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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subject: automotive technicians and poor pay for the knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

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

John McElroy

Hi John

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

Thanks I love your shows!


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

John McElroy

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

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



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

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

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

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

John McElroy

After Hours #368:

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

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

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

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

I swear that Marchionne fellow is a Jonah.

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

On a different note:

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

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



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

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

Thanks for the informative presentation!

Bob Jacobs

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Thanks and keep up the good work!


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

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

John McElroy

Guys, I’m a big fan, been watching the daily show for over 5 years, but enough about the Demon, why such a strong (daily) focus on a limited edition – keep the big picture in mind – as you say global industry
Adam Romanski

It seems Pres. Trump is well practiced in the “start high and negotiate down “ philosophy of business.  In  respect to proposing an import tax he’ll probably propose a higher amount planning to eventually negotiate a lower import tax, if he’s planning to call for an  import tax at all.  I think the automotive shareholders and the Wall Street money people would weigh In on the tax idea also.
Jim Adcock

Hello Sean/John,
On Autoline Daily episode 2065 (March 14, 2017), you have mentioned that heavy trucks sales are sliding downward in US and Canada. Does this have anything to do with the use of glider kits in the trucking industry?

We don’t have hard data but it’s unlikely that gliders (new trucks that use older, rebuilt powertrains) fully account for the massive drop in heavy truck sales in the US and Canada. Even so, you raise a good point. No doubt they’ve had an impact.

John McElroy

You mentioned that the Chrysler 300 is based on an Daimler \ Chrysler era platform.  That implies that modern day "mid-priced" platforms are much better than a 2001 MB platform.  It seems that with minor updating the difference between each generation of any platform would be less and less.  Would the average driver notice a significant difference between an updated old platform and new?  Twenty years in the future will new platforms be much better than current?
Neil G

Great question!

Keeping an existing platform and updating it can be a very good strategy for an automaker. The average car buyer will probably not notice the difference. But safety and fuel economy regulations keep getting tougher and that means automakers have to band-aid their old platform to make it stronger and lighter. At some point you hit a crossover point where it’s better and cheaper to go with a clean sheet and incorporate all your lessons-learned in the new platform. In 20 years, you can be sure that platforms will be superior to the ones we have today.

John McElroy

Hi John,
    I have a question. Is it possible that we will ever see Jim Hall or Jason Vines on AAH in the near future. I miss seeing Jim "The Man that Knew to Much" and Jason "Mr. Controversy" himself.
    Also will Mr. Bob Lutz be making another visit soon. I bought and read all of his books recently,one after another,because they are so hard to put down and I have some questions for him.
    I have to say that I totally look forward to every Thursday at 3 PM as to me as every year passes the show's just keep getting better and better. I do wish that our PBS station [ WVIZ ] carried Autoline this Week although I do watch it through your website.
    Thank for wonderful programing,Dale leonard,Cleveland,Ohio

Though none of them are on the schedule right now, we will definitely have them all back on the show at some point.

John McElroy

Just heard a quick blurb on a Consumer Reports podcast about the new Giulia they purchased the 280 HP version and love to drive it.  Raved about the handling and the power. Then the kicker came along, in a couple of weeks of ownership it has been back to the dealer 4 times. I guess FCA hasn’t quite got the assembly quality down yet. It might have made sense for them to spend extra time making sure that the vehicles were put together at a level equal to the competition. Secondly the highly qualified and vetted dealers should be checking the cars over thoroughly before delivery. How can they ever rebuild a brand image tarnished by poor assembly quality and poor service with a start like this?
What a shame the initial execution isn’t up to the design and handling of this beautiful car.
Michael Gelven

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

John McElroy

John,  As always, I enjoyed your insight today on the prediction  by the IEA of surging oil prices in  the next  three years.  Indeed gas prices have been low,  good,  and stable for a while now, leading to increased sales of larger , more profitable trucks and SUVs  for the American Market.   These are what Americans  want to buy !!   But if gas prices surge in a few years, the Big Three will suffer.   And we will face increasing dependence on foreign oil,  if we haven’t  invested in new wells of our own.   Which brings me to my question…..whatever happened to our plans for energy independence with renewable ethanol ??   There was a big push a number of years ago to produce  ethanol from biomass,  switch grass, wood chips, etc.,     but that seems to have all fallen by the wayside.  I know the oil companies make money from producing gasoline and NOT  from making  ethanol,  but our country  and our auto industry need an energy policy  to keep fuel costs reasonable  and independent of world markets.        E-85  ready cars are here, but E-85 production does not seem  to be in line with probable future needs.       Rex

US ethanol production for gasoline is running at record levels. But it's still corn based ethanol. We need cellulosic ethanol and it's been very slow in coming. The EPA is still counting on it to reduce CO2 emissions.

