than that but none the less, a substantial amount of money. Had you offered $2,000 towards a trade in, I would have gladly done so. But $500 is really almost irrelevant, that much is easily lost in the negotiations of a new car. As such with a $2,000 allowance I would have been a happy customer and GM would have decidedly my first choice for my next car. I do not fault your actions and am content with the outcome but I believe you missed an opportunity to save yourself a little money and to enhance your position and gain customer loyalty.

Sincerely,
Larry Skellion
9-4-2014

John, I heard your report on car loans based on info from Equifax. It seems the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's website has a much less rosy picture. They claim in the 2nd. quarter of 2014 15.1% of US auto loans were delinquent for more than 30 days. A 44% increase over the 1st. quarter of 2012! Not the direction you want to see delinquencies heading. There always seems to be 2 sides to the story.

Will Beck
9-4-2014

Although everyone disdains the transparent badge engineering that marked the US manufacturers in years gone by, I am sort of surprised when I hear praise heaped on the VW Group for how well they manage the complexity of all their brands.

Living in Europe I see a lot of SEAT and Skoda's that bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Audi models of the last few years. This is especially true of lighting assemblies fore and aft. Given VW Group's extensive use of the 1.8, 2.0 and TDI engines and trans, I think they play a much more offensive game of badge engineering than the US brands do today. We may not see this in the USA but I think VW Group is teetering on brand identity problems. This seems especially true give VW's expansion of 4Motion offerings and Audi's embrace of diesel models and the intro of the MBQQ platform - look out VW, this path doesn't wear well.

Peter Smith
Excellent observation and let’s hope VW is willing to listen.

McElroy
9-4-2014

There is a lot of discussion on Autoline about transmissions and the number of gears. ie. 6, 8, 9 etc. There are already continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) out there. Why wouldn't they be the most efficient?

HoboBob
HoboBob,

CVT’s can deliver better fuel economy than traditional gear transmissions when driven lightly. But many drivers don’t like the feel of a CVT. Not even the CVTs that are calibrated to shift more like traditional transmissions. And that’s especially true of enthusiast drivers. Also, earlier versions of CVTs had a lot of problems and some automakers have been scared off by the warranty costs. Those issues seem to have been resolved, but CVTs still have something of an image problem to overcome.

McElroy
9-4-2014

Hi John,

I see that you are going to have as a guest on Autoline This Week on Oct 2, A. J. Baime, the author of Arsenal of Democracy.

I have recently finished reading the book and highly recommend it to any WWII or auto enthusiast. Any person with an interest in the Ford Family (which I am) will probably learn some "inside" of the family which they never knew.

The book is a great tribute to Detroit, the people of Detroit and the role Detroit played in supporting America and her Allies in the late 30's and early 40's. The differences in political beliefs, union/non-union leanings and race were all were overcome to support one mission (defeating Adolf Hitler).

Your October 2nd show should be of interest to most all of your viewers and even those who aren't.

I believe you have chosen a wonderful guest and am looking forward to the show.

Dave Forslund
Norwalk, CT
Dave,

Thanks for the great feedback. This is definitely a show that any WWII or auto enthusiast will appreciate.

McElroy
9-4-2014

Hi John,

I was wondering about the ability for autonomous vehicles to avoid unexpected events like potholes or giant truck tire carcasses. I know of several level crossings that you wouldn’t want to hit at full speed. Perhaps that kind of “smart” avoidance won’t be built-in until a future generation of this technology?

Regards,
Steve Read
Autonomous cars should be able to deal with potholes and tire carcasses. With connected car technology, the second car on the scene would certainly miss them.

McElroy
9-3-2014

WHY do I have to have black interior if I want a Ford truck? I would love a Raptor but the interior only comes in "bake you until you are well done" black! A truck that was designed as a desert racer should never be black inside. It is impossible to keep clean and hotter than an oven!

Rick
Since the Raptor is a very low volume vehicle, Ford clearly wanted to keep the complexity to a minimum, hence “any interior color you want so long as it’s black.” Of course, you can always customize it yourself. May we suggest white shag carpeting with cashmere egg-shell seats?

McElroy
9-3-2014

The Impala, LaCrosse, and the XTS are all on the same platform. Impala vehicles start at about $22 K, LaCrosse vehicles start at about $33 K, and XTS vehicles start at about $44 K. My Dad has an 08 LaCrosse with over 100,000 miles on it. He's hoping to drive at least a few more years, but then he will have to get another vehicle. He could save money and go with the Impala, he could stay with another LaCrosse, or he could splurge for an XTS. My question to you guys is: are the cars on this platform worth the price premiums or are you just paying for the nameplate?

Wes
Great question. It’s all about what any buyer wants. If you’re OK with a car you’ll see all over the place, go with the Chevy. If you want a more premium image, go with the Buick. If you want exclusivity then go with Cadillac. Obviously there are content differences, but the big difference is with the number of these cars that each brand sells.

