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9-27-2016


John:
 
I have a couple of comments about Christopher Grundler (Director, Office of Transportation & Air Quality, U.S. EPA) discussion.
 
Science doesn't tell us what standards to achieve.  Science may provide the tools to analyze the current situation but the standards are our choice.
 
The "science" is never finished -- it always evolves.  For example, Sir Isaac Newton created several physical laws.  The science was finished until Albert Einstein came along and moved the science along.  Just like the late night TV commercial, science is constantly saying “but wait, there is more.”
 
For the environmentalist, take the example of eliminating Freon from air-conditioning and refrigeration.  The elimination of Freon was supposed to fix the ozone hole.  We spend billions of dollars getting rid of Freon and the hole still exists.  We have not revisited that decision and identified what went wrong with the analysis.
 
In summary, our understanding of the environmental science is limited and we need to understand our limitations.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brian Little
9-27-2016


Brian,
 
Thanks for sharing your comments. We truly like hearing from all our viewers.
 
One thing to consider: the latest evidence shows that banning Freon is healing the ozone hole.
 
John McElroy
9-27-2016


John, i watch your show daily and i catch all the AAH and ATW shows, and when EV's are the topic, there's one point i don't hear much about when it comes to the public's acceptance of EV's.
Charge time.... it's not really the range that's the biggest issue, IMO it's charge time.
if/when EV's can be charged to full in 5 mins or less like filling up your tank at the gas station...then they will be widely accepted.
If you know that you can pull over someplace and charge it up in a few mins, people would be able to use it more like a normally fueled car.
 
Rob
Robert,

Great point. Charging time is very important. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Do you know when the 2017 Honda Odyssey will be available?

Thanks
The best we can tell you is that the next-gen Honda Odyssey is slated to go into production at Honda’s plant in Alabama in April, 2017. It would probably be on sale a month or so after that.
9-27-2016


John,
 
I'm sure that you are aware that Chevy announced that it is curtailing fleet sales in an effort to keep fleet sales from undermining the resale value of vehicles like the Impala.  This decision is not without consequences.  First, the theory is that they may sell fewer Impalas, but at a higher gross margin.  Kind of like gasoline: It's better for the manufacturer to sell one gallon of gas for five bucks than two and a half gallons at two dollars apiece.  So losing market share is not a sacrifice if it results in a net gain.
However, here's where the marketeers fail to account for losses: Chevy is forcing its present Impala owners to test-drive the competition every time they go travelling and have to rent a car.  Case in point: I had a long weekend in Nashville with friends and when I went to rent a car, I could have my choice of any one of a lot full of Nissans.  (Something to do with a vehicle assembly plant in a small town called Smyrna.)
One of my guests remarked "Wow! This is a really nice car."  It's notable that she is married to a Ford engineer and both drive Ford products.  So in this case, the Nissan test-drive was a success — for Nissan.
Speaking as a finance guy (taught finance for 20 years) I am not aware of how Chevy or anyone else could quantify losses in sales that stem from 'test drives' like these.  But it seems that from the prospective of the Chevy 'marketeers,' there are no losses if losses are not precisely quantifiable.  I disagree.
What do you think?
 
Clinton
Clinton,

Here’s the issue most automakers have with daily rental cars. The rental companies typically try to equip them as sparsely as possible to keep the price of the car low. Unlike your friends reaction to the Nissan, many renters think, “Geez, what a cheap car.” Next, rental companies typically keep cars for only 6 to 8 months. Then they sell them. These are brand new cars with lots of miles on them and they are sold at a significant discount. They can sell many thousands of them every month. That puts downward pressure on the prices of new cars, or forces an automaker to boost incentives to sell those new ones. Everybody in the business agrees that selling to the daily rental companies is best left to automakers with excess manufacturing capacity or who are running into a sales problem and need to dump a bunch of cars.

Even so you have a point. Renting a car can expose someone to a model or brand they had never considered before. A number of automakers will do this, but they are careful to match the cars to specific regions and airports to make sure the “right” people get in them. And even at that they are very judicious and do not put a bunch of cars into rental fleets.

A key reason why Chevy or any of the other GM brands are bringing in much higher transaction prices these days is thanks to GM reducing fleet sales and concentrating on retail sales. Honda taught the entire industry that this is a better way to go.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hi John,
 
This articles makes me wonder whether 'Ceramic' composites will make their way in car engines and whether there's sufficient time for a car company to invest the money with the big push towards zero emissions meaning fuel cell and/or electric cars.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco
Back in the early 1980s there was tremendous interest in using ceramics in engines. Caterpillar had a big R&D push with the Defense Department to come out with an “adiabatic” diesel that would not need a radiator—all the heat would be absorbed by ceramic coated pistons, valves, cylinder liners and combustion chambers. The DOD loved the idea because there would be no radiator to shoot out in battlefield situations. Isuzu even vowed it was going to build an all-ceramic diesel engine starting in 1986. Obviously, none of this came to happen. But who knows? Maybe it’s time to revive the idea.
9-27-2016


I'm sure someone's already mentioned it by now, but the Opel Karl mentioned in Autoline Daily is a sibling of the Chevrolet Spark, not the much bigger Trax. The crossover-style Rocks trim package was introduced in 2014 for the Opel Adam, a slightly smaller, premium 3-door model. Fiat, VW and Škoda (apparently pronounced Shkoda) have offered this type of package for years, as does the top level New Yaris (longer and wider than the old European Yaris sold in the US and Japan) introduced in Asian markets in 2014.
Andrew,

Thanks for the correction. You're right. Once again the Autoline audience shows how sharp it is!

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hey guys,
 
How about a short update on alternative motors/energy storage; Ecomotors, Achates, Satki3/Dyson batteries?
 
Tim Beaumont
9-27-2016


Another great show John.  I enjoyed the discussion about Hudson’s and the movie - maybe documentary.

I was wondering about electric cars and battery technology. I haven’t heard or read of anyone in the automotive industry talk about lithium and possibility of not having enough lithium to produce the batteries required. In the stock market industry I have read that in order for Elon to produce all of the Tesla 3’s that Tesla would require all of the Lithium known to exist. And also Warren Buffets getting involved with purchasing Lithium.  If this is true then
 
1. New lithium reserves will have to be found and/or
 
2. New battery technology will have to invented and
 
3. How will that affect electric cars - costs and “pollution” of the planet?



John - have you heard anything about this and what is your take?



George Plante
George,
 
We’ve been reporting on lithium all along in both Autoline Daily and on Autoline This Week. The latest report we ran says prices have gone up 30% in the last year. But there are 19 lithium mines opening up worldwide in the next 5 years and that will keep a cap on prices.

Thanks for your interest!
 
John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hello John,
 
My name is Alexandre Caviquioli, I am from Brazil and work for GMB (General Motors from Brazil) at GPS SA (Global Propulsion Systems - South America).
 
 I discovered your program, Autoline After Hours, at your channel on YouTube a couple month ago and I really like it.
 
It is a High Level show with plenty of information about auto industry.
 
Here in Brazil we are facing a very hard crisis in the auto industry due to sales retraction, but despite of that, Chevrolet become the number one in Brazilian Market.
 