John McElroy

Hello – I am a huge fan of your site and podcasts, and wanted to ask you to help me out with a request I have (I would be very surprised if you’ve gotten this one before).
I have loved cars since I can remember, and now that I am retiring this June, was hoping to visit Detroit. Because of its connection to the auto business, it’s a city I always wanted to visit. Living in the Boston area, there just aren’t enough car sites to check out (though we do have Assembly Square Mall in Somerville, MA, named after an old Ford/Edsel plant closed in the late 50’s).
I wanted your advice on what would be a nice itinerary. I’d like to see assembly plants, museums, historic sites, interesting corporate headquarters buildings (currently in use or not), and any off the beaten track attractions. Sort of like a car lover’s trip to Detroit tour.
I will probably travel alone as I can’t seem to convince my wife or any of my friends to come along, and could spend up to 4-7 days, depending on how much there is to see. Was thinking of the dream cruise weekend, but not sure if that would be too crowded for a first time visit.
Thanks in advance for your help,
Eric Wilker

Here’s what we would recommend.

Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. Even though the official date for 2017 is August 19th, there will be plenty of action every evening on Woodward starting a week before that.

Henry Ford museum.

Piquette plant museum.

Ford Rouge Plant tour (tickets available at the Henry Ford museum).

Stahl’s Automobile Collection

Depending on your schedule, you could consider attending the Eyes on Design event on June 18, or the Concours d”Elegance at St. Johns on the last weekend in July.

There’s plenty more to do, but this should start you on your planning!

John McElroy

Hi John,
Your definition of an alliteration to justify the 37 Seconds reviews was wrong according to my wife.  An alliteration has the same letter or sound for all the words in the alliteration.  That being true, you should change the reviews to Sixty-Seven Seconds.
Still watching even when enjoying the winter from sunny warm Arizona.
Al Jadczak

I agree that cars need more legroom. I am 6 foot and in the 92% of people who can fit in 100% of car seats and I am feeling like more and more car companies are making airplane seats for coach passengers instead of car customers. Not only is legroom shrinking but the seats are getting narrower the side bolsters larger and more "Sporty" and the dead pedals are getting smaller and in weirder places as we are switching to more FWD/AWD platforms making my legs go right and my body pinched in straight. 
You should do a show on this and compare car seats from 10, 15 and 20 years ago to the iron maiden's of today! 


On Autoline After Hours #367 Bonus Footage you mentioned Tesla does not do trade-ins.

Well in fact they do, they value your car (based on mileage and condition) and you pay the difference for the new one.

The old car is reconditioned and sold as CPO - Certified Pre-Owned.

You’re correct that Tesla takes trade-ins of used Teslas. But if you want to trade in a different make, you’re out of luck, they won’t take it.

Hi John,
Do you think GM might be making a critical mistake in light of Johnson Controls on AAH of 48-volt mild hybrid modules selling for as little as $2,500 and the possibility of the Bolt being the starting a new generation of electric vehicles.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
No, GM like all other OEMs must deal with the CARB ZEV mandate and only a BEV will allow them to do that.


Sorry to gush, but I just have to say 'kudos" on your excellent "The Future Is Closing In" show from CES!

Not to minimize your own formidable expertise, it's your willingness to allow other smart, well-informed voices to be "the stars of the show" that makes Autoline such compelling television - both for committed enthusiasts, and for anyone else interested in the future of transportation. Your typical integration of pertinent graphics and video is also greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Andy Morrill

The idea that hybrid battery packs must be replaced after several years usage at a cost of several thousand dollars seems to defeat any cost savings of hybrid power.  I wouldn’t by a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle that knowingly was going to require it’s engine to be replaced in a few years of usage.
Jim Adcock

Mr. Elroy,
   You really made some great comments about Auto Shows in general. I attended this year's Auto Show They may as well  have just unveiled the Edsel. Nothing really new except for technology There was a lack of real concept cars. No displays like the GM Futurerama either. Cadillac is bringing back the hardtop.A retread idea. I could careless about Autonomous Cars.Where are the cars of the future?
   I want something different like a revamped version of the Chrysler Turbine Car, a hovercraft or anything moving closer to the Jetson's Cartoon. The Edsel was going to be something new but had four pneumatic tires,an engine,transmission and a steering wheel It has been over a hundred years an I see no movement forward. What are your thoughts?
I think autonomous cars are the future. They represent a staggering technological breakthrough and will have as much of an impact on society and the landscape as the first horseless carriages did a century ago. But they are still a decade away from appearing in showrooms and so automakers are not bringing them to auto shows—at least not yet.