McElroy
9-3-2014

Geez John! I thought you were a 'Free Market' guy. We don't need to have another job to require a license. More than anything else, licensing is a sop to those who would set the requirements (e.g.> schools & training centers) and trade associations who like to restrict membership so as to push up wages and fees. Come on John! You ought to know better!

Vincent A. Joy
I still am a free market guy. But I sure would like to know that the guy working on my brakes knows what he’s doing. And if dealerships and repair shops require a mechanic certification, so should the quick-lube type shops.

McElroy
9-3-2014

About me, been an avid watcher of the show for about 2-years. Self described biggest automotive junky under 30 in the world. College graduate from Kelley School at Indiana Univ, sorry not a U Mich guy but have respect for State and Michigan, 3 years bulge bracket banking experience (i.e. BofA, JPM, Credit Suisse).

In regards to R&D discrepancies, here are a few points.

YoY R&D investment can fluctuate significantly in relation to FCF, considering Toyotas hick-ups. Also drivetrain specific hybrid tech has somewhat hit the wall /fork in the road on what's next, while diesel tech is alive and thriving from a global platform think the new BMW M50D.

In general, historically, German companies have R&D budgets built in more solidly to the core business model. Think back, given no holds bar Germans will R&D spend their way into bankruptcy/destruction. It's part of the ideology.

Redundant but Toyota's hybrid market share ROI doesn't shake a stick at VWs diesel Market Share. The informed consumer is a more valuable customer both theoretically and from a YoY liquidity perspective to bottom line revenue. Don't have exact numbers but peg diesel platform for MK4 Golf Jetta to first 2nd gen Prius so about 2002-2014 and isolate return customers and value add to company and VW will Blow toyota out of the water.

I'm just rambling on the fly but I can more fully flesh out numbers. If you have a ballpark idea you should be able to follow my thought process. Feel free to correct me on missteps though, I'm a young enthusiast and always yearning to learn more.

Also I talk about diesel a lot but I'm not one of those diehard diesel guys, never owned one nor looking to buy one in the near future. I think it's a knee jerk reaction though to think of diesel as low tech but in reality we know it's the exact opposite.

Thanks and look forward to seeing more episodes.

Ryan
9-3-2014

Good afternoon:

I am a regular viewer and enjoyed today’s show on the Mexican auto industry and in particular John Martin of Nissan. While he did sound a bit like a Nissan Commercial at times, his grasp of facts and his presentation was superb.

The show gave me a number of excellent perspectives, especially Free Trade Agreements and the ratio thereof in the United States compared to Mexico. With the influx of new auto factories to Mexico, the American Government should pause to reflect on whether only having half of the agreements that Mexico, means that domestic protectionism should be challenged on some fronts.

As a private pension manager for many years, this type of information only enhances what our company can do for our clients and I thank your show for it.

Enjoy the series;

Greg Wyatt,
Vancouver, BC
Greg,

Thanks for the feedback, it’s very interesting to know your background and the value you see in the show.

We too were very impressed with John Martin from Nissan.

McElroy
9-3-2014

Mr. McElroy,

I really enjoy the show. Thank you.

On the Aug 22 show, on the piece about the history of the HMMWV, you mentioned that General Dynamics won the original contract.

I thought it was AM General, though.

GD did recently form a joint venture for a related vehicle project, but it was AM General that won the bid several decades ago.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scott
9-3-2014

Hello John, I enjoy watching your show every Sunday. Your most recent show with guests Susan, François & Sharon prompted me to weigh in on their comments. I find it interesting that although as you said, the best selling colors are black, white & silver, so many ads in magazines & on television showcase new cars in red (usually their optional metallic burgundy reds.)

The other thing that I find interesting is when you look back at the beautiful cars from 1955 to the 1970's, the manufacturers finished their cars in beautiful colors inside & out. They had new colors almost every year & they had no computers or technology that is available today yet they say it takes approx. 4 yrs. to introduce a new color today ---- Are we making progress??? I don't know.

Just had to get that off my chest!

Thanks,

Bruce Emmons,
Brockville Ont.
8-14-2014

This is just to congratulate Barbara on her performance this week. I think she did an excellent job filling in for John.

I can admit I like having different presenters every so often, because it’s refreshing to hear different styles of reporting, yet I wouldn't mind seeing Barbara more often.

Bets regards,
Genaro Islas
8-14-2014

John,

With better fuel economy than petrol engines, especially at constant speeds, why aren't auto makers using diesel instead of gas to power engines used to charge batteries (like the Chevy Volt)?

Regards,

Peter Parsons
Shanghai, China
Don’t be surprised if we see diesel range extenders sometime in the future. But diesel engines are more expensive to manufacture. And PHEV’s are already pretty expensive to make. So that’s why you’re seeing gasoline engines in those cars.

McElroy
8-14-2014

John, I'm commenting on Barbara Banyai filling in for you last week. If she keeps coming in some of us may not miss you! Ok, I'm joking! I will say in the many years I've watched your show I've always enjoyed watching and listening to someone who is well spoken and clearly conveys their message. I watch the show because I'm interested in the automotive news. I remember over the years many people, both men and women, who I thought were wonderful, because they were well spoken, intelligent and clearly conveyed their message. Clearly people who were in their positions because they earned it.