Today is a Holiday here in our country (our Independence day), so I decided to send you this message with some information about Brazil and to congratulates you for your show!
 
Please, feel free to keep in touch.
 
Best Regards!
 
Alex.
Alex,

Thanks for writing to us, we truly like hearing from our viewers from all around the world.

We’re very aware of the crisis in Brazil and hope that the car market is at the bottom and will start to recover from here. No doubt sales will get back to their former level at some point.

Thanks for the news about Chevrolet becoming #1 in the Brazilian market. We were not aware of that.

Enjoy your holiday, and welcome to the Autoline family.

All the best,
John McElroy
9-27-2016


Very good interview with the GM Design leadership. I may work for their rival, but I truly respect the history and grew up a fan of GM products. 
 
I do have one criticism though in that Ed's response to the Fortune cover shows that some of the Old GM philosophy hasn't changed. They haven't completely grown past badge engineering and think its permissible?
 
He's correct you could line up a Fusion, Sonata, 200, etc.. side by side in a similar view and many would have a hard time distinguishing them apart as the greenhouse shapes are all similar, but you'd still see differences. Those cars had the exact same profile and in many cases the exact same components like switches, handles, radios, etc...
 
Keep up the great work team. I rarely miss an episode.
9-27-2016


Dear Autoline Daily,
 
I noticed your guests on today’s episode commenting about the advantages of ethanol. 
Whenever I go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I tank up with E0 for the return trip.  (We have a son at MTU.)
I get about 8% better fuel economy on E0 than I get with the E10 on the way up there.
Why is E0 only available there?
And why does it perform so much better than E10?
 
Sincerely,
 
Pete
Pete,

Ethanol has less energy density than gasoline. A gallon of gasoline has 114,000 BTUs, a gallon of pure ethanol has 76,100 BTUs. So E10 has less energy and that’s why you lose fuel economy.

E0 is not available in most regions because it burns dirtier than gasoline mixed with ethanol. Ethanol has more oxygen than gasoline which is one reason why it has less energy but also why it burns more cleanly.
9-27-2016


It is amazing to me that with all of the attention fuel mileage is receiving from both the OEs and the feds, we continue to embrace ethanol blended into gasoline even though it negatively affects MPG. On Autoline Daily, even aerodynamic wheels were discussed. It will benefit all parties involved – except, of course, the ethanol producers - if the OEs demand that gasoline contain substantially less ethanol if they are to meet more stringent CAFE regulations.
 
Larry
Larry,

Automakers are actually calling for higher octane. They say they can’t meet the CAFE standards without it. Higher octane allows them to run higher compression ratios and that improves fuel efficiency.

Ethanol has an octane rating of 113. In the U.S. premium gasoline is typically in the RON 91-94 range, and is significantly more expensive than lower grades of gasoline. Adding ethanol is the cheapest way to boost octane. It also burns with fewer particulates.

The problem is that we’re still using corn based ethanol. The U.S. needs to switch to cellulosic ethanol, but that is happening much slower than originally expected.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


John,



Just saw this on much cheaper carbon fiber. Wonder how that will improve EV range?



Regards, Tim Beaumont
Tim,

Thanks much for sending this link. We love it when our viewers help us find good information.

This actually came up as a topic on AAH last night, and we’ll definitely cover it in Autoline Daily.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


When will we see cars such as the Camry, Altima and Honda Accord start to loose weight via Aluminum like the F150? Btw, I work at the Lexus Plant in Georgetown, Ky and we recently tied for a Silver Award from JD Power. It has been a fascinating experience to start as a Team Member from the beginning.
 
Thank You,
Shan
Shan,

Congratulations to you and the team at Georgetown. Keep the kaizen efforts coming!

I don’t think we’re going to see cars like the Camry, Altima and Accord use aluminum as intensively as the F-150. They still have opportunities to cut weight with hot stamped Ultra High Strength Steel and other efforts. Also, these cars will probably be able to meet the 2025 CAFE standard with 48 volt mild hybrid systems.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hi John,

Autoline Daily said Bosch was interested in offering their Water Injection system to auto companies; do you know whether Water Injection is worth the financial investment to either licensed the system from Bosch or create
their own.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco
Most automakers are not set up to produce injection components in-house. They'd rather buy from Bosch which makes these systems for most OEMs. That gives it greater economies of scale and lower prices than most OEMs could do in-house.
9-27-2016


John,
 
Autonomous technology will definitely make driving safer.
 
I greatly appreciate the shows. You and the Autoline team do a great job keeping us informed.
 
David Deaton
9-27-2016


For the sake of conversation or something and though you didn't have the chance to answer a third question, I did go and look again at the 2016 Consumer Report 'car issue' again and saw something odd.
 
For the Chrysler 300 and T&C the last two years looked like Toyota, a line of solid RED circles, but, at the bottom, there is a new category that is solid black for 'used car rating'.  I'll have to do more reading about what that is.
They then use that rating for the short blurbs on each model giving the impression of poor quality and no recommendation.  There seems to be a contradiction.
 
So I am glad FCA is doing well.  To bad they (Auburn Hills) have to carry Fiat and support them.  I sure see a lot of their minivans on the road.
 
rWork
9-19-2016


John,



Having never seen a computer, smart phone or GPS that did not crash, freeze up or glitch at some point, I cannot imagine fully autonomous cars without steering wheels and pedals ever catching on with the masses.



Limited applications such as public transit, ride sharing and disabled persons mobility is where full autonomy will most likely shine.



I do appreciate the technology; I just don't think it will be reliable enough to replace the majority of human drivers anytime soon.



(Perhaps a constitutional amendment protecting the right to drive our own car is needed!)



Thanks,

David
Hmm, you don’t think that autonomous cars will be reliable enough even though human error is the cause of 95% of all accidents?

No, autonomous cars will never be perfect. Nothing is. But they can be far better than what we have now, from a safety standpoint.

Even so, it will be a long time, if ever, that humans are banned from driving their own cars.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hi John,

The fact that the "electric turbocharger" isn't driven by exhaust gas has nothing to do with the requirement for an aftercooler. The requirement for aftercooling has to do with pressure ratio of the compressor. When you compress the inlet air its temperature increases. The higher the pressure ratio the higher the temperature.  Engineers must determine the cost benefit ratio of adding an aftercooler based on that.

Richie B
9-19-2016


John
 
After watching the Autoline show on ‘Piston Engines’ I was fascinated with the profound effort in conserving the age old piston engine. 

Although there are many uses for the piston engine I feel we are wasting way to much horsepower. Pun intended, on trying to keep that engine alive. 

Yes the electric alternative is costly because of the current battery technology but I think the effort spent on new piston engine technology is justmaking them more complicated resulting in the potential for more varied breakdowns and huge maintenance costs.

Whereas electric powered vehicles would lesson most of those issues for example the new Tesla cars with only 8 moving parts not the thousands in piston engine driven vehicles besides the engine. 

