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8-14-2014

Just saw the Autoline Daily for Aug 11th. John McElroy was fantastic as usual but I just had to say Tony Stewart is a killer. Tony Stewart killed that young driver. As his car went by he floored the accelerator and then his back end went out and murdered that young driver. No matter how many times the press says it was an accident it was not an accident it was murder. Well anyway NASCAR fans can celebrate having a murderer winning races. Great bunch of people. Keep up the good word John McElroy.

David Frost
I was trying to avoid watching the video of this tragic accident. But your letter prompted me to watch it multiple times to determine exactly what happened. After Ward and Stewart tangled on the track, resulting in Ward hitting the wall, Kevin Ward got out of his car and ran onto the track to confront Stewart. Even though the cars were under caution, he immediately had to side-step away from a car that came awfully close to hitting him. He then continued to come down the track and was almost hit by the car in front of Stewart. In fact, that car might have blocked Stewart’s view. Yes, Stewart hit the gas almost at the same time he hit Ward, but watch the video carefully. His back end breaks out to the left, away from Ward, who was standing on the right hand side of the car. It’s as if Stewart hit the gas to move the car away from Ward, not deliberately hit him. I too was skeptical that Stewart was innocent until I watched this video about a half dozen times. It’s a tragedy that should have never happened, but I don’t believe that Tony Stewart deliberately tried to hit or even come close to Kevin Ward.

McElroy
8-14-2014

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

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

Bets regards,
Genaro Islas
8-14-2014

John,

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

Regards,

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Amado Arceo
Saginaw, MI
8-14-2014

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

Tejash Vishalpura
8-14-2014

Hi John,

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

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

Thanks and best regards,
Dick
8-14-2014

JMac,

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

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

Warm regards,

Speedracer2007
Tony G.
8-14-2014

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

Hugh
8-14-2014

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

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

Thanks,
Eric Staudt
8-14-2014

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

Tom C,
Clearwater, FL
8-14-2014

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

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

John,

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

Specifically;

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

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

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

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

Hi John,

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

Let me know if you find anything.

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

Thanks,

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

John McElroy,

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

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

John,

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

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

Hello,

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

Vittorio from L.A.
8-14-2014

Greetings,

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

Mike from Mississauga
Mike,

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

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

All the best,
Bill Conn
8-14-2014

Dear John,

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

Thanks

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

McElroy
8-14-2014

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

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

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

Thanks,

Jason Gelarden
Oswego, NY
Jason,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

And give our best to everyone in Watertown!

McElroy
7-22-2014

John

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

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

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

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

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

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

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

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

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

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

Regards,
Dave Tuttle
7-22-2014

John,

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

David Sprowl
7-22-2014

Hi John,

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

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

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

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

My Highest Regards,

Buthayna Taha
Hello neighbor,

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

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

Noah Rogers
7-22-2014

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

Phil Jarone
7-22-2014

John,

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

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

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

Have a great Summer!
John Faulkner
John,

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

John McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

Another great show, thank you.

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

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

Hey there, John.

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

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

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

mB
Michael,

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

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

Mitchell Brown
Mitchell,

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

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

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

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

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

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

McElroy
6-17-2014

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

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

Josh
6-17-2014

In RE Auto Racing

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

Here's how it went:

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

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

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

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

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

Phil aka "jaded"
6-17-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Joras
6-17-2014

John,

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

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

McElroy
6-17-2014

Flying Cars it’s very simple

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

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

3. Licensing? Just two, DMV and FAA.

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

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

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

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

Noah Rogers
6-17-2014

Hi John,

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

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

McElroy
6-17-2014

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

Larry
Dude, don't come near me!

John McElroy
6-17-2014

Mr. McElroy,

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

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

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

McElroy
6-11-2014

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

Ralph Norek
Good point.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hello John and Crew,

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

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

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

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hi John,

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

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

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

McElroy
6-11-2014

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

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

Ken Silva
Laveen, AZ
6-11-2014

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

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

Ernie K
6-11-2014

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

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

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

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

Then saw the gas mileage 26 city 36 highway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAS Auto better DAS MARKET!!!