Ms. Banyai may or may not be in the automotive industry, but she clearly conveyed your messages last week. I truly enjoyed watching her and I'm going to guess this is not her first time in front of a crowd....or camera. She did a great job, and if you have to leave us, please consider calling her in to fill in.

I hope you and Gary had a great time in the Cherry capital, I'm always watching!

Sincerely,

Amado Arceo
Saginaw, MI
8-14-2014

I wanted to let you folks know that Ms. Banyai was actually a refreshing addition to the Autoline Daily production. I approve of her continuation. As much as I like the "guys talking shop" aspect of industry news, it was nice to see a woman in the broadcast seat.

Tejash Vishalpura
8-14-2014

Hi John,

Quick thing regarding today’s story on China losing its rare-earth appeal, I am advised the following:

Li-ion batteries do not use/need rare earth metals. Rare-earth metals, specifically Neodymium-based magnets, are used in electric machines such as hybrid and electric vehicle drive motors, and generators.

Thanks and best regards,
Dick
8-14-2014

JMac,

You'll be delighted to know that you can start to use up all those vacation days you've banked. Barb Banyai was delightful. Her voice, tone & delivery was very professional & pleasant to listen to, and not to be sexist, easy on the eyes. I'd easily say she was a welcome replacement host.

But John, don't pack those bags too often because your enthusiasm, insight & knowledge are second to none. After all, Autoline is John McElroy, and there really is no true "replacement.”

Warm regards,

Speedracer2007
Tony G.
8-14-2014

Just wanted you to know I thoroughly enjoyed Barbara this week and feel she did a splendid job and hope she returns as needed. If I were not married I would propose to her!

Hugh
8-14-2014

Just a comment. I never heard or saw Barbara do the show before. I must say, she is a good choice. She does a better job than anyone else on the show (besides John) - no slights intended. She doesn’t look uncomfortable or make me feel awkward for her (like all the other guest hosts), plus she just happens to be very pretty. Anyway, I watch AD either way, just thought I'd comment on a guest host I think you should have on more often.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one giving positive feedback on her.

Thanks,
Eric Staudt
8-14-2014

Barbara is a sweetie and did a great job hosting for John in his absence this past week, how can anyone NOT like Barbara, I surely did enjoy her.

Tom C,
Clearwater, FL
8-14-2014

Just a quick note to say I thought Dr. Zhao was fascinating. The surface has been scratched. I would like to see more in-depth discussion with him alone or a part of a panel. His insights into China cannot be trumpeted ENOUGH to us USA auto folks. They will prove to be invaluable, I think.

James
We agree. Dr. Zhao’s comments, and the way he words them, have earned him the nickname of “The Bob Lutz of China.”

McElroy
8-14-2014

John,

I’d be interested in hearing your opinion of some of the major issues in the automotive world from a different point of view.

Specifically;

1. Fuel economy regulations. If car companies made NO further improvement in fuel economy beyond what they have already announced, what would they be reduced to? (For example, would Ford be reduced to selling Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion Hybrid on the car side and matching trucks on the truck side – EcoSport, Escape and Explorer Hybrid based on the Fusion) If they were reduced to those models, how would their sales volume in the US compare to now. (50%? 90%?). If a Fusion Hybrid based Explorer was made into a pickup truck, how would it compare to the current and new aluminum F-150? I’m sure the story would vary wildly from car company to car company.

2. Autonomous vehicles. If autonomous vehicles were suddenly perfected, how many ‘professional drivers’ would be out of work. (I.e. how many taxi, bus, transport truck, delivery truck, FedEx etc drivers are there in the US? What percent of the employed population is that?

Thanks,
Kevin Anderson
We would guesstimate that if Ford made no further CAFE improvements, it would essentially have to stop selling all its trucks, SUVs, and vans by 2016.That would eliminate over half of its sales.

There are 3.5 million commercial vehicle drivers in the U.S. which is about 1.2% of the U.S. employed population.

McElroy
8-14-2014

Hi John,

I worked late and missed the live broadcast; just watched the U-stream. Had I been in the live circle, my question to Mr. O’Leary would have been: ‘will Ford offer a paint-delete (option) on the new F-150?’ What’s the chance?

Let me know if you find anything.

BTW- good discussion between yourself, Gary and Lindsay for the duration.

Thanks,

Neil
Varick, NY
Neil, we would say the chances are slim to none that Ford would offer a paint-delete option. The only brand we’re aware of that offered a paint-delete option was Scion with the xB, and Toyota no longer does that.

McElroy
8-14-2014

John McElroy,

On this evenings show Lindsay Brooke of SAE mentioned that the belt alternator starter (BAS) was becoming common technology on all vehicles. My question is what happened to the flywheel alternator starter (FAS). GM had one and so did Bosch. GM mentioned the FAS as new technology for 2015 in their bankruptcy filing.

Ray Aurand
The FAS systems are still out there, but require more modifications to a powertrain than simply bolting on a beefier alternator. OEMs looking for a low cost solution are using the BAS.