I understand the motive in keeping the piston engine businesses alive besides engine manufactures the transmission, clutch, drive shaft, cooling systems and all the ancillary businesses related to them employ thousands.  But there is need to move those employees and our engineering trusts to work on the electric storage issue for one and then creating new work options for the displaced people.

In closing we need to remember that electric power has been in use for years in the railroads, ocean going vessels and modern urban public transportation to name a few for years.  

There are better uses for petroleum products besides gasoline that would be better for our environment and future generations.

Sincerely
Gerald
9-19-2016


A friend made these point(s) the enthusiastic media never makes:

I really don't get the Uber thing except that it is a millennial thing to get cab transportation without calling to speak with someone.  The Uber "entreprenures" are really jitney drivers without commercial insurance,  a commercial license and a cab license required in many cities.  We have friends whose out of work stock broker son in law signed up with Uber. He was going along fine until the Dallas police stopped him. Got a $4000 fine for operating an unlicensed cab. Uber does not tell you how to set up business just sign up and they will send you customers on line. An on line scam just waiting for its first major suit or government intervention.  So the driverless cars are right up their alley. Some big money people will set up the scam and protect themselves through an LLC or S-Corp. The cars will be leased from another such entity and if you go over Mt. Washington,  you will have no one to sue and no insurance.  Uber do ber.  Fun.
9-19-2016


Hi John,
An excellent show. Lots of technology discussed. Certainly looks to be a number of alternatives still to come for ICEs.

Your guests, and frankly, almost everyone involved with Detroit and current OEMs are deeply committed to a gasoline internal combustion future, at least for 20 years or more. And, given the current state of R&D, the enormous existing infrastructure and the price of gas, it's a reasonable position.

But the conclusion of the show is the kicker. The customer will decide. I think that BEVs will begin playing a more important role and that the movement will be consumer driven, not economics. This ride sharing/car sharing move to BEVs will give a lot of people their first taste of electric cars.

I look for an external news event ( like transportation now being now the largest producer of co2) or general attitude shift, not CAFE standards or the price of gasoline to start this movement. People rarely make big changes for economics, but for other reasons.

It's going to be fun to watch.

Kind regards

Ian Hendrie 
9-19-2016


Greetings,



Thank  you for your informative and interesting show, the production value and content are truly appreciated.  I am concerned, however,  that an issue of substantial importance to me wasn't address directly, but rather hazily implied on your recent broadcast segment in which Marco Palmieri from Novelis was interviewed.  Since carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation have driven governments and citizens worldwide to demand auto manufacturers produce vehicles with reduced vehicle emissions, I understand how your show overlooked a portion of the critical broader picture.  However, that doesn't prevent me from pointing out that possibly the foremost authority on mined metals, R. Buckminster Fuller, wrote in his book "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth," our species has already mined all the metals it needs, with efficient recycling we would be able to reuse these metals without their further mining.  In particular, bauxite mining for aluminum is the most carbon intensive and one of the most wasteful to the ecology. I appreciate how much emphasis Novelis is putting on recycling but I shudder to think how much destruction to our planet's climate and life forms it is also reaping by not closing its mines and focusing its efforts on 100% recycling instead.



Sincerely,


Jack Bornoff
Jack,

We haven’t overlooked the emissions story. We’ve devoted numerous shows to this topic. In the show you’re citing, with the chief executive of one of the world’s major aluminum suppliers, we’re naturally going to focus on aluminum. Check out our website and you will find plenty of shows with some of the leading players when it comes to technology and regulations dealing with emissions.

I’m a huge, life-long Buckminster Fuller fan and even got the chance to see him speak at an event in Midland, Michigan back in the mid-1970’s. It was a fantastic 2-hour speech. But as much as I admire him, Bucky didn’t always get it right. For example, his Dymaxion car was unstable at all but very low speeds. I know this from interviewing one of the groups that rebuilt his car.

Also, I’ve never heard of Fuller referred to as the foremost authority on mined metals. He certainly never made that claim. Moreover Bucky didn’t envision a world of 7.5 billion people, or of a China emerging as the second largest economy in the world. The truth of the matter is that there simply isn’t enough material to be recycled to feed today’s economy.

We do a tremendous amount of recycling today. You rarely see the piles of junked cars and mountains of used tires as were so common when I was growing up. That all gets recycled now. In fact, the biggest change in the steel industry in the last 40 years is the emergence of mini-mills whose primary raw material is scrap steel. And it’s not just steel. Well over 90% of all the metals that go into cars gets recycled, at least in the developed world. Yes, we can do a better job, but we’ve made tremendous progress.

And if you’re that worried about all the bauxite getting mined just take a look at all the materials that went into making the laptop you used to send this email. Almost none of them are going to get recycled. They’re headed for the land fill.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hi John,
 
Your article on the 120 years of automotive and the new 3D printed car concept from Local Motors made me think of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s creativity in legislation last year that blocked the world’s #1 recognized EV brand, Tesla, from selling cars in the Motor City, and in Michigan.  The customers might be ready for innovative business models, yet clearly the Michigan government will flex it’s muscles to protect the status quo.
 
I thoroughly enjoy your work!
 
Andrew
Andrew,

I could not agree more. Banning Tesla from selling cars in Michigan was a bone headed idea. It’s even more unbelievable coming from a governor who made his name running Gateway, which made its name by selling direct to consumers.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Mr. McElroy,
   My name is Carl and I live in Detroit.   I hear constantly on WWJ radio and on television about all the automakers trying to go to autonomous vehicles.
    I want to know, sir, have they taken a survey of the public to see if the majority even want driverless cars?   I know I don't.  I am not even remotely interested in them and below I have listed the reasons why.
1.  I used to be a computer technician and I know computers break.   This could cause everything from a minor accident to death on a massive scale if some sort of "glich", hardware failure, software failure, or plain human error at the server level.
2.  I find it is more fun to drive myself and if I can't drive, I would not want to get into an "automatic" car.   I like driving and being in control, sir.
3.  Most people I speak with say they want no part of an autonomous car.   
4.  With autonomous cars we are setting ourselves up for failure.   If a satellite failed with all that debris we have floating above the earth by being impacted we could have a real issue.   They have to be controlled by satellite.
5.   I will never drive an autonomous car and as far as I am concerned they will sit there rusting on the car lots.   This project could backfire on the entire auto industry.  I find them COMPLETELY USELESS.   I want the feel of curves, the handling of the steering, and the dependability of braking power.   
6.  Here in our country we could be setting ourselves up for national defeat by a foreign power hacking into our vehicles.   Get my drift?   We have enough of those issues already, Mr. McElroy.
      I hope they have considered these issues.
      Thanks for your time, sir.
  Carl
Carl,

I take it that you are not blind or have any vision deficiencies. I assume you don’t have some kind of mental or physical disability, either. Probably you’re not old enough to have your children threatening to take away your driver’s license, at least not yet. And I’m sure you don’t have DUI issues.

You don’t ever have to buy one or even get in one. But I can assure you there will be millions of people all around the world who depend on others for their mobility and they will be thrilled to have the freedom that autonomous cars will give them.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


John,
I thought you might enjoy this..  How much is the auto industry actually diving into this dangerous territory?
 