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

Don from NJ
Don,

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

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hi John,

I am an avid viewer of your shows, I was reading your viewer mail section and was intrigued by the correspondences regarding “Channel Stuffing.” I am not saying I believe the theory but would like to hear your view on the Google maps showing all the cars parked in various locations mentioned in the article.

Wayne
Wayne,

In this age of Photoshop, I don’t trust many of these photos as being real. Some of them made me laugh out loud. Some are obviously taken just outside of an assembly plant. Remember, the typical assembly plant makes about 1,000 cars a day. If there’s a trucker’s strike or some kind of disruption that lasts a few days, they can quickly have thousands of cars parked all over the place. That doesn’t mean that people are not buying new cars, that just means there’s a bottleneck in the shipping. Same goes for seaports. Those ships can carry 2,000 cars at a time, so a port can easily have thousands of cars parked everywhere. The channel stuffing conspiracy-mongers are using these photos to spin them into another urban legend.

McElroy
6-11-2014

GREAT couple of shows on tires, specs, maintenance, wear, and replacement.

How bout fitting in some on the widely divergent (and frequently incompatible) specs for various vehicle fluids such as:

A/C coolant
Power steering fluid (for those not yet electric)
Engine block cooling/antifreeze liquids
Transmission fluid
Transmission coolant (whenever separate from core transmission fluid -- if those set-ups still exist)
Engine lubrication oil (and multi-grading)
Brake fluid

Perhaps something at the same time on which can or can't be ever be used with steel/rubber/aluminum/plastic components, without deterioration of fluid and damage to parts.

And maybe even something on those which are hydrophilic and subject to significant deterioration from time and humidity -- even when and especially when vehicle is unused.

John, over the last few months you've been a bit too much of a Detroit cheerleader, and a bit less competent as an impartial analyst and commentator on the world of vehicular design, manufacturing, and sales. And get OFF of poor NHTSA.

Pete Nicholas
6-11-2014

Hello John,

I love your show and tune in to watch your show anytime I get. I've been watching your show now for over a decade and you have a lot of insight on what is going on in the automotive industry. There are a couple of shows that you hinted at the issue I'm about to discuss. And the issue is Young People Don't Care About Cars.

I'm a Gen X'er and an avid auto enthusiast, but as the years go by, my love for cars are going down. It's even worse for Gen Y'ers, who care more about when the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphones are coming out. I feel the auto industry all but abandoned the youth market. Granted, the Baby Boomer generation has been the main consumer (80% sales) for decades, so naturally the auto industry is going to market their vehicles to the demographic that buys their cars the most. But I think this is a huge mistake by corporations, which will end up biting them on the rear end. Speaking as a Generation X'er, I think the auto industry has completely abandoned me and introduced vehicles that are geared towards people with an expendable income (Baby Boomers). A good example of this is how everything is going upmarket (Near Luxury), even compact cars. I remember when I could buy an economy car for $12,000. Now most of them start at $18,000, because of all the features they keep on adding. This is why the only options for a young person for transportation is a) Used Vehicles b) Car Sharing: Zip Car c) Public Transportation or d) Bicycles.

The auto industry isn't paying attention to what Gen X, Y and Z are doing. This scares me because Baby Boomers have a decade or so of driving left and they don't have a demographic to take over for the Boomers. The auto industry was counting on my generation to get married and have children, which guaranteed new car sale, but we’re not marrying or having children. I have a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 for over 12 years now and because of my student loans I can't see myself owning a new car in the near or foreseeable future. There are 100's of millions of people in my age bracket that are in my situation. You really need to do a show on this topic: Youths Automotive Apathy. It's really important that you address this because hardly anyone is. Thank you and keep up the good work!

Best Regards,

Neillssen Hines
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Neillssen,

Great feedback and good insights. We’re going to publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others in the auto industry can ready it, and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Best,
McElroy
6-11-2014

I am not contesting the fact points of the GM ignition switch recall case, but I question a Congress that so vehemently attacks GM for a safety defect that cost 13 lives, yet turns a blind eye to the drug companies like Merck & Pfizer, when drugs like Vioxx & Celebrex have killed significantly more people, yet Vioxx and Celebrex are still on the market.