McElroy
8-14-2014

John,

While giving the Honda Q1 earnings report you included Bikes! Has the Honda earnings always included bikes? And lawnmowers? And Jets? And outboard engines? And small engines for weedwackers? Seems to me it should be auto related only, and not include 35cc engines for T-Post drivers.

Will Beck
Well, the BMW financial numbers include motorcycles. So do the VW numbers, now that they own Ducati. The Toyota numbers include the dinky 660 cc kei cars made by Daihatsu. And all automakers include earnings from their financial subsidiaries. We could go on and on. The point is, unless you look at the financial health of the entire company, you won’t get an idea of how healthy it really is.

McElroy
8-14-2014

Hello,

Buying a Car in 2014. I did not have a chance to watch the whole show yet. But based on the comments on the initial minutes regarding 'more selling' happening in the old days, I'd like to point out that these days most salespersons DO NOT know very much about the cars they are selling. They make stuff up, like performance, weight, etc. I don't know if it is because I am an enthusiast, but whenever I go to a dealer to test drive a car, or even call before I drive there to find out about certain options with some of the cars on their lot as shown on the website, I know more about the cars they are selling than they do. So I can't consider them 'true' car sales persons that know their products.

Vittorio from L.A.
8-14-2014

Greetings,

Regarding AD# 1422, I am curious with the Costco statement “We work with fleet only, so that they’re not the next walk-in into the showroom”. Does this mean buyers who go through Costco can purchase cars at fleet prices? Is that what’s contributing to the higher closing ratio?

Mike from Mississauga
Mike,

That’s exactly right. Costco buys cars in bulk and gets discounted fleet prices, which it then offers to its members.

McElroy
8-14-2014

The Burgundy effect on Durango sales. We both know if the product wasn’t good – it wouldn’t matter what kind of marketing/advertising you did – sales would be hurting. Dodge did a great job on the Durango in both the looks and driving aspects and that’s why sales are up 16%. The Burgundy ads just reinforce what a great product it is.

All the best,
Bill Conn
8-14-2014

Dear John,

The Fiat 3.0 liter diesel used in Dodge trucks weighing 6000 lbs is getting 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Does Chrysler have plans to drop this miracle engine into a great big luxury sedan weighing 4500 to 5500 pounds in the future? I miss the 1970’s super sized luxury cars of old and want to see such vehicles on the road again.

Thanks

J.P.
Fort Worth, TX
That diesel is now in the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well and we would not be surprised to see it show up in other applications. Wouldn’t a diesel Chrysler 300 make a great package?

McElroy
8-14-2014

Love the web cast and watch the TV show on Watertown NY PBS!

Hope you caught the release from Cummins and the California Emission folks. The engine named in the subject line uses high (diesel-like) compression, advanced ignition tech and with Allison tranny has stop-start to reduce CO2 by 50% or more. This 2.8L beast gets 250 hp and 450 lb/ft torque.

This would be natural for city bus fleets that have their own E-85 supplies in markets where CO2 is monitored, amount others!

Thanks,

Jason Gelarden
Oswego, NY
Jason,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

And give our best to everyone in Watertown!

McElroy
7-22-2014

John

I’ve enjoyed your site for years and particularly like AAH. Keep up the great auto journalism.

I have keenly followed the evolution of propulsion technology and wonder why diesels are still not making serious inroads in N.A.? VW diesels have become better-known for their new-found torque, cleanliness and as always, mileage, but still, not huge sales. Now, after a recent experience, I realize we’re really missing a good thing.

We were in France in April and rented a new Peugeot 208 clean direct-injection diesel sedan, 5-speed, a sub-compact size here that’s about the length of a Fit but closer to the width of a Civic. I’m not sure but I think it’s about a 1.8 litre engine. The car was a joy to drive, with well-bolstered seats, 17” wheels with 50-series rubber, and a steering wheel about the size of a Formula 1’s. It handled like it was on rails, pulled without fuss from just over 1000 rpm, and smooth gearbox delivered gobs of torque in a broad power range. There was no indication it was a diesel in terms of NVH. The biggest difference, compared to my Fit, was acceleration on the freeway from 100 km./hr. – it actually pushed you back in the seat. All of that, and a tank of combined town, country (lots of roundabouts!) and freeway driving delivered 55 mpg. Peugeot claims on their web site that it is capable of attaining 75 mpg (I guess driving a steady 45 mph, but still...). The fit and finish were as good as Toyota or Honda, interior materials were better than my Fit, and it felt super-tight. I would buy a 208 Peugeot diesel if they were sold here – I’m a long-time Honda driver - and I remember when Peugeot screwed up their North American sales with horrible service and lousy cars and left with their tail between their legs. Rumours say Peugeot may re-enter our market soon. If so, I hope they have locals take care of sales and service, because their current cars will sell themselves.

As background, about 50% of vehicles on the road in France are diesel, and at 1.4 Euros per litre, diesel is significantly cheaper than gasoline.