Regards,
Dave Tuttle
Dave,

This is hilarious, but also somewhat misleading. Unscrupulous lenders are everywhere. Those who offer payday loans are probably the worst and far more prevalent than pay-here, buy-here dealers. Not that I’m defending those kinds of dealers, they’re unethical. Their standards are very lax. They don’t check FICO scores, or even income. They will happily loan money to people who can’t possibly pay it all back. So they make their money on repos. Why this is legal I don’t know.

People watching this John Oliver piece are going to think this applies to all dealers and car companies and that the auto industry is going to collapse again. But his piece is really all about independent used car dealers. It’s hard to find franchised dealers that engage in this kind of lending.

He points to GM Financial and asks why in the world would it get involved in subprime loans. In point of fact, that’s the only kind of loan that GM Financial is legally allowed to make, though it’s working on getting the OK to loan to prime lenders.

Just because someone has a sub-prime rating doesn’t mean they are a terrible credit risk. Many honest people lost their jobs and even their homes during the Great Recession. They’re only now getting decent paying jobs and getting back on their feet financially. Provided they make their payments, in a couple of years they’ll be back to a prime rating. Why not loan them the money to buy a new car?

What John Oliver needs to do (if he hasn’t already) is a piece on unpaid student loans, which total over one trillion dollars. My cousin, the investment banker on Wall Street, tells me that’s where the ‘Street thinks the next financial crisis will come from because everyone knows that money is never going to get repaid.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


When Industry critics and DC Pundit's want to know why more people are not buying new cars with the latest technologies and most efficient engines, take a look at this town:


Salisbury MD:

Family Median Income $40,277

The median home value in Salisbury is $136,200.

The cost of a house us 3 1/2 times the median income.  How much money is left after the mortgage (~$1000), federally mandated healthcare (~$1000), and bills (~$1000+) for the luxury of a new car (>$350/month).  How about a lightly used car that is only a few years old?  There is a reason that many people shop at buy-here pay-here third of fourth tier dealerships; it's all they can afford!
 
The simple fact is the cost of a new car with all of the mandated safety, efficiency, and luxury technologies is just out of reach for many American's.  Those who can afford a new car want a large capable truck or SUV.  If the price point for small cars was realistic for the masses, I think they would sell in much greater numbers.  They might even be profitable for the manufactures.

This town was chosen because it is less than 75 miles away from DC so the politicians can go see first hand.  The environmental lobbyists can see first hand how they are wrecking the American dream.  Our younger generation, our recent college graduates, all sorts of hard working American's would love to buy a new car on a regular interval.  The reality, however, is they can not afford to do so.

SlipYoke
Central Florida
9-19-2016


I really enjoyed the 2 shows with Ed Wellburn. (ATW#2021 & ATW#2022) I was curious about the silver car just to Ed’s right in the background. It reminded me of a late 50’s Cadillac, but obviously nothing I saw on the road (at least in the Boston area, where I grew up).
 
Any details would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Eric Wilker
Eric,

I believe the car you’re referring to is the Cadillac Le Mans. The other Cadillac concept car in the studio that day with that fantastic interview with Ed Welburn was the Cyclone. Ed brought out some of the coolest cars in the GM collection so we would have a great backdrop for the show.

John McElroy
Hi John,

On the news of Fast Lane Daily being cancelled, I am compelled to tell you my point of view on it.

I was a subscriber to FLD for a while years ago, but I found the content expanded beyond pure car news and sometimes was very off color and offputting to me. I found you and Autoline after being disgusted with one of the Fast Lane Daily shows and quickly cancelled them and became a very loyal follower of AutolineDetroit and then Autoline. (And your coverage and production values have come a long way since then!) I very much admire you, Sean, and your team for keeping to the industry news and keeping my interest honestly without getting political unless truly applicable to regulations and never getting off color. It's my belief that an auto enthusiast should have the joy of watching his or her news without worrying about it getting off track or offensive. Thank you so much!

Best,

Barry
Barry,

Thanks for your feedback and your support for Autoline. We sure appreciate it.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hey John,


I may be wrong but I think back in the early '60s real knockoffs were outlawed for street use if the spinner extended outside
the fender sheet metal due to safety concerns.



The past few years I have been noticing a trend that I feel is the same issue. It surprises me that I haven't heard any
complaints about it...
Have you noticed that more and more big rigs are using extended lug nuts that stick out 3 to 4 inches from the rim? 
They are long tapered chrome cosmetic replacements that are almost always just on the front wheels.
They wouldn't be an issue on any of the other wheels because off the offset of the rear wheels.
 It can be quite scary riding in a car with a low ride height and look out the window to see these spikes sticking out
at eye level to you.



I wish they would just go back to the naked lady mud flaps...



Thanks for all the great content!

The Mayor

Annapolis, MD
9-19-2016


John,

I really appreciated your analysis of the big, public dealers when talking about whether the auto manufacturers should follow Tesla’s lead and sell direct. The one problem with the analysis is that it includes COGS in the revenue number (cost of goods sold). Dealer revenue isn’t usually inclusive of the cost of the car when being analyzed by financial firms (e.g. I am in insurance, and when we are sizing the risk at a dealership, we subtract the value of the cars from the revenue to see what the dealer themselves is actually doing vs acting as an agent for the car makers). If you remove the COGS here, I think you’d find that the profit margins of AutoNation, Penske, etc are actually pretty healthy.



And that follows for car makers selling direct. The manufacturing arm always has the COGS of the cars built into it, so you’d be double counting if you included it in the dealership side.



Hope that’s useful to the analysis as I think it may change your conclusion, at least for that reason. Whether the dealer model is the right model is a multi-faceted, complex and political (as Tesla has found!) issue.



All the best, and keep doing what you guys do. I love your daily news!



Bryan Falchuk
Bryan,

Fantastic feedback! You make a great point and I need to go back and rethink the numbers.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


John and Co.,
 
I certainly don't have your breadth of historical knowledge. Can you think of another major supplier that's dropped an OEM?
 
I suspect Tesla will work around Mobileye dropping them somehow but this has to be a set back. 
 
Harsha
Harsha,

Great question! It’s very rare for a supplier to deliberately drop an OEM customer. Who wants to give up business? It has happened in the past. But it usually revolves around the OEM demanding such low prices that the supplier feels compelled to walk away from the deal.

I think Mobileye walked away from Tesla for two reasons: all the bad publicity surrounding the fatality with the Tesla Autopilot, and the consortium deal that Mobileye just signed with BMW and Intel. I don’t think it had anything to do with pricing.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hi guys,
 
I get very frustrated with your reports of car company earnings that report absolute EBIT (eg 1.7 billion), but do not also calculate and display the EBIT% (on revenue).
 
Like all business men, I use EBIT% to judge the heath of a business. $1.7 billion might seem a lot of money especially, if it is up by 30% on last year’s EBIT, but if the EBIT% on revenue is only 3% and growth is slow, then the business is not doing well and they are having problems containing costs or with maintaining prices.
 
So as a request, can you also report the EBIT% as well as the absolute EBIT. This way I do not have to freeze the screen and reach for the calculator.
 