In the meantime, I agree with you. Automakers need to bring back concept cars to delight and excite the public about automobiles and the industry that makes them.

John McElroy


I'm a regular viewer of after hours and find it quite informative.  Especially the panel yesterday the women on were terrific with facts and opinions.  Great show.



Left coast viewer lol

Thanks for your comments. We love having Alissa and Stephanie on the show because they’re so knowledgeable!

John McElroy

Have enjoyed the shows this week and look forward to catching up on yesterday's Autoline After Hours.  While I expected a 30 minute advertisement, the Amelia Island show discussion was fascinating, informative and intriguing.  I'm taking a friend to the show largely based on his interview, so marketing works!  We'll be part of the Hamburger Saturday crowd....
Have a great weekend and thanks again for making a great show.

Great show today/yesterday. Wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying the show the last few months. Please keep up the great work!
Thanks for the great feedback, much appreciated!

Why is it that the diesel engine suffers from a seemingly endless string of troubles when  it is such a long-lived, durable engine?  Is this a drive by electric car devotees to eliminate a competitor?
Jim Adcock

The engines are pretty much bullet-proof. The problem is that VW cheated on its emissions system and it looks like FCA may have tried to skirt the rules. Other than that, there really aren’t any problems with diesels.

I agree. The "Auto Show" is going away, sooner than later. We attended the Chicago auto show just to be thoroughly disappointed. No Tesla. Mainly just production vehicles that I could see at my local dealer.

A new addition is the carnival like rides, i.e. Small tracks/simulated off road that you get driven around, whoopee (not), with long lines too.

This (2017 Chicago) is probably the LAST auto show I will attend unless things change drastically.


Nice to see Peter Delorenzo back on Autoline in any capacity. I miss his ability to break through the clutter and I love his unique vision on the industry.  I know things change over time and for good reason but it's nice to hear him. Speaking of seeing people from the past. Where is Jim Hall and his brother these days?  Keep up the good work.
Gavin Smith

Glad you like having Peter back, so do we.

Jim Hall is an analyst at General Motors, while Bob is a designer at Geely. Since they work at car companies they can’t come on Autoline to talk about what’s going on in the auto industry. But if any of that changes in the future we’d invite them back in a flash.

John McElroy

Hi guys!  I have a quick question that I'm hoping that you can help with:
Are you aware of any head to head comparisons between the various traction/stability controls offered by automakers?  Are they essentially the same?  Are they developed by OEMs or suppliers?  So many vehicles offer tracking/stability control but it's hard to tell what value they add to a purchase.
I love the Afterhours podcast - thank you!

We’re not aware of any head to head comparisons of these systems. Even though automakers purchase the hardware from suppliers, they typically calibrate it to their own needs and tastes. On mass market vehicles you probably won’t find a lot of difference from one automaker to another. But with performance cars it’s a different story. Development engineers with Corvette, Porsche, etc. take great pride in how they calibrate their systems and always provide a variety of different settings (track, comfort, etc.) that the driver can choose from.

Hi John,
I actually did the math for my sister who thought about buying a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and it made sense when the price of gas was over $5.00 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area; but once the price started to fall, it made absolutely no sense and bought a Lexus LS430 instead.
My nephew who bought a Cadillac ELR on Ebay actually had the chance to buy a Cadillac CTS-V; but with traffic being so heavy in the bay area, his conclusion was that he would never have a chance to test the 556 hp supercharged V8.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

Good AAH show last week on seats. Do you know about the Bose seat for class 8 trucks. Fascinating application. 


Thanks for sending, we had not seen this.

John McElroy

John I have to be the umpteenth person to point out the thin and rotating seats in early ‘60s Chrysler Imperials (and others I’m willing to bet)
Rick Glesner

Thanks for sending this. I knew that GM had swivel seats in the 1960’s but was not aware that the Imperial had a front passenger seat that would turn and face backwards.