Why is North America still down on diesels? Is this perhaps the GM Diesel Disaster Effect? My suggestion to marketers of diesels, whatever their brand, is to emphasize that today’s diesels are PERFORMANCE engines – and they deliver mileage many hybrids still dream about, with none of the complexity.

Signed,
Islander800
You need to watch Autoline Daily more often. We’ve been reporting on the success that diesels are enjoying in the US market for at least a year. If you count the pick-up truck diesels, then diesels now outsell hybrids in the US market.

McElroy
7-22-2014

Hello, I know as the industry has started using forced induction to raise MPGs vs. power, manufactures seem to be favoring turbo chargers. Recently John has talked about new electric supercharges, but I am unsure how these new electric superchargers work. Toyota Previa vans back in the mid 90s were supercharged....sometimes. They had a supercharger on them but they had an electric clutch on them to engage the supercharger, very similar to an a/c clutch. This raised the MPG from 17 to 23mpg. I mean a 6 mpg increase from what seems to be so simple. I don't see any cars with turbos on them that get 6mpg better than the same car with the same engine, without a turbo. What gives? They had this available 20+ years ago!!!

Thanks,
Kurt Burton
You’re right, the 1995 Previa did get a supercharger to boost its 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine’s anemic performance. That probably allowed Toyota engineers to re-gear the vehicle (sorry we don’t have the actual specs at hand). But according to the EPA, the difference between the supercharged and naturally aspirated version was only one mile per gallon, not 6 mpg. The combined fuel economy numbers for the naturally aspirated one was officially rated at 17 mpg. The supercharged version was rated at 18 mpg.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I like the ELR .. it's a beautiful vehicle but Cadillac's pricing of the ELR was just boneheaded.. thinking that they can "go after Tesla" with a $75k ELR was just dumbfounding.

Remember when Johan de Nysschen called the Volt stupid years ago.. now he has a $75k restyled Volt... I wonder what he will do with it?

Regards,
Dave Tuttle
7-22-2014

John,

In an effort to attract new car buyers I hear the ad line "up to $4000 more for your trade". So does this mean that there is over $4000 dollars profit to the dealer on a new car? Doubtful. But they sure do not help themselves either. The other comment I have is the back house service. I recently returned a vehicle to a dealer. The A/C needed to be recharged. I had replaced the entire HVAC system in the vehicle. All I needed them to do was evacuate the old A/C charge vacuum test the system and refill. I even told the service writer what I did and what I needed them to do. Simple enough. Only when I get the bill they told me that it was low on charge and would not take any freon. No Kidding. Did you vacuum the system? Was it tested for leaks? No all the tech did was hook up his gauges and found the system not to be working. Funny thing is when I got a hold of the same equipment the A/C works fine. Guess where I'll never take my vehicle to get serviced?

David Sprowl
7-22-2014

Hi John,

I have been hearing you on the radio and watching you on TV since I came to this country in the mid-80s. I value your opinion and input related to vehicle safety mainly. In this regard, I would like to point out a safety issue with my two year old Toyota Avalon (2012). The few months after I bought it, I was going to have major accidents just because I couldn’t see the cars coming toward me from my right side. I then realized that the obstacle is the front window right frame in combination with the right mirror blocks a great deal of view. From that time on, I started been very careful, moving my head back and forth before making a decision when driving since I don’t want to miss the car hidden in that obstacle.

I’m sure this is true for some other cars, especially when the window frames and the mirrors are getting bulkier.

I hope you can tackle this issue since you have a great public platform in this regard. And if you want to see my car, it is parked in the parking lot adjacent to your parking lot. We are neighbors.

Thank you so much for all your insights on the automotive industry. We have learned a great deal from you throughout the years.

My Highest Regards,

Buthayna Taha
Hello neighbor,

This is a problem with many cars. The regulations to protect car occupants in roll-over accidents resulted in very thick A-pillars, the industry term for that part of the window frame. And those thick pillars can create the problem that you encountered—they can block your view. The solution is to use ultra-high strength steel to make those A-pillars thinner. Most new car designs are now using this type of steel.

McElroy
7-22-2014

On ZEV credits, if those numbers are accurate, I'd expect manufacturers to simply choose to fail to comply and pay the fine. California though, is full of wonderful stuff like this. We only had ONE bidder on the high-speed rail project, and CA had a retroactive $10,000 tax on the wealthy. So while I'm personally not against these trains or taxes, having just a single bidder on a gov't project spells corruption, and surprise taxes on previous years' salaries seem immoral. Likewise, ZEV seems to benefit Tesla alone; there is a lack of mathematics in these carbon laws. /rant

Noah Rogers
7-22-2014

I have a hunch why cars like Camaro’s with brighter colors have a higher resale values is because younger folks buy them as used cars and they are more interested in the flashy colors than the older more conservative original owners.

Phil Jarone
7-22-2014

John,

I just saw a story on the air quality in New Delhi. Did you know it is more than twice as bad as Beijing's, yet they don't have nearly the same amount of industrialization? This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Does the car driving populous there rival that of Beijing?