Thanks,
Paul
Paul,

In broadcasting it can become tedious to read a bunch of numbers. It’s quite different than with print, where it’s easier for readers to pause and look at all the numbers. So we keep it to vehicle sales, revenue, EBIT and net profit.

But your suggestion does have merit. We’ll consider adding EBIT as a % of sales. But in the meantime, keep that calculator handy!

John McElroy
John

I just saw an ad for the Cadillac CT6 with everyone going backwards and then they introduced the "new" Cadillac CT6 but it never told me what a CT6 is or why I should buy one. It didn't make me run out to a dealer and buy one. What are they doing?

Michael Gelven
Sometimes automakers just want to break out of the clutter and run an ad to make an impression, not a hard sell. If they got your attention, they consider that a success. And clearly this ad got your attention. The thinking is that if you’re curious enough about the car, you’ll look for more information on your own.
9-19-2016


Hello Autoline,
 
I watch a couple of shows a week, especially This Week and After Hours.
 
I prefer to watch the live shows, because of the pre- after-show footage. But I always have trouble finding out when these live shows are taking place.
 
Do you have a listing with dates and times of the live shows ?
 
Kind regards
 
Bram
Bram,

We have quite a few viewers who love to watch the pre-show and after-show segments of Autoline After Hours. It really gives them a behind the scenes look at what it takes to produce a show. And sometimes you get some pretty unguarded comments from the guests!

We turn the cameras on live in our studio just before 3 pm eastern time every Thursday. But sometimes we pre-record the show if we’re on the road and don’t have the pre- and post- segments.

Thanks for your interest,
John McElroy
9-19-2016


There have been some comments re: the CV transmission vs. the “normal” type.



As a subscriber to various automotive mags I had developed a bias against CVTs. I recently had my Lincoln MKC in for service and was given a MKZ Hybrid with stop/start and a CVT as a loaner. This was exactly the type of car that I had no interest in but was very pleasantly surprised. The car was peppy, very smooth and the stop/start operated flawlessly. The car did not drone unless pressed very hard and the milage was amazing.



While not sure I would buy one as Lincoln does not offer this combination in a CUV it changed my impression.



Barry Lurges
CVT’s have come a long way in just the past few years. Automakers have finally figured out how to calibrate them to drive more pleasantly, and to make them fairly robust. Thanks for sharing your experience, we’re sure to hear from more “converts.”
9-9-2016


Hi John,
 
It’s been a while since you’ve talked with anyone from Elio Motors.  It almost looks like they might make it into production.  What do you think?  Can they succeed?  Can they do it in our lifetime?
 
Have a great day,
 
ksf
Elio Motors faces a formidable challenge. While it has a nice looking vehicle and good fuel economy, 3-wheelers with tandem seating have very limited market appeal. Since it’s officially classified as a motorcycle it meets none of the crash standards and that too will limit its appeal to a mass audience. Elio could do a lot better in emerging markets where price, efficiency and size matter, but in the US it will be relegated to a relatively small niche.
9-9-2016


Hi guys,
Very interesting show. My only comment was about Gary's assertion that millennials don't buy into lifetime employment like all the people before them.
They may not, but that's not new. When I graduated university in 1972 as a mechanical engineer, I had lots of choice of employers, and I flitted every 3 years or so from one to another. When you change jobs, you can move ahead each time with substantial salary rises. So with no employment issues, if you were ambitious you had to keep moving. No current employer will give you 30% more money every 3 years to keep you, but has no problem spending that on the next great thing.
Selective job hopping is good for your career, at least in engineering and management.



Kind regards

Ian
Ian:

Thanks for your observation about my observation about Millennials and their work habits.

I think a difference between what you did and what they are doing is one of short attention span vs. some very clever financial strategies.

There have been 14 three-year periods between now and 1972. If you got a 30% bump 14 times, then I’m really feeling bad that in January I will have been at this job for 30 years and I’ve never even gotten a single 30% raise. Even if you’ve made a move even half that many of times, the multiplier is still significant.

I’m jealous.

Thanks for writing. And watching.

gary.

Gary S. Vasilash
Editor-in-Chief
Automotive Design & Production
9-9-2016


I was just wondering your thoughts about the Elio electric car and your prediction where Chrysler will be a year from now. I work in the factory and the workers are very worried about our jobs. We remember what happened before so we were wondering, do you think it could happen again? I know this may sound quite early to start thinking like this, but the majority here on the assembly line are worried for our jobs, because if you think about it we think the Auto industry is going down in the sump. I don't know. You're the expert on it. Let us know what's going on either through a broadcast or to an email. Thanks.

Mike
Mike,

Elio Motors faces a real tough challenge. They’re going about it the old fashioned way: lots of upfront capital spending and using a massive assembly plant. They do have some seasoned automotive execs on their board, but I would have preferred to see them start small and grow over time, rather than try go huge from Day 1. Also, the Elio is officially classified as a motorcycle and doesn’t have to meet any of the crash standards. I think that will limit its appeal.

As for where Chrysler will be a year from now, who knows? It all depends on what the economy and car sales are doing. But I don’t share your concerns that the auto industry is going down the drain. Even though so many people seem worried, I don’t know why. We probably will set another all-time sales record this year. How bad can things be if we’re still running at record levels? And if sales slow down a bit after that, who cares? I don’t see a problem if car sales hover in the 16.5 million to 17 million range. If I’m right that still means you and your colleagues will have good jobs for years to come.

John McElroy
9-9-2016


Hi,
 
I would really be interested to see a discussion of road (congestion) pricing as a way to fund our vehicle infrastructure rather than gas taxes.  Specifically, I would like to hear about the funding benefits, environmental benefits, and fund-to-drive benefits of moving to this type of infrastructure pricing.
 
Thanks,
Ray
Ray,

Thanks for the suggestion. I think it would have to be part of a larger discussion on road infrastructure. With V2X coming in the next five years it could be part of that discussion. If we’re going to get vehicles communicating with traffic infrastructure, we need to figure out how to pay for it all and this could be the perfect time to talk about per-mile and congestion pricing.

John McElroy
9-9-2016


Excellent show!  Enjoyed Margo Oge insights.

Cheryl
Cheryl,

Thanks for the feedback. We love having Margo on our shows.
9-9-2016


John, your analysis of dealer profit margin is missing the point.  Auto manufacturers want to eliminate dealers, and all of the associated negative experiences, to improve the customer experience, improve loyalty, and ultimately sell more cars at higher profit margins.  Why can't I just go online and buy a car?  Why do I have to get beaten up in the F&I office?  Why do I have to haggle with the pros?  Do I really need a gold trim kit and padded vinyl roof?  Your thinking sounds like GM in the 1980s and 1990s - just think about how much we can improve our profit margin if we just rebadge the same car as a Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac.  No one will notice that a Chevy Cavalier and Cadillac Cimarron are the same car.
9-9-2016


Autoline,

The 1971 Eldorado discussion and photography from a high angle reminded me of working in an office building in 1972 where at the end of the day I'd be looking down at the rush hour traffic and would take note of the impressive designs of the GM cars.  They would stand out from the others in how all the lines, from any angle, were resolved and purposeful.

r-work
9-9-2016


Hi John,
 
The same question comes up every time I hear about car sharing and how most cars sit for 23 hours a day… 
 
We have “rush hour” and “school commutes" nearly ubiquitous in every community, and that’s WHEN most want to use their vehicle. What percentage of vehicles are sitting during these times?  
 