John McElroy

I recall Opel being considered important given the engineering and small car expertise in Germany.
So, if Diesels and small cars are dying.. and they can engineer small cars in Korea, India, or even the US (when the actually want to do it well) maybe the perceived need for the German Russelsheim staff is reduced.
Plus, key Diesel technology might be from Delphi or Bosch anyway.
Do they have an inflexible high cost workforce combined with factories that need major upgrading?
How damaged is the Opel brand?   Is it repairable and at what cost?    Do they really care about 6 percent market share in Europe?
Could they sell into the UK market with some other source of vehicles besides Opel?
Overall, I guess the questions are how valuable are their assets: staff, factories, brand vs how big the deficiencies/liabilities of their staff, factories, brand in the Opel/Vauxhaul markets.
But it is a big problem in that even when the market is doing somewhat well they still can't turn a profit.


GM has lost money on Opel for nearly two decades. And with Brexit it sees no hope of ever generating decent profit returns. That’s why it’s interested in dumping it. GM management is coming under pressure to do more about boosting its stock price. GM stock shot up 5% on just the news that it might dump Opel. This may be the real motivation to get rid of it.

Europe is a massive market, and in an industry that depends almost entirely on scale, it’s hard to see how GM can exit such a large market and remain one of the largest automakers in the world. This will become even more obvious with the move to EVs. Scale will be critical to lowering costs.

The real puzzle is why was Ford able to turn its European operations around and post a billion dollar profit, while GM can’t seem to find a way to get Opel back on its feet.


Hi guys

Great show

Regarding autonomous vehicles.

Who will insure them

If the car is driving in autonomous mode and gets in a accident where its at fault (This will happen).

Who pays

Its  not the fault of the owner of the car.

Does liability revert back to the manufacturer.

Auto company's will not carry this liability.

How will it be handled

Thanks and keep up the good work


If an autonomous car gets in an accident it will be the fault of the car company and any suppliers that contributed to the autonomous technology.

Since autonomous cars should get in far fewer accidents automakers will happily shoulder the insurance burden, or better stated, they will buy insurance for any eventuality.

We are going to see a migration from personal liability to product liability.

John McElroy

It has been said “Love may make the world go ‘round, but it is money that greases the axel.” If the automotive world can successfully get the driving public off of a “Mideast oil diet”, then that would truly give horizon to “world peace.”  There are of course several barriers to new technology.  I like algae fuel, but so far way too expensive at the pump.  Hydrogen looks exciting, but  no infrastructure. Same for propane, and charging stations. The question that still begs for an answer – “What is the most economically feasible?”
David Sprowl

First off, U.S. oil imports from OPEC have fallen 70% in the last 6 years. Total oil imports are down 25%.

Ethanol, natural gas and propane are available in significant quantities but have a weak distribution system. Also, vehicles require expensive fuel tanks and delivery systems to use CNG and LPG.

Electricity for EVs is currently the best alternative based on what you’re asking. Electricity is produced with natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar and wind. No other energy is produced from such a wide variety of sources.

Hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas. There are other ways to make it but natural gas reforming is the method of choice right now.

John McElroy

Hello John,

What do you think of this report? New delinquent US car loans at 8-year peak: NY Fed survey What does it say about auto industry?

thank you,

Venkata pavan raja
These alarmist articles pop up every year or so. Total auto loan delinquencies are a very small percentage of all outstanding auto loans. Yes, they are on the rise but certainly have not risen to the point to set off any alarm bells with the U.S. Federal Reserve, nor with the credit rating agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Hi John,
One thing great about an auto show is that you can get into cars and sit in them especially if you're in the market, now with smartphones, you can take pictures and make personal notes about each car before possibly going to a dealership; this is one thing you never can do when visiting a webpage.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

Hi John,
    I have been going to the Cleveland Auto Show for well over 40 years and we have never,in all this time,had a media day,a major announcement or new vehicle introduction at our show that would make nation wide news.
    I am wondering why? Cleveland has two Ford plant's close to the City { Brookpark Engine and Lorain Assembly} and I would think that since Ford is big in the area why they never have done a "huge" announcement like Detroit or Chicago.
    Also for the last 10 years I have seen the show size shrink and it's slowly becoming a huge dealership type of show rather then an Auto show like Detroit or Chicago or even now New York.
    Do you have any idea why the Cleveland Auto Show is getting ignored by the Auto Manufacturer's. There are no big media day's that would bring in You and Michelle and all the other big name people to publicize the show and put us back on the map. It's not like Ohio is not an auto manufacturer state as we not only have Ford but were the first state to have a foreign car company build a Honda and even they never have a huge announcement. I would have thought they would have made a huge presentation of the NSX in Cleveland but that never happened.
    Thank's from a very loyal listener of Autoline Daily,Autoline This Week and especially Autoline After Hour's. ( PS: Please keep AAH Live)
    Dale Leonard,Cleveland,Ohio

Whether or not an auto show has any media days is determined by the size of the market. Cleveland is just not big enough to attract the media. In fact, Detroit is not big enough either. It only gets the media attention that it does because it has such a large concentration of automakers and suppliers who make a big deal out of their home show.