Readily available on-line:

"In the initial estimates provided by the FDA, 27,785 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths between 1999 and 2003 were attributed to Vioxx. Dr. Graham has provided these estimates in subsequent statements and since then most analysts have put worldwide deaths to be somewhere in the range of 150,000 to 200,000."

The auto industry validates its product to a much higher level of rigor than the drug companies.

Do the watchdog agencies keep track of how much money Big Pharma spends on lobbying vs. what the Auto Industry spends on Lobbying?

Just questioning the unbalanced attention this is receiving.

Jim Waters
6-5-2014

Hi John and team,

I heard you mention GM's "Ergo Chair" on Autoline Daily episode 1377. I used to work with Toyota and I think Toyota pre-dated GM on this concept by several years. I remember seeing this several years ago as part of a Toyota Production System training video. I looked online to see if I could find the exact video; it was an ergo chair designed for workers to install some trim pieces to the rockers of the previous generation Camry SE. The closest video I could find was this one: around the 7 minute mark.

I know the episode was a while ago, but listening to after hours (Toyota Camry guy) reminded me to let you know this information.

Jeremy Jones
You're right, GM was not the first to do this. In fact I've seen video of the Ford Model T plant that had the precursor to that chair in 1913.

McElroy
6-5-2014

John,

I looked up the Frankfurt Auto show dates for 2015, from Sept 17 - 27th. Are the press days before that or during? Would like to plan it out so I can be there for the public showing. Thought I ask you, I can't find anything on the net.

Espo
You’re right, they have not officially published the press days for the 2015 Frankfurt show. But almost for sure they would fall on September 15 and 16.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Hi John,

I don't know if I should be gratified or not at today's mention of a possible recall of GM trucks made from 1999 to 2003 due to corroding brake lines. Back on March 10th I sent an email to your viewermail grumping about the corroded brake lines in my 2003 Chevy Avalanche. The NHTSA has an ongoing engineering analysis (EA11-001), a precursor to a recall, investigating brake line corrosion failures of "1999-2003 GM C/K pickup trucks and SUVs in Salt Belt states".

All of the other GM recalls are for issues that only sometimes create a hazardous situation. (Example: Sometimes a bad ignition switch only cuts off accessories and does not result in an engine stoppage.) Any and all failures of a corroded brake lines will create a hazardous situation. I was lucky because my Avalanche's failure occurred in a parking lot. I had to replace every steel brake line in the truck to make it safe to drive. I have been driving in what's considered the salt belt states for over 40 years in vehicles with more use and exposure to the elements than my Avalanche and have never had a failure of a metal brake line.

The corners that the old GM cut when building my truck and those countless other cars and trucks is unconscionable. I can only hope that the new GM does not hide behind the bankruptcy and fixes all these unsafe vehicles and reimburses those that had to pay out of pocket to make their vehicles safe.

Steve Naugler in Hockessin, DE
Steve,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention again. We can’t always get to every letter we receive due to the volume of mail we get. But clearly we should have paid more attention to your March 10 letter, especially since GM is recalling those trucks for the very issue you cited.

Respectfully,
John McElroy
6-5-2014

John:

I thought this might interest you. Looks like Mexico is the big winner these days.

Canadian auto sector stalled, RBC says #CTVNews

Regards,
Steve Read
6-5-2014

John,

Take a look.

What do you think?

David Sprowl
Man if you think that roads are expensive now, wait ‘till they start paving them with PV panels. I highly doubt this will catch on anytime soon.

McElroy
6-5-2014

John you mentioned how bad the TV coverage of Indy 500 (which I watched) and NASCAR 600 (I just can’t watch anymore) and I agree completely about the coverage, but you missed commenting on the other big race of the day the Monaco Grand Prix.

In Canada we get the BBC British coverage of F1 via TSN. So maybe you can get it in Detroit. It was a great race with incredible backdrops and in car camera and telemetry work. If you ever want to hear great motor sport coverage you have to download the BBC show.

1 hour of pre-race with Eddie Jordon and Martin Brundle and race coverage with David Coulthard and Allan McNish all with no commercials and not once did I hear Boogety Boogety Boogety.