Of those, which aren’t “specialty use” vehicles (sports, trucks/vans, hobby, unreliable, undesirable, etc) vehicles that would be useful or appropriate for sharing? 
 
That remainder is the pool of cars available for “sharing”, should the owner actually be willing. I would be cautious with estimating what that final number would be.
 
Love your work!
 
Barry
Barry,

Wow, these are some very specific questions. Very granular!

You’re right, there are peak times during the day when car & ride sharing services would be heavily used. But the same goes for taxis in use today—you can measure demand by the lines of people waiting for one. The difference with ride sharing services is that you get an app that will tell you exactly when and which car will be there to pick you up. In some places ride sharing will be a breeze to use, in others it may not be as efficient. But keep in mind this is all in its infancy.

Uber already has 1 million drivers globally and in San Francisco alone it has delivered over 1 million rides. That’s just one ride sharing service and despite all its publicity, Uber is not even the biggest in the world (that honor does to Didi in China). Even so, Uber’s stats give the best idea of just how fast all this is growing.

John McElroy
9-9-2016


John:
 
Although I cannot find and original article/press release, I could swear Ford announced that the all new 2014 Fusion was specifically designed NOT to accept a V6 engine.  How then can Ford explain the new 2017 sport?  Was significant unibody/chassis redesign required, or was the old statement marketing verbal creative license?
 
EK
Maybe it did, but we don’t remember Ford saying that. However, Hyundai did design the Sonata with only 4-cylinders in mind.
9-9-2016


Hello, missed this show and could only leave a comment today. Just in case I am too late, I am forwarding my suggestion by e mail:
 
“John: my addition would be the Dodge Magnum. Especially the European version with the Chrysler 300C front, called 300C Touring Wagon. Equipped with a Mercedes 3.0 L Diesel engine or the Hemi 5.7L V8 those should be rare, are esthetically pleasing and have interesting if not rare powertrain technology.”
 
I love your show!
 
best regards,
 
Wim
I agree. I always liked the Dodge Magnum, it was a terrific looking station wagon, and was sorry to see it dropped. In Europe they sold it with the Chrysler 300 nose and it looked better still.

John
9-1-2016


I'm not sure what the genesis of the story of the cancellation of Alfa's 4C Spider was, but whoever the source was, got everything wrong. I suspect other motives.
 
First, the 4C coupe had to go out of production by no later than 2018 due to NHTSA rules relating to passenger ejection standards.
 
Second, you mentioned the sales of the Dodge Viper- that model is being phased out due to the same rule. Neither car was designed to threaten the Honda Accord's sales base.
 
The 4C Spider itself COULD continue beyond 2018, as the ejection standard, with typical bureaucratic reasoning, does not apply to convertibles or open air vehicles.
 
Third, no one- not Harald Wester, nor Sergio Marchionne, or Ried Bigland EVER said there would be a second iteration of the 4C. It was never even rumored, or speculated on. So a story seems to be created about the cancellation of a car that was never scheduled to be built in the first place.
 
Lastly, FCA will need the Modena plant where the 4C is built for upcoming Maseratis. The labor union that works in that plant have been promised the plant will stay in operation for series production after the 4C has run it's course.
 
So let's chalk this one up to auto journo scuttlebutt. I don't think it had any basis in fact whatsoever, and I can only question how this story was hatched, and what the motivation was behind it.

Plinth5
Dear Plinth5,

The genesis of the story of the Alfa 4C coming to the end of its production was reported by Autoforecast Solutions, a data house that regularly reports on future product plans from automakers. It is a reputable organization that is used by all automakers.

The 4C coupe did not have to go out of production because of any NHTSA standards. That car is sold in many markets around the world, none of which have such a standard, and Alfa could have easily continued to sell it outside of the US.

I compared sales of the 4C to sales of the Viper to show how poorly the 4C is selling. It’s barely ahead of a car that is being phased out because of its own poor sales. It’s painfully obvious that both the 4C and current-generation Viper are sales flops.

If indeed FCA, the company who’s CEO complains bitterly about the capital and costs needed to develop new products, conceived the 4C as a one-generation car, then the story gets even more interesting.

As for needing the Modena plant, well maybe. That plant made the 8C at the same time it made Grand Turismos and Grand Cabrios. If the 4C was a real success and providing a good return on the capital invested, they would figure out how to keep on making it.

John McElroy
9-1-2016


This guy was so interesting; he was there.
 
I wish you had asked him his opinion of today's Chrysler.
Can they really continue selling a handful of brands?
 
Jamie Toro
9-1-2016


One more factor needs to be calculated into the decline in diesels sales, that may be at least partially, and indirectly, a result of the VW emission scandal. With the changeover to the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze late last year, the old 2.0 L turbodiesel is no longer available. According to GM a new diesel engine for the Cruze won't be launched until 2017, but as noted by Autoline, certification of new diesels is now taking longer due to increased EPA scrutiny, so that delay may be at least partially VW's fault, not GM's original product timing. It surely wouldn't take many Cruze diesels, available for sale last year, but not now, to account for the remaining 2% drop in diesel sales not directly due to the failure at VW.



Andrew Charles
Andrew,

Good point about the Cruze diesel being dropped. Last year for the first half 1,920 Cruze diesels were sold. This year: 229.

But the Colorado and Canyon diesels more than made up for that. Zero were sold for the first half last year and 4,621 this year.
9-1-2016


Autoline,
 
Watched Autotline After Hours last week about the Tesla accident in Florida; I feel bad this guy died. Good show, but you guys left a few facts out of the discussion. You mentioned the Harry Potter video the driver may have been watching But no one mentioned he apparently blew by a woman who driving at 85 MPH…..he could have been doing 95. The posted speed there appears to be 65 MPH.
 
Mr. Brown also appears to have gotten several speeding tickets. This did not directly affect the crash, but tells us something about the “driver”. In one case he was ticketed for doing 64 miles per hour in a 35 MPH zone (…maybe more, but the Officer wrote the ticket for “64”). Really? 64 in a 35? Reckless!
 
Also, no one seemed to think the truck driver may have had any part of the fault here, but lets say the truck driver saw the Tesla coming for a split second but assumed the car (Tesla) was maybe doing 75 MPH (and would slow down if it had to) rather than maybe doing 95 MPH full bore. Is any part of this accident the truck drivers fault? Because he failed to yield and assumed the speeding car was going slower and would yield if it had too? Very often car accidents are not 100% one parties fault.
 
From what I am reading, Tesla Autopilot (7.1 anyways) will not allow speed more that 5 MPH over the speed limit on roads that are not divided [….this was the one thing that puzzled me, that road in Florida in divided in most sections but in others where there are crossings it is not (there are also businesses/driveways along it!), so…which rule should have applied??].
 