Even Chicago’s media days don’t offer much material for the media. There were no new cars introduced there, only new trim lines. The only U.S. shows that get major announcements from automakers are Detroit, LA and NY. And even at that automakers are starting to question the value of media days at any auto show, since they only get 20 minutes for a press conference and they spend millions to get that.

John McElroy

PS: Thanks for your feedback on keeping AAH live!

John, I was glad to see AAH at the Chicago Auto Show.  I grew up in NW Indiana and attended the show throughout my life.  My earliest memory of the show is seeing James Bond's DB5 with machine guns out, steel plate up, wheel spinner out and everything else on the car on display.  It's a great show and one of your guest pointed out that it is truly a consumer's show.  I'm headed there this weekend.  I hope you, Gary and the AAH staff enjoyed yourselves in Chicago.

Perhaps the pressure brought by Tesla has something to do with softening the maintenance experience.  After all, the Tesla requires very little periodic maintenance.
Teslas may not need much maintenance, but they charge an arm and a leg for the maintenance you have to do. Check out this link.

I really enjoyed your segment on the hands off road trip - especially nice to hear concern about infrastructure support. I am curious to learn more. 
Thanks - Kevin Gary


Each year you put on an "After Hours" show at the Detroit Auto Show.  Next year, why not spend a portion of that hour long program showing the viewer selected vehicles at the show you consider most noteworthy.  You certainly could find plenty to talk about when describing either the styling design or technology features of the vehicles you select.

Faithful Viewer

I have given thought to buying a Elio's vehicle, but their track
record has to many red flags to buy into. A deposit and wait
and see? It's Unfortunate for Elio because it seemed like
such a good idea.
Now, I think; where can they go from here? Sale of company? but
who would buy? If Tata wanted to get into USA, this would be
the product they could get their foot in the door and they are
good at making three wheel vehicles and a low price in India
I don't see any of the Major car makers getting involved.
Last note, I would love to see Ford split itself up and make
each division accountable for proving their product line and
producing a profit. Something along the lines of VW divisions
for each autonomous brands organization and profits. Last note,
I read an article today, Ford CEO wants Trump to lower MPG
requirements. Short term or Long term I think it's a bad Idea because
competitors already have cars that meet and will exceed present
and future Federal and California's MPG. I read Toyota 2018 Camery's
new Hybrid will get over 50mpg.
Way to lose the race and profits by thinking Old ways. EV's, Hybrids
they're only getting better and the price to run even cheaper.
I want a plug-in as soon as I can afford one. I can justify
spending the money if it pays off in over the life of the vehicle
Thanks, Dave Arn.
Viva Las Vegas
An Autoline D. viewer for many years.

I think Elio made a mistake by trying to go too big, too fast. Instead of buying a monstrous 3 million square foot ex-GM plant, it should have started out in a much smaller facility and see what it takes to grow. Many start-ups forget the cardinal rule: start small, think big, move fast.

Let’s see what happens with the CAFE rules. My guess is the deadline will be moved back, (from 2025 to 2030) not that the standards themselves will be lowered. But we will have to see what actually happens.

John McELroy

Hi John,

long time since I have emailed you, so might send a few. As GM and Ford are stopping the manufacture of big, powerful, affordable rear wheel drive cars in Australia,
(Commodore and Falcon are both more than ten years old) there is a market opening of 30 to 35000 units for cars of this type.
A Kia Stinger would have the opportunity to claim at least 5 - 10,000 of these.

Ford is going to serve up the Mondeo/Fusion and GM an Opel replacement, both front wheel drive, honestly John, why bother, I would buy a Camry, bullet proof reputation, dealers all through Australia.

A Kia Stinger with a brand new design with all the latest tech, fixed price servicing, 7 year unlimited KMs coverage
and a reputation for quality AND high performance rear wheel drive is a serious alternative where there will soon be little choice! (even at AU$40 to 50,000) Hatch backs are accepted well in this market.