Thanks,
Michael J. Brown
No, India has far fewer motorized vehicles than China. New Delhi has far fewer than Beijing. That Indian pollution does not just come from cars.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I wanted to congratulate you on the excellent Autoline After Hours from last Thursday with guest Oliver Schmidt. His expert knowledge was educational and was equaled by his ability to clearly explain diesel technology, all the while not being a VW/Audi/Porsche cheerleader.

Have a great Summer!
John Faulkner
John,

We agree, Oliver was a great guest. And there's a lot of good information in that show.

John McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

Another great show, thank you.

I love the way we in Michigan are once again building cars, taking names and making lemons into lemonade.

Sincerely,
Eric W. Everson, Sr.
7-22-2014

Hey there, John.

I know you no longer do the "Lift the Pen" segment, but if you did, I think the 2015 Mustang may have made a good study.

I was working with a 3D model of this car and noticed what I already knew to be true. There just seems to be way too many folds, lines and creases in this sheet metal! I had posted to your AD blog in the previous weeks about my preference for the Dodge Challenger over the other two Pony cars due solely to its simplistic and straight-forward design.

This Mustang design language (as with most of them, to me) just seems a bit confusing and convoluted.

mB
Michael,

Thanks for your observation on the Mustang. Next time I get a chance to see one “in the flesh” I’ll pay closer attention.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I look forward to watching Autoline Daily each week. Your insights and auto industry news is always interesting and informative. I'm always interested in new technologies and concepts, especially if it's actually released to the public. At face value Elio Motors looks very promising. In fact, I was considering purchasing an Elio, that is until I read the reservation agreement. Now it looks more like pie in the sky or a scam. Elio Motors is picking up speed on the Internet as people seem to have a lot of interest. If the car is real, I'd love for Autoline Daily to do a test drive on the vehicle.

Mitchell Brown
Mitchell,

I would not make a down payment or “reservation payment” until I saw these cars in production and out on the road. Elio Motors has a good looking vehicle and the company could turn out to be quite legit, but it is very hard to break into the market with this kind of vehicle. Many others have failed, so let them prove themselves before you take that leap.

Also, I’m highly skeptical of their 5-star crash rating claim. Even with the best of intentions that is very difficult to achieve.

That said, I wish Elio Motors great success and I hope they make it!

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

It seems incredulous to me that there is this much buzz around autonomous cars. We have recalls in the millions! How can anyone reasonably believe there won't be massive recalls with autonomous cars? Whose fault will it be if there is a death(s) involved? I see recalls abound and excessive litigation! Am I in the minority?

Larry
Of course there will be recalls with autonomous cars. And accidents and fatalities, too. And massive litigation. But guess what? We have all that now anyway. Though autonomous cars will not be perfect, they could reduce traffic fatalities by 20,000 lives a year, and prevent over a million people from going to the hospital. So what are we waiting for?

McElroy
6-17-2014

This is more of a tip off than viewer mail, but I didn't know where else to send this.

I know you guys love Easter Eggs on new cars, like in your recent episode of After Hours with the Jeep Renegade, and I just wanted to let you in on one for the new Mustang. It's on the underside of the hood after you remove the hood blanket, stamped into the hood inner panel. Hopefully you get a chance to see this when you finally get to test drive one.

Josh
6-17-2014

In RE Auto Racing

I agree completely in re: to the incessant blah, blah, blah and the ads, an asterisk! I know the networks pay a lot of money to NASCAR but I'm pretty sure they're not doing it for free!

Here's how it went:

*the TV was on. I was in the garage doing several "useful" things to one of my cars. I walked by the TV a few times to see if there was anything interesting like door to door or wheel to wheel racing by there was mostly "riding". By the time I finished the first set of duties the Indy race was in it's final throws (about 25 laps to go) and I watch an excellent finish.

More "tasks" in the garage, a snack and by golly, it was 35 laps to go and another excellent finish.

Like you, I couldn't see the final finishing order and the race picture was cut down to about a third of the screen because the positions and the adds took up two thirds of the screen as I recall.

If I didn't have "tasks" to do, the constant drone of the.... announcers would afford me an excellent nap, waking up just in time for the finish!

Maybe several 75 lap races might spice up the racing a bit?!

Phil aka "jaded"
6-17-2014

I heard your rant about motosports coverage on both Autoline Daily and Autoline After Hours and have a comment and a correction:

First: I have long-ago stopped watching NASCAR except for the road races. But it's mostly because of the boring nature of the racing and that there are too damned many commercials. Various people online claim there are 33% commercials.

Sadly, some of that seem to be seeping into IMSA racing as well, since it was acquired by NASCAR.

Second: I hesitate to criticize Indycar coverage because it is so much better in production values and commentary than it used to be just a few years ago. On the ABC telecasts, Allen Bestwick has been a revelation, not so much because of what he says as for what he has been able to get from Eddie Cheever. He's making me rethink all the nasty things I have said about him in the past.

As for the broadcasts, yes I would have done without the "Wife and Girlfriend" split screen shots at the end of the race. But "ruined" is a strong word. Overall, I thought the 500 telecast was an improvement. Not perfect, but if you were watching, they kept you informed and interested.