I’m quite happy to announce that the actual restrictions are limited to those roads with out a center divider and that you are permitted to go as many as 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. This picture shows the error message you will get if you attempt to set Autopilot to drive faster on a restricted road.”
 
“Auto steer will only operate from 18 mph to 90 mph. Only speed limit +5 on non-divided highways. ”
 
The timing and circumstances (where the cars radar apparently missed both the tractors wheels and the trailers wheels...and seeing the empty space below the trailer) that led to this crash are extraordinary. But a car doing 90+ MPH is doing 132+ feet per second...that does not leave a lot of margin for error, or time to catch something that may have been missed!
 
It appears Autopilot’s deaths per million mile rate still seems to be better than humans. But another thing (harder to quantify) that no one asked is how many lives/injuries might have been saved by “Autopilot”? I wish we knew THAT number. But every time we all get in a car and go on public roads we accept some level of risk….but people who speed excessively and watch movies in their car when they should be watching the road have to accept an even higher level of risk, sorry. Autopilot is not an excuse for really bad behavior in the drivers seat. Both those decisions by him, to do 90+ and watch a movie (if true), were REALLY REALLY bad ideas. Especially on THAT road with cross traffic.
 
If Mr. Brown was driving on that same 65 MPH road doing 90+MPH while watching Harry Potter, but had the Autopilot OFF would we even be talking about it? In 2016 humans are still in decision loop in the car. Mr. Brown disregarded that fact. I feel bad he lost his life but he apparently put others at risk too by disregarding what should have been common sense. Tesla’s Autopilot is not perfect and needs to continue to improve (as it has been)…but we have learned that “self driving” cars have to not only deal with what’s going on outside the car, but also stupid behavior IN the car.
 
Anyway, good show….
 
Jeff Woodin
Jeff,

Man, you really do your homework! Thanks for all the additional information.

John McElroy
9-1-2016


Hi John,
 
Great interview with Ed Wellburn of GM Design.  A really down-to-earth-guy.  My suggestion is to present a program about automotive industrial espionage.  This is a subject that referred to on a very limited basis (spy photos), but a full out program about the amount of security that all manufactures engage to prevent their “newest and latest” products from being usurped by a competitor.  What leaks have occurred over the years that were from manufactures that were game changers for another automotive manufacturer? There have got to be some very interesting stories out there waiting to be shared with us viewers and I think you’re the person that would do it best.
 
Jim Adcock
9-1-2016


Jim,
 
We already did a show on that which comes very close to what you’re talking about.
 
John McElroy
9-1-2016


Hello John,
 
It seems like every day we hear about the Million and Billion dollar fines that are being charged against Volkswagen. As we all know, a little school lab in Morgantown, West Virginia won a grant to test some diesel cars for their emissions on the road.
 
When the West Virginia University lab found the diesel cheating software, that circumvents the EPA emission standards. They found a big problem that has rocked the world.
 
With all the lawyers, governments, states and cities giving out all the fines and going after as much money as they can get from Volkswagen. Do you think West Virginia University will get a penny for their hard work or some compensation to help keep future research on emission vehicles in their lab?
 
Thanks,
Oakcabin 
Oakcabin,

Here’s the true story behind the story. An organization called the International Council on Clean Transportation wanted to prove to European regulators that they should tighten up emission standards for diesel engines. They wanted the EU to adopt standards similar to US standards. To prove that these standards could be achieved in real world driving, and not just in the test labs, they contracted West Virginia University to conduct the tests. They went to WV because they knew it had the equipment to do on-road testing (not many places have this). So if not for the ICCT, WV would have never done these tests. I think the ICCT should get the credit, and who knows? Maybe it expected to catch VW cheating in the first place.

John McElroy
9-1-2016


Finally serious concerns about autonomous vehicles are surfacing. Until now, I have found myself virtually alone in doubting self-driving cars’ inevitability, imminence, and relative freedom from problems. A basic understanding of human nature makes it instantly obvious that people cannot be expected to monitor effectively the driving of autonomous vehicles.
 
Kenneth L. Zuber
Let’s not forget that human error is the cause of 93% of all traffic accidents. Even with the fatality in Florida, Tesla’s own data shows that Autopilot can cut that accident rate in half. And it’s not even fully developed.

We here at Autoline have been saying all along that Level 3 (NHTSA) cars scare the hell out of us. It’s unrealistic to expect all drivers to react perfectly when they need to intervene. That’s why Level 4 cars will prove to be far safer—when they’re ready.

John McElroy
9-1-2016


Hi John,
 
The 2017 Buick LeCrosse is very easy on the eyes.. but I'm a bit surprised by LeCrosse Chief Engineer, Jeff Yanssens, approach of just a single engine for the sedan and not even thinking of possibly a 250-275 hp LTG turbocharged 2.0L DOHC-4v 4cyl turbo as a base engine and then a LGX 3.6L DOHC-4v V6 as an option.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
8-23-2016
I just wanted to say what a great show about the first Camaro. That young gentleman is amazing and I think I could have listened to him talk about that Camaro for hours.

http://www.autoline.tv/journal/?p=44081

Hope to see and hear more from him in the future. If he has a web site or twitter or facebook account we could follow, please pass it along.

Thank you,
Glenn
Here’s a website on the first Camaro. Glad you enjoyed the show.

http://www.pilotcarregistry.com
8-8-2016


Such a wonderful and insightful show. To listen and watch both John McElroy and Ed Wellburn was such a pleasure.



Mr Wellburns insights and perspectives are fascinating to listen to. Mr Wellburn will be sorely missed.



Thank you for doing this show and please try and have Mr Wellburn on again. Possibly autoline after hours. Especially as his new book releases. As I'm sure auto enthusiasts around the world would love to read his book and get insights on it just as it releases.



Yours truly



Jonathan Brown
8-8-2016


John McElroy
 
In the late 90's I was working at an Indy shop and the service writer was up on used auto parts and worked at used auto parts yards. Low mileage Japanese car motors could be purchased from Japan. Motors don't meet the emissions in the states but could work on some vehicles,
 
I asked why do the Japanese have so many used low mileage motors ?
 
He said the Japanese charge a low registration fee and raise that fee as much as a hundred dollars more per year there after.
 
That is why the Japanese drive newer cars then we do in the US..
 
Prove the service writer wrong.
 
Ray Andres
It’s true that in Japan it becomes prohibitively expensive to keep a car more than 5 years. “Inspection” fees skyrocket. Most used Japanese cars are exported to countries that drive on the left hand side of the road. Ireland is a favorite destination. I’ve never heard of used Japanese cars imported to the US for their parts. That sounds like a very expensive way to do it, but I suppose it’s possible.

John McElroy
8-8-2016


So what exactly is the current state of "the fix" VW keeps referring to for the 2 liter diesel in leu of a cash settlement?

Ron Paris
The “fix” is something that VW hopes it can come up with. If it can’t fix them, it has to take them all back and scrap them. It will not be allowed to export them as used cars. VW is even searching for a solution for its 3 liter diesels. It can probably find a fix, but for the 2-liter diesels it does not look promising.
8-8-2016


Hi John,
 
I respect your opinion of cars you have tested and as a result I purchased a new Ridgeline in 2006 based in part on your review. That truck became one of my all time favorite vehicles and I've owned around 50. I traded it in 11/2 years ago and missed it so much I bought a used one. Your production estimates will only see the light of day depending on 2 things. The first is the extent to which Honda markets the Ridgeline. The original RL was victim to one of the all time worst ad campaigns ever. It was almost never advertised and when it was none of the features that made it special were highlighted. The trunk comes to mind. The other thing is how well Honda can update the RL to match the competition. The Ridgeline did not receive any significant improvements for its entire run. Same engine for 10 years. Right here and now the Ridgeline is unique but Ford is looking to bring back the Ranger, Hyundai, Mercedes et al are on the band wagon. Honda quality is not what it was. They could have owned this market by now but they let it slip away. Hopefully not this time
 
Best Regards
 
Gene
8-8-2016


Do you have a still picture of the Citroen Hauler with race car?
Thanks!

Hugh
Hugh,
 
That is one wild looking car hauler! Here’s the link to the show where it appeared.
8-8-2016


Hello John,
 
I just heard last week's Autoline After Hours via podcast. As always, it was a great show and the return of David Welch was appreciated. He's an excellent resource.
 
I wanted to address the group's comments on FCA and its potential vehicle overlap and synergies with PSA. 
 
The truth is that there isn't much left of FCA Europe to preserve. In fact, I did some research, and the only all-new clean-sheet in-house volume platform FCA has launched since Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 is the 2017 Pacifica. And that goes for trucks and Jeeps, too. Until the Pacifica launch, everything Fiat and Chrysler/FCA have launched since Chrysler's BK is either A) a facelift/variant of a pre-BK vehicle platform, B) a vehicle platform codeveloped with another automaker, C) both A and B, or D) a high-end luxury or exotic car. 
 
In Europe, the FCA mainstream passenger car line has essentially retreated to the Panda, 500, Ypsilon, Punto, 500L, MiTo, 500X, Tipo, and Giulietta. 
 
The Panda is a facelift of the 2nd Gen Panda that came out in 2003. In fact, it was billed specifically as a facelift by FCA so they could skirt EU safety regs for all-new vehicle designs. The 500 line is in its 9th year on the same 13 year-old platform as the Panda. And the last remaining Lancia - sold only in Italy - shares this platform as well.
 
The Punto is a twice-facelifted version of the Grande Punto that debuted in 2005. The 500L, 500X, Tipo, Renegade, and Alfa MiTo are based on reworked versions of this 11 year-old Punto platform, as well. It's so old, it was codeveloped with GM - which still sells Corsas and Merivas on this platform - back when GM was planning to buy Fiat and then spent $2 billion not to.
 
Meanwhile, the Dart/Viaggio/Ottimo, Chrysler 200, Cherokee, and Alfa Giulietta are sitting on a twice-reworked version of the 2001 Fiat Stilo platform.
 
All of these mass-market FCA models are based on platforms that are 10-15 years old. They're crying out to be replaced. And there are no clean-sheet replacements in sight. Even the Daimler-based Grand Cherokee/Durango is in its 6th year, while the Ram pickups have only seen facelifts since Jim Press turned Detroit into Pamplona back in January 2008.
 
PSA by contrast has the all-new, incredibly flexible EMP2 platform that is underpinning their new B, C, and D-segment cars, LCV's, and crossovers. The only major class of passenger car that PSA isn't doing themselves is their Toyota Aygo-based A-segment cars. Which just happens to be the segment that Fiat itself has had the biggest EU success in. And since the two companies already share LCV designs, it's not hard to see how things could shake out. FCA would get new platforms. PSA would get access to the Americas, better economies of scale, and more market share in the zero-sum EU.
 
My point is, there's very little of FCA Europe's vehicle lineup that competes with PSA's, that isn't also past its technological sell-by date. And PSA has just the platform to do replace those vehicles or remove them from competing with their own. 
 
However, PSA was on the brink only 18 months ago and probably doesn't need another huge mess to sort out with FCA. Especially considering they'd have to endure a protracted PR and bureaucratic nightmare laying off tons of EU workers and closing EU plants in order to get the FCA-PSA house in order in Europe.
 
In this light, FCA is in very sore shape. Jeep and Ram sales must be the only thing keeping it alive, and even those lineups are hardly fresh.
 
What do you think? Would a PSA merger work for both parties? Would FCA as we know it be a wise or viable investment for anybody? If not PSA, who?
 
Your thoughts are appreciated.
 
Best,
 
Jude T.
Hey Jude,

I thought PSA was a perfect partner for FCA. But PSA’s CEO Carlos Tavares pretty much shot down the idea.

Others have suggested VW should buy FCA, but VW has its hands full with its diesel emissions scandal and may have to sell off assets, not buy new ones.

I think a Chinese buyer is a possible scenario, because all the other major OEMs have said “No” to Sergio Marchionne.

John McElroy
8-8-2016


Hi John,

Automated or self-driving cars is a hot topic lately, as it should be. I just wanted to call to your attention an excellent article about this subject in the June 2016 issue of Scientific American.  It is entitled " The Truth About "Self-Driving" Cars" by Steven E. Shladover.  It is written for the layman and is very interesting. It ain't gonna be easy. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Richie B
8-8-2016


Good Afternoon John,
 
Thank you always for Autoline Daily, needless to say it is informative and interesting to watch.

Ricky
8-8-2016


I've read a lot of people angry that GM is importing the first Chinese-built cars for sale in the US. Even if we exclude all the mini-trucks sold for off-highway use, that may not be true. I don't know when they started, or how many may have been sold, but Volvo is also selling Chinese-built models in the US. At least some S60s have been shipped from Zhongjia Automobile Manufacturing (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. (since last year a subsidiary of Daqing Volvo Car Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) to Volvo Cars North America.

AC
8-8-2016


Hi John, 
 
I saw the comments that your viewers posted about not using a bed liner in the Ford and about not dumping blocks into the bed like that.  Well, my son has a landscaping business and his workers throw stuff like this into the beds of his trucks all the time.  Stuff like this happens and having holes where nails and screws can fall out onto the road can cause damage to many other drivers.  I'm all for light weight materials, but aluminum in a truck bed, no way.  GM tried to make that move back in 2000, but the bed would not measure up to farm use not alone construction use.  Ford also has a commercial showing stuff being dumped into its trucks.  I would like to know how the bed stood up to that abuse.  Keep up the good work keeping us informed on all that is going on in the automotive world. 
 
Al Jadczak
8-8-2016


Has anybody noticed that vans are booming this year? Sales of minivans are up 33% through April, putting them on pace for the best sales since 2007, when there were 14 models compared to today's six (not counting the new Pacifica which only went on sale last month). The top four (Sienna, Odyssey, Caravan and Town & Country) are all outselling every large crossover except the Explorer. Commercial vans, both compact and fullsize, are also doing well, with both classes up over 25% (although the latter includes an undisclosed number of medium Mercedes Metris vans).

Andrew

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