So I reckon the Stinger will be a winner in Australia John.
Did I mention it looks awesome too!

Keep up the great work at Autoline!

Regards Tom C, Melbourne Australia

PS: Hyundai/Kia put the indicators on the right hand side of the steering column where they should be on a right hand drive car!!!

Thanks so much for the feedback. Very astute observation.

John McElroy

Hi John, I was just catching up on AAH & when you were talking about VW and their diesel scandal on the presents/coal episode and I remembered an idea that crossed my mind when the whole things first came to light. Why can't VW just force the cars to run in 'e-test mode' all the time? From everything that I've heard, it would involve either re-flashing or replacing the ECU. Neither of which should be that difficult.

Sure, it would likely result in reduced power & fuel economy (otherwise, what was the point of cheating in the first place). But so what? I haven't heard of any regulation that stipulates that a car must make XYZ hp, or get at least such and such mpg. But emissions regulations are like that: thou shalt not pollute more than ___!

In fact, that should be the only allowable fix in my opinion. Thats the engine control map that VW presented to regulators, so thats what the owners should be driving.

Obviously, resale value of those cars would plummet, and VW would be facing a 'diminished value' class action lawsuit .... but hasn't that happened anyway? 

Look forward to more Autoline in 2017.


You’re right, they could do that. But you’re also right that no one would want those pokey cars. So, if VW has to buy them back anyway, and no one would want them after reflashing them, why even make the effort? Even if you did reflash them, you’d end up with a lot of people dissatisfied with the cars, telling their tales of woe to all their friends and neighbors.

Hi John, 
I'm sitting here waiting in my car at the bank teller window. It's taking much longer than normal, so I stop just sitting on my brake pedal and put the car in park. 
So the question came to mind, which is best for the engine?  Being idled in park, or being left braked? 
I know idling at cold start is bad for an engine overt the long term, but just not sure if warm engine idle causes any harm. 
Your thoughts? 
Michael J. Brown 
The best thing to do is turn the engine off if you have to wait longer than normal. If you’re idling you’re just wasting fuel. Of course, if it’s freezing outside you may want to keep the engine idling and the heat on.

But to your question: it’s better to put it in Park and let it idle. With it in Drive and your foot on the brake you are putting a load on the engine and it will burn slightly more fuel.

There’s an old wives tale that starting an engine uses more fuel than keeping it running. Even if that was ever true, it is not the case with fuel injection. Remember, stop/start systems in today’s cars will even turn off an engine at a Stop sign. That uses less fuel and puts our fewer emissions.

John and Sean,
To start with, I think the Jetta is the best looking car on the road in spite of the 'writers' calling for more 'cutting edge'.
With that aesthetic in mind, I agree with the best picks for design for the Detroit show:  The Traverse is best and the Kia and Nissan are ok.
What's with that Equinox (I think) with the faux fin before the D pillar?  It's incoherent with the rest of the lines, an obstruction and not necessary.  Speaking of incoherent lines: How about the Camry and Odyssey??  Absolutely awful!!  The best Camry design was the '14, in keeping with my aesthetic.  And, the best Ody was the first gen of the large version, '99 to '04?
If the Traverse can swallow a 4x8, I'm going to check it out.
The Camry and Odyssey look hideous to a lot of people. They also sell very well!

Are the eVOLVE wheels for ford focus available for purchase? thanks from lyman hoyt
To our knowledge the eVolve wheels, which improve aerodynamics of a car, are only available through OEMs at this point.

Maybe in person the Lexus LS is great.  In pictures, it seems to fall apart after the B pillar.  That window treatment at the C pillar makes me say, What the ___?  Then there is that '05 7 series rear deck.
The Genesis flagship is, again, coherent and looks the part.  Maybe there is an attempt at redefining elegance with the LS which is laudable, but they don't seem to pull it off.  Was it rushed?
There was a similar complaint regarding the CT6 with the rear not living up to the front.  The LS rear is busy enough, but something is definitely wrong.  My favorite Cadillac design is the '67 Eldorado for a bench mark.

Thanks John. I appreciate your response and your humor. 
Have you ever seen this exchange between the economist Milton Friedman and a young Michael Moore on the "economic calculus" of Ford's Pinto design? This has to do with the same cost, benefit, and risk analysis made in the manufacturing of automobiles, as well as everything else in our society. Society cannot afford to save every life at ANY cost. We must strike a balance and I assume reasonable risk. That's life. 