Alex Barnett

Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Alex,

I simply did not mention the F1 coverage because I didn’t have the time to fit my time slot. I wish CBC in Windsor would carry the coverage you get. We get F1 coverage via NBC Sports, which uses David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Leigh Diffey for its coverage. They do a commendable job, but we still get quite a few of commercial interruptions and miss a lot of the action. NBC will run a postage-stamp sized screen of the race during some of its commercial breaks and pretend that the fans aren’t missing anything, but none of us hard-core viewers are fooled by that ploy.

Also, they feel the need to explain the qualifying procedure every single time, replete with the same graphics every single time. I don’t know of any other sports coverage where the rules of the game are explained at every single game. Why are motor sports fans the only ones who get dumbed down coverage? And why is it that in every other sport it is the pace of the sport that dictates when a commercial break comes, whereas motor racing is the only one where the sport is interrupted for a commercial break?

Very frustrated,
John McElroy
6-5-2014

John,

Thanks for speaking your mind about the current state of motorsports coverage – I couldn’t agree more, especially regarding the Indy coverage. I don’t know if clueless producers dumb-downed the Indy content to the “duh” factor or the bland announcers playing “Captains Obvious” were all they could afford, but it was pitiful. And NASCAR can drop the “good-old-boy” schtick and the over-the-top graphics packages where every commercial break has the leading driver mean-mugging us into a fast-food or male enhancement commercial.

You’re right about the current racing in NASCAR being great, but when people pine for the “back-in-the-day” racing they remembered in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I have to think they are really looking for how it was more fact-driven and racer oriented, including the coverage, rather than the over-blown yet simplistic presentation that alienates true fans of the sport. Nothing shows this more than when a network thinks it’s great paring the Waltrip brothers for hours of inane and repetitive coverage while releasing a real journalist like Dave Despain.

Thanks,

Mark B.
Waukesha, WI
6-5-2014

I agree totally with the lack of presentation in racing today. I think the TORC off-road series is well presented, with several shorter races across various classes, and commercials in between, plus the sport isn't as expensive to enter for new teams. Global (not world) RallyCross also gets the action right. I don't see why NASCAR couldn't break the day into say, four distinct racing classes with different cars and levels of technology, though I suppose that might cut into profits.

Noah Rogers
6-5-2014

John,

I always enjoy seeing your weekly video presentation of auto news. It keeps me informed about the industry news, new concepts, trends and an insight on your many years of experience in the industry. Keep up the great work.

My question...

With today's technology, diesel automobile engines are more efficient than gas powered. Why aren't fuel companies investing more into creating more diesel refineries to make diesel fuel less expensive? Is the price based more on purely "supply and demand" economics allowing them to charge much higher prices for diesel used for automobiles and heavy trucks?

Mitchell Brown
Mitchell,

Thanks for your support of Autoline!

Guess what? U.S. Refiners are increasing their output of diesel fuel. But they’re exporting more and more of it. In fact, the U.S. is now the Number 1 exporter of diesel fuel. Refiners make much more profit on diesel and have no incentive whatsoever to make diesel less expensive.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Autoline Exec of the year. I would say it’s a toss-up between Rupert Stadler – CEO of Audi or Matthias Müller – CEO Porsche.

All the best,
Bill Conn
Bill,

Great suggestions for the Autoline Executive of the Year, and I’ll share this with the Blue Ribbon panel.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Hi John,

I’ve been purchasing cars for quite a number of years and am disappointed in the color choices being offered these days by most manufacturers.

Take for instance Audi...Their choices are limited to less than a dozen, mostly dark shades. Of course there’s white. But I remember when they had pearl white...I had one.

No-one in the “Luxury” brands has a wide enough pallet of colors. Variety of greens, reds, blues.

I look at a parking lot and overwhelmingly see dull sameness.

As far as interiors are concerned, there seems to be a love of black...especially at Audi. The most inconvenient color. (Black isn’t a color).

By the way, I’ve had 8 of them since 1980, and seriously considering alternative brands because I can’t get the color I want in the model I choose.

Love your show...watch it daily.

Regards,
GK

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