Third: I wanted to point out a couple of things about the F1 team on NBC and NBCSN, which is clearly the best commentary group.

Leigh Diffey is NOT a Brit. He's Australian by birth and an American by Citizenship.

Of course you must know that David Hobbs' main job is ownership of David Hobbs Honda in Milwaukee, which he acquitted in 1986. And he is a member of the American Motorsports Hall of Fame. He might even be an Autoline listener.

I think Diffey, Steve Matchett and Hobbs do a great job. As does Bob Varsha, who fills in on Indycar and F1 broadcasts when Diffey has a conflict.

Ed Joras
6-17-2014

John,

Comments about the future use of aluminum were interesting, but one question. Since the F-150 is the biggest selling vehicle - car or truck - how do the Ford sales figures impact the percentages that have been forecast. In other words, if no more aluminum were used by anyone other than Ford, would the forecast percentages really be that much smaller?

Thanks,
Rupasaurus
Oof, tough question. We don’t have that kind of granular detail.

McElroy
6-17-2014

Flying Cars it’s very simple

1. Flying cars are easy: helicopters. They do everything you think a "flying car" should do...except what? They bigger than 8.5ft wide?

2. Lane width is the limit, air isn't very dense so the bigger the better, we want aircraft to be of very low density, with wide wingspans.

3. Licensing? Just two, DMV and FAA.

4. The chassis of a car and aircraft aren't too different. If you allow several hundred pounds "extra" weight in folding wings.... and realize that on an aircraft that you do NOT want windows, then know you need bigger brakes and tires, which will make the plane part a bit worse. The big difference is crashing, crash structures on cars are up to 1/3rd the weight, if not directly, then because you have to compromise the chassis to make things removable, which cuts big holes in what could otherwise be a nice teardrop shape with very high shear strength.

5. So with point 4 taken into account, flying cars would be easy, except that legally, you'd have to drive to the airport in a kind of bad car, then take off in what is a bad plane, so for people that want +10k in avionics, and +15k in wings and props, then they just buy a used plane to keep at said airport. Faster is better, but flying a flight plan isn't any more fun than driving an interstate. Unless you want to be extra-legal and take the back roads or do some loops. ;)

p.s. Taxi protest was huge publicity for Uber and they logged lots new clients.

p.p.s. America will be 50+% electric in 20 years even without mandates. Either nuclear/electric or the far more expensive solar option. Before you get annoyed with the word nuclear, a typical worker in a nuclear plant gets about as much radiation per day as he would in a fraction of a second of tanning on a temperate beach. The economics of nuclear power and EV cars absolutely destroy what we have now. Lithium is actually dirt-cheap in scale, and Tesla will be the first Li producer in scale, increasing global production tens of thousands of percent. Although there was almost no demand previously, you can literally shovel it off the ground and purifying it is not intensive either in power, labor, or investment. Batteries and motors are FAR simpler than any alternative in terms of parts and materials. The Focus/Corolla could cost 20% less...... That says it all. A few obsolescence cycles in, and any major OEM could switch to electric vehicles. The slowness is just paying off debts/machinery, wrapping up investments, and finishing obsolescence cycles. Its not nearly as big of a manufacturing leap as horse to car, and that happened quite quick.

Noah Rogers
6-17-2014

Hi John,

I own a 2006 Cobalt. It is sitting at the dealership. GM is currently paying me to drive a brand new Camaro. I've been driving this for about 3 months now. Chevy has offered $500 towards a trade in. Yet they have spent thousands on the rental! If they would've offered a couple thousand towards a trade I would have jumped all over that! I don't understand their logic. Given they don't think they'll finish the recall until October sometime, offering up a good incentive could save them thousands. Do you think that would be a good idea or am I just being greedy?

Larry
First off, why is it taking them 3 months to fix your car? But secondly, what a great point you make. As long as they’re spending that much money, why not use more of it to get people like you to buy a new car?

McElroy
6-17-2014

This is too incredible to be real.... but it is! So I bring in my Cobalt for the ignition switch recall 3 months ago and they give me a brand new Camaro rental car (from Enterprise) which just got an ignition switch recall! Wow!

Larry
Dude, don't come near me!

John McElroy
6-17-2014

Mr. McElroy,

I really enjoy your show and podcast. The other day, you mentioned that Uber had IPO'd. However, they did not IPO, they only did a round of financing. They are still private, and pre-IPO.

Keep up the great work with your enthusiastic coverage of the automotive news.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scott
Thanks for that correction, much appreciated.

McElroy
6-11-2014

With so many cities having problems with potholes on their streets, it is a challenge to avoid them with a regular 4 wheel car. With the DeltaWing having such a narrow front track and a wide rear track, it will be impossible to miss the potholes.

Ralph Norek
Good point.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hello John and Crew,

As always, I enjoy the show. GM has a real problem with this mega major recall, not only monetarily, and legally, but customer faith. For example: my cousin, who is a senior, receives her recall notification for her beloved Cobalt, it’s never given her a problem, so this is her first experience with a GM service department. She's told by the Tech he can't do the work because her battery isn't "sufficient", (the car has started all winter without incident).