Ignoring the disabled and DUI convicts? Are you suggesting they can't use public transportation, seeing eye dogs, or personal companions/escorts?
As to the suggestion for lowering the speed limit to "25 mph" - that was my example of something that would "save so many lives" but the costs would are so prohibitive to be unreasonable. As preposterous a suggestion as I believe forcing autonomous cars and the infrastructure expense on the taxpayer. 

Kevin Gary
Thanks for the link! What a hoot to see a young Michael Moore, who looked very different than he does today.
But this clip bolsters my argument. Using Friedman’s logic, it’s obvious that autonomy will more than pay for itself. I believe that by 2025 autonomy will be a $2,500 retail option (retail, not the lower manufacturing cost). If the industry sells 17 million cars with this technology, it will cost consumers $42.5 billion.
Today, most courts place the value of a life at $2.5 million. There are about 35,000 fatalities in the U.S. every year. That means the cost to society is $87.5 billion, or more than twice the cost of trying to prevent these fatalities. And that doesn’t even count the people who are badly injured. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic, closed-head injuries. Those people can be disabled for life, costing society anywhere from $20 to $25 million apiece. So the cost-benefit analysis argues even more strongly for AVs. We lose by waiting.
Check out this link.
As far as DUI and disabled people are concerned, no they can’t use public transportation for their everyday transportation. What public transportation? With a few exceptions in the US, there isn’t any. And even where there is public transportation, what about “the last mile?” Who gets them to and from the train station or bus stop?
Seeing eye dogs can only help when blind people are walking. The dogs can’t get you across town, to the next town, or clear across the state. And besides, none of these people want to rely on others to get where they need to go. They want to be independent and take care of themselves. AVs will give them their independence.
John McElroy

Don't take any of this personal, because I love your shows and enjoy watching and listening to you and Sean report on automotive industry subjects. Keep up the good work.
In response to your answers to Marshall's question on AD#2013:
Your statement that "autonomous cars may be able to get rid of 90% of all traffic accidents" sounds like pure speculation. Please answer these questions. 
Do you have any peer reviewed studies to validate these assertions? 
Do you know how much it will cost to upgrade our infrastructure to accommodate autonomous vehicles? (Regardless of how impressive GPS/GIS/radar/infrared/sonar technology are there will be many direct and indirect costs)
You would like to believe you are "safely" proclaiming the benefits of self driving cars with just enough ambiguity to avoid being accused of misrepresentation. It is not inappropriate to suggest like you repeatedly do that self driving cars will eliminate as much as 90% of all accidents. You don't know that. It sure sounds like pie in the sky from a Silicon Valley promoter. I often wonder if you are applying enough skepticism when you report these assertions on this subject.

I believe the benefactors of autonomy are trying to gloss over the cost/benefit analysis with promises of saved lives in hopes that taxpayers will not realize the costs outweigh the benefits - much the same as they do in other life saving measures like "lowering the national speed limit to 25 mph because if nobody moves nobody gets hurt." We can't support our families driving at that speed. 
When I see these kind of exaggerated promotional statements it makes me think the automotive community is laying the groundwork and developing a preconceived notion that there will be so many lives saved that it will be worth any cost our politicians levy against our wages. One thing is certain there will be hundreds of politicians using these false preconceived notion's to the benefit of their political careers. It appears to me that technologists from Silicon Valley are trying to create the "next disruptive technology" for the sake of their personal profit.
In my opinion autonomous transportation may be worthwhile in a limited, closed, and highly controlled system like Disney or central London, but not worth the costs in an open and mixed one. My 2016 Acura RDX Advance AWD has collision mitigation and avoidance, and stability enhancing features that substantially broaden the margins of safety. The automatic cruise control is a perfect example how following distances and response times can be enhanced and managed with an automated system. I believe much can be done with focused technologies like these that will provide substantial improvements to accident injury rates. These are areas that will provide enough benefits to warrant the cost. And no I'm not suggesting that some government regulatory agency force these technologies on us, but rather that automobile manufacturers use these as marketing tools.
And finally... I do recognize we may not be using the same language. That "autonomous systems" is a class of technologies that are independent of the human, and that phrases like "self driving" or "autonomous car" are either narrow or broadly applied depending on the context of a given discussion. We all could do better if we were to tighten up our language.
THANKS - Kevin
PS - I can't wait to see kids in the neighborhood rendering autonomous passengers helpless and annoyed with an abrupt and neck wrenching halt - using nothing more than a soccer ball tossed across the road.
Kevin Gary

1. I’m not the one who came up with the number that 90% of all traffic fatalities would be eliminated by autonomous cars. The automotive R&D and safety community did. It’s a measured, scientific fact that roughly 94% of all accidents are caused by human error. Autonomous technology can eliminate almost all of that error. The articles about this are all over the web, you can easily look them up yourself.

2. Who has ever proposed lowering the national speed limit to 25 mph? No one serious, that’s for sure. It sounds like you made this up.

3. Of course the technologists in Silicon Valley are developing the next disruptive technology so they can become fabulously rich. You thought they were doing this to help the widows and orphans?

4. ADAS systems are a good step, but they only help those who can already drive a car. Another benefit of autonomy is that it opens up mobility to all segments of society: the blind, the physically disabled, the old, the young, and those with DUI problems. Ignoring them is selfish.

5. We already tightened up our language. We always use the SAE Levels 1-5 to describe what facet of autonomy we’re reporting on. In fact we’ve published the SAE chart a couple of times on Autoline Daily. You can always use the search bar to find it.

John McElroy

My most hated car ever owned is hands down a 1965 Chevy Corvair. It was unsatisfying at any speed!

Hi John,
   I have noticed that most of the new products from GM that are coming out are going to have a diesel engine option. Have you noticed this trend? The Chevrolet Colorado sales have been doing pretty well whats the take rate on the diesel engine?  I enjoy the show keep it up.

Thank you,
Glenn Firme

You’re right that GM is putting diesels in a few more vehicles, not most of them. The take rate for the diesel in the Colorado was about 10% in December, 2016, the most recent sales data available.


A 4-door is not a "sports car".


Was watching your opening segment from autoline daily yesterday on FCA violating the law yet again and then recently saw this headline in the Freep.


Yes we saw this too! But thanks for sending this along. We don’t always see everything that’s going on and we really appreciate our viewers helping to keep us up on what’s happening.

John McElroy

Oh deer Where do I begin....Well The 2018 Lexus LS doesn't have a V8 and wants to use a v6 with twin turbocharging. There goes the reliability...But don't throw that bay out with the bathwater. It has an over styled front end designed by a Tamagotchi video game designer. 5000 "elements" yippy!!! Just want I need to drop 100 grand on! 
Performance and v6 flagship for efficiency is a bit of cognitive dissonance...Why not make a true bespoke v8 with real technology like a 42V electrical system and an electric turbocharger. When Ford has a 10 speed gearbox in the F-150 it s not exactly ground breaking teechnology. LExus has no idea what this car should be...They are confused and made a S!@#-er instead of an LS!!!! 
The last gen car when it first came out before the spindle grill was a beautiful car..This thing is just too Anime less Lexus. 
Do they have no soul? Imagine if Porsche did something this stupid to the 911...(oh wait they did with the 996 fried egg headlights) 
I am so confused I am 35 I would rather buy a Toyota or a Porsche 911 or something of a hopped up VW instead. 
Don from New Jersey 

Hello my name is Brook Valliant.   Im looking for an article about a Buick Grand National that had an Eaton supercharger installed.
I came across part of a 4 page article appearing to be from a 1986 magazine.   At the top of the clip I was able to see the authors name as John McElroy.
Im hoping that you would be able to email me a copy somehow or give me some more information so I can look further. 
Thank you, 
You need to search for an old copy of Automotive Industries magazine. It is not available online. The only place I can think of to look for a copy is at the National Historical Automotive History Collection in Detroit.

John McElroy

Yahoo “news” says this is the real reason for Ford’s decision.
What do you think of the news that Ford will not be building a new or investing in an existing - whatever the recent news was about?
Is there any evidence Ford is responding to pressure from POTUS Elect Trump?
If not isn’t this unusual that Ford would have changed course on such a major and strategic decision as “investing” $1.6 billion in new manufacturing?
It seems likely they changed their minds for political reasons, and not because of “strategic planning incompetence.”
Thanks -  Kevin Gary
We’ve NEVER seen a car company cancel plans for a new assembly plant after it publicly announced it would build it, after it informed government authorities it would build it, after it bought the land and got all the necessary building permits and infrastructure commitments, and after it forced many suppliers to start building plants nearby to supply it. Yes, it makes sense for Ford to adjust to changes in the marketplace. But small car sales were in the tank well before Ford publicly announced it was going to build that plant in April, 2016. That sure suggests that Trump’s threats were a major factor in getting those plans changed.

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