So the free solution now cost her $129. Rather than buy a GM battery she gets in her rental and purchase a Sears replacement. She's happy to have her "baby" back but the experience with, what she perceived to be an (unscrupulous) GM representative has soured her with the whole company. And this is what General Motors has to be concerned about going forward. Customer loyalty.

Mike from Philly
Sad to hear. GM seems to be doing well in customer satisfaction in other areas, but when you sour a customer there’s no excuse. We’ll run your letter, so hopefully the right people will read it.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hi John,

Without needing to see the dash, I wonder if our autonomous drivers will know when to turn on their lights? I encounter more and more cars at night not using their headlights! I know most of the time it’s the backlit IP’s making drivers think their lights are on. It’s dangerous! With all the mandates, cameras, sensors, airbags, etc., you’d think makers could figure this one out!

In my ’67 Bronco, I KNOW when my lights are on. My newer Lexus with always-on dash and “safety” daytime running lights … not so much!

Barry Thiessen
Malibu, CA
Interesting observation. With backlit electronic gauges becoming more popular it’s easy to see how some people may not realize that their headlights are not on. On the other hand, more and more cars are coming equipped with an “automatic” setting for the headlamps that turns them on at dusk. Maybe “automatic” headlamps as standard equipment would solve the problem. For those who hate the idea, you can always turn off the “automatic” setting.

McElroy
6-11-2014

I think I know why Jeep is doing the Easter egg thing. There's just so much you can do with a lump of metal and 4 wheels. These days, all cars look alike. Without a badge, it's difficult to tell a Subaru from an Audi from a Hyundai from an Acura from a . . .

Since the big design features are all looking the same, they have to go to the little ones to find a place to differentiate their look. Pretty cool, though.

Ken Silva
Laveen, AZ
6-11-2014

So, this bombshell that was just dropped about Automobile magazine, where does that leave all of us long-time subscribers? Will TEN offer money back for the unused balance? Print is the only way I enjoy reading...I stare at a computer all day, at work. Why would I want to do the same at home?

It's a real shame this has happened. Automobile writing had a wonderful mix that included a great deal of humor....not only was it informative, but it was also entertaining. Very few other magazines had this level of creativity in their writing.

Ernie K
6-11-2014

Ok I turned in my lease on the 2 door Cadillac CTS coupe... Looked at a bunch of Subaru's, looked at the Lexus RX350 and also the Infiniti G50...The Infiniti came close to what I wanted but at $440 a month the lease was another 70 bucks.

I drive more now, needed 18,000 miles instead of 15,000...So I was in a pickle John. Wanted luxury, better fuel economy and some speed and there was nothing $370 a month in the luxury segment. I mean it was TUMBLEweeds.................!!!

I needed something ASAP...I was stuck. I was an automotive lover that couldn't find a car he liked at a price he liked!

One random Friday 2 weeks ago I had off and my friend needed me to pick her up she was getting her older 2008 white VW EOS a new ignition coil and needed a ride home until they fixed it. I saw the 2014 Jetta...I snubbed my nose then starting reading some stuff on the sticker like a new 1.8 litter Turbo motor and I looked under the car and saw OMG they put in an independent rear suspension now in 2014 instead of the cheapened beam axel! So I said lets try it and I took it out and it even had this exotic technology called a manual transmission! A damn good 5 speed at that with a buttery smooth shift action and a light clutch. I hit the gas not expecting much and Vrrroooom it took off like really well...Checked the statistics online and found out it goes 0-60 in about 7.3 seconds with the manual.

Then saw the gas mileage 26 city 36 highway!

The dealer didn't have an upper SE trim level though with a sunroof I wanted and they only had 1 white one with a manual and I hate white! I looked on the interweb found a reflex Silver one with the SE package and a sunroof and connectivity from another dealer in north New Jersey an hour away. I went there that weekend and drove it found the leather steering wheel was a lot nicer and leatherette seats nicer and the sunroof and alloy wheels nicer and I leased it!

Payment $246 a month now instead of $370 with 18,000 miles a year now...The car's MSRP was only $23,000 at the end of the lease I can buy it for 10 grand on the dot!

This is why VW is not selling...If I had not driven the car on a whim by accident I would have NEVER known how much they updated them for 2014 and I am a car enthusiast!!

Herein lies the problem...Marketing...!!!!

I had to drive the car by accident to buy it! VW Das Auto Cognitive Dissonance I called it!

I love my new car and it turns, stops and goes well and I was getting 40MPG going to work the other day!

More Americans need to know this John.... Why is VW's high command not screaming the old 2.5 litter i5 Weinerschnitzel mobile now has a turbo without stepping up to the GLI!! Why don't they put independent rear suspension on a Super Bowl add instead of Darth Vader’s baby boy?

DAS Auto better DAS MARKET!!!

Until you drive one you will never know how close the things are to an Audi A4 from a few years ago only better...

Don from NJ
Don,

Great story, thanks for sharing with us, and into Viewer Mail it goes, so the VW Marketing folks can read it, too.

McElroy

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv