Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv
Note: Your name and/or email may be read on the air.

12-12-2014

John,

I agree, Scion should go upscale. They have always been unique designs and the quality for the nitch was good. They need to "grow" with their customers as they can afford more upscale models.

Milt
12-12-2014

Hey John,

On December 6, 2013 you said that if Saab is still in business selling vehicles in Sweden and China you will eat your hat.

So the question is, is Saab still in business? And if they are, may I recommend a good Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your hat

Bon appetit.

Sincerely,
Mr. Cepeda
When GM went bankrupt it sold SAAB to Spyker. When Spyker went bankrupt, it sold SAAB to a consortium called New Electric Vehicle Sweden. NEVS just went bankrupt and reportedly Mahindra from India wants to buy SAAB. So the answer is: as of right now, SAAB is not in business and not selling cars in Sweden or China.

McElroy
12-12-2014

John,

In typical government fashion, they are the all too willing cudgel the entrenched cab companies are using to keep competition (Uber) out of the marketplace. Do you think the D3 would have improved quality absent the presence of NISSAN, Toyota, or Honda? - I think not!

The best friend consumers the world over has are 'FREE & OPEN MARKETS.' Governments are supposed to create an environment of opportunity. They fail at this mission when they keep competition out!

Vincent A. Joy
Amen, brother!

McElroy
12-12-2014

John,

Why not go to the "short track" format run at many small tracks in the country. Heat races to qualify for the C, B and A main events. With winners of the C and B mains advancing. I agree the races should be shorter. I would also reduce the size of the gas tanks so have more pit stops. I would also limit the number of people over the wall. F1 is insane with no one on the pit crew needing to move more than six inches. I do like the tire rules for F1; NASCAR should have different tires required. And yes they should run in the rain.

Milt
P.S. The Chili Bowl is only a month away. Best "racing" of the year.
Milt,

Thanks for sharing your views. And I agree with the F1 point that the pit crews are too specialized.

McElroy
12-12-2014

No one seems to be addressing the negative impact low gas prices are having on E85 sales. A coworker of mine saw a gas station where E85 was actually more expensive than gasoline.

Chris Harbowy
Amazing. Thanks for the heads-up.

McElroy
12-12-2014

I saw an older episode where you predicted gas below $2; I doubted you.

Why don't you have a spot in your shows where you except some parts of older episodes, such as you predicting the gas price?

Mike Mc Allister
12-12-2014

Any truth to the internet blog rumor that NHTSA is about to recall all Acura TLX's with the 9-speed ZF transmission? Sounds like another potential black eye for Honda.

Joe in San Antonio
Joe,

Wish we could have tracked this down sooner. You were ahead of everyone else on this one.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

Love the show, but you - a car guy - messed up on the Trailblazer’s game snafu. That’s not an Escape blimp. It’s blatantly an Edge (and not the next gen that’s coming out).

Check out the rear lights. 100% Edge. No question.

You’re perfect otherwise!

All the best
Bryan Falchuk
Thanks for catching that, Eagle Eye!

McElroy
12-8-2014

I think that Toyota has to follow KIA and Hyundai's model for moving their Scion brand up market. This means to move Scion up market Toyota's going to have to do more than take a Toyota Camry and put wood on the dashboard. Scion can start by making a hard top convertible version of the FR-S.

Ben Dukoff
12-8-2014

Greetings,

Just wanted to bring to your attention some issues with the new TLX. There seems to be a problem with both the new 8 speed DCT and even the 9 speed. The 9 speed is under recall. The 8 speed DCT is having major issues with jerkiness and going into reverse. Some have had near accidents because of the transmission. You will find this info on the Interweb and TLX forums.

I thought the TLX would be my next car. Not sure now – at least not the 2015.

Regards,
R. Byerley
12-8-2014

John,

Love your shows, and listen to them daily on my drives as a field rep for Toyota. Keep up the great work!

So I've given it away who I'm biased towards, but then I also thought qualified to comment on your Scion question from the recent show. I've been with Toyota for over 15 years, so saw some great times for Scion when the brand was hot with the fresh products. Now, of course, they're all stale, except for the FR-S...so where to go from here?

From what I've seen, the original tuner crowd that we marketed to has really gone further underground. The young buyers nowadays don't seem too interested in modifying their rides, which was a pillar of Scion when we launched it. The 18-25 year old crowd mostly has designs on nicer cars - I see them eyeing VWs, sport hatches, and luxury brands. So will we capture them again with a new lineup on Scions? Maybe, maybe not. The upcoming iA and iM models are really solid, especially the M, the small 4-door that I believe Mazda will be building for us down in Mexico. An offshoot of the Mazda 3 platform, it should do extremely well with a price point around $15K. And that's really where I believe we should take Scion. Right now, we have no competition in the sub-compact arena. The Yaris isn't a player at $18K and up, as it butts right up against the Corolla, so we give away tons of sales to the Versa and Accent. Bringing out some solid cars in that price range would be the way I'd go. Problem is, as you know, Scion isn't a volume brand...at least it hasn't been up until now, with all production coming out of Japan.

Dealers need to the fresh products ASAP to get re-engaged with Scion. So 2015 will be interesting for sure to see how the brand evolves.

Have a great weekend!
007.1
Great insight, thanks for sending.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

I agree with your suggestions. With the long NASCAR races I've learned to do projects around the house and check in on progress of the race. The other problem is there are tooooooo many commercials during the race. As to the pre-race shows I skip those and the talking-heads that are just blowing to fill the time slot, often repetitiously. The racing without wings I agree to. That's one reason I enjoy watching the NASCAR Modifieds. I feel those drivers are really working to stay in the race they're running.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I really enjoy your shows.

Jim Adcock
Yakima, WA
12-8-2014

John:

I’m becoming very confused, if not pretty ticked off by now. Both you “Autoline” and “AutoWeek” magazine recently did pieces on 3D printing and how cool it is without explaining that you must have a 3D solid model and the skills to produce that model before you can really take control of what you are printing. So the idea of making 1/18th scale parts for models is absolutely correct but without the skills of CAD/3D solid modeling you’re at the mercy of others that have those skills. I sent both you and AutoWeek a note about the importance of these steps, and that even 3D scanning will not go straight to 3D printing without the post-processing in a CADD interface. To date I have heard nothing back. My letter didn’t make it into the AutoWeek OpEd area, or even your Autoline “Viewers Mail”. Please let me know if this is too esoteric or hard to understand? How can I help?

Sincerely yours:
Rick Glesner
Chair of Engineering Graphics/Mechanical Design
Community College of Denver
12-8-2014

Duncan Aldred talked about selling $70,000 Denali’s. That is more money than my first house in the late 70’s, and almost as my next house in the late 80’s. Is there any statistics on the inflation adjusted prices for GMC premium vehicles of the past? What would a top of the line 1980 Jimmy cost in today’s dollars?

Neil Gridley
A 2-door 1980 Jimmy 4x4 had a base price of about $8,000. In today’s money that's about $23,000.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

I know that you guys and gals in auto media get special pre-event access to auto shows, along with full press kits, and that you likely only look at new models and concepts, but I wondered if you were struck by the inferior cheapness of the Nissan section (at the LA Auto Show) in the same way I was. Maybe they got lazy with nothing new to debut. Or maybe part of the display kit was still somewhere on a train, truck, or boat.

Unlike nearly every other manufacturer/brand, Nissan lacked any of those little interactive (or even just plain static words) information stands beside ANY of its displayed vehicles. Sure they had a large multi-media wall presentation, and a revolving car, and a spokesperson/model, a walk-up desk, and lotsa staff walking around, but the public was left to guess at any information that wasn't disclosed by a nameplate or the stupid process below.

I was offended practically to the point of being insulted by the penny-pinching after first bothering to spend all the money on a display at all. What they did do -- once for each model, was glue a large two-page window sticker to the inside passenger's windshield.

When you came to a model, if you didn't see a windshield sticker, you had to go looking around for a similar vehicle and find out what you could from that sticker on the other similar car.

But NOTHING at all ANYWHERE about power, transmission, colors, trims, levels, final assembly, countries of origin, or price range. Just one vehicle sticker per model line. I just GUESS they were all 2015s -- we haven't crossed the January 20th threshold for production 2016 vehicles. But who knows.

To me, surely a stupidly expensive but informationally unfriendly way to try to sell cars.

Pete
12-8-2014

Hi John and crew,

In pecking order would the Ford Mondeo Vignale be more a Fusion or a MKS, and are there any plans to bring over the gorgeous station wagon (the Taurus wagon did quite well). Thank you and have a great day.

Mike from Philly
The Mondeo Vignale is closer to the MKZ in terms of pricing than to the Fusion. We’d guess there is zero chance of the Mondeo wagon ever being sold in the US market.

McElroy
12-8-2014

I was enthralled with After Hours this week. The hour was gone before you knew it. Lauren Fix was refreshing in your mix as well.

I'd sure like to make the scene at Mr. Pardo's studio some time too!

Getting to hear some of the 'off the record' after show chit chat is always interesting, but today I was glad you folks cut it off as this guy has more years in the profession and couldn't really speak frankly about a number of things, and I was hoping he would watch himself, which he did.

And again, the Murano looks like Pikachu.

rwork
Thanks for the kind words. Camilo was great, wasn’t he? One of the most interesting discussions about design that we’ve ever had on the show.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

Just like Petrol car, Diesel car, Electric car, Natural Gas car, why not call the Fuel-cell car a Hydrogen car.

Is it not the fuel it is using ....! It is just miss-leading that automakers want to make it sound like as though it runs on electricity without needing to charge. Time to get real.

Looking forward to getting my comments read :)

Thanks,
Ash
12-8-2014

John,

I recently heard an investment advocate make the statement that people using a car-sharing service such as Uber have no insurance coverage when they rent a vehicle. Unless they secure their own coverage they are liable for any damages or loss should they become involved in an accident. I wonder how many people using this car-sharing service will have to suffer financial loss before this fact becomes common knowledge?

Jim
Yakima, WA
Jim,

This comes right off Uber’s website. In case of an accident, it sounds like they’ve got you covered.

If you’re taking a ride requested through UberBLACK, UberSUV, or uberTAXI, your livery or taxi transportation provider carries a commercial insurance policy in at least the minimum amount required by local regulations. If you didn’t get his or her insurance information at the time of the accident, please reach out to us so we can connect you.

If you’re taking a ride requested through uberX, some transportation providers are rideshare drivers providing transportation with their personal vehicles. Rideshare providers carry personal insurance policies. However, there’s a commercial insurance policy for ridesharing with $1 million of coverage per incident. This policy covers drivers’ liability from the time a driver accepts your trip request through the app until the completion of your trip. This policy is expressly primary to the driver’s personal auto policy. An additional insurance policy covers drivers when they are logged into the Uber app but have not yet accepted a trip request.

There is also uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UI/UIM) of $1 million per incident for bodily injury, in case another motorist causes an accident and doesn’t carry adequate insurance. So, for example, injuries caused by a hit-and-run accident would be covered by the UI/UIM.
12-2-2014

John,

In case I neglected to send you this prediction: The Left (i.e.> Democrats & Assorted Think Tanks & Eco-Fascistas) will start using low gasoline prices as a lever to get Congress to raise gasoline taxes. 60 Minutes has already sent out a "Stalking Horse" in the form of a segment on infrastructure and the need to raise more revenue. Of course they neglected to mention that the Highway Trust Fund has been repeatedly "raided" to secure funding for the Left's pet rail projects, among other things. They also failed to mention the huge cost overruns caused by the Eco-Fascistas delaying tactics on almost all infrastructure projects. Typical of 60 Minutes Reports.

You heard it here first!

Regards,
Vincent A. Joy
12-2-2014

Hi John,

Concerning the comparison of the Lexus “Spindle grill” to that of the 1961 Plymouth (One of Exner’s last designs); I consider both atrocious!

The Lexus looks as if it is a giant vacuum cleaner or mouth wishing to suck whatever comes its way along the road. UGLY!!!

The Plymouth’s front was no beauty either. It was one of Exner’s flops. I doubt though that Lexus’ designers ever laid eyes on the Plymouth. Must have come from some-one’s nightmares.

Regards,
GK from TO
12-2-2014

John,

I love the show and have admired your work for years. I’ve recently joined the industry and now have an even greater appreciation for your depth of knowledge.

With regards to the Morgan Stanley Autonomous Vehicle report, I was just curious does the MS report take into account the possible negative effects of AVs?

For example, I would think the logical first place for AVs is to replace professional drivers. I say this for a few reasons:

These vehicles have consistent, predictable, steady routes and pace (especially in trucking). These industries would be able offset the short-term financial hit of being early adopters by the savings in payroll reduction. So all of those pesky humans (who incur costs and have needs like benefits and salaries) could be replaced by a fleet of AVs.
So if the trucking industry were to go all in on AVs then it is safe to assume we would see unemployment rise. In response, states and possibly the federal government would have to fund some retraining initiatives or risk adding to the list of the chronically unemployed.

Thanks for the time and I hope I get to meet you at NAAS this year.

Regards,
Harsha Vemulapalli
There is no doubt that the trucking industry is keenly interested in autonomous trucks. And that will definitely displace truck drivers, though the impact would be spread out over several decades. That being said, trucking companies in the US complain that their Number One problem is finding and retaining drivers. There is an acute shortage right now. It is expensive to get a commercial carrier license, and many applicants cannot pass the drug test.

The issue you raise is an important one to consider. Though autonomous vehicles will provide an enormous benefit to society, some people will need to look for a new line of work.

McElroy
12-2-2014

John & Co,

I would like to add my voice to the crescendo of negative opinion condemning electronic peripherals! Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

I do not want to play X-Box with multiple gamers, while doing 75 mph on the interstate at 6 AM on the way to work. It interferes with my checking my Amazon orders, iTunes downloads, and text messages, while drinking my coffee and watching for the left lane sleeper doing 50 upfront and the guy behind in the jacked up pickup doing 85 weaving in and out of 'slow traffic'....

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
11-24-2014

When I bought my Hyundai 3 years ago, I said "give me the stripped-down model", because I could see their infotainment system was already behind the curve and a waste of money. And I tested a lot of cars. They all were clunky and out-dated tech when compared with my phone or tablet, no matter what the system.

Just give me a port and a place to dock my smart phone. Is this so hard for them to understand? Apparently, it is, as we are still getting antiquated tech and, believe it or not, we aren't even getting buttons and knobs like we should.

Why are car-makers so obtuse about these things? They can never keep up. GIVE ME A PORT!

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ
Ken,

You’re going to get your ports! Automakers had hoped to continue selling $2,000 infotainment systems but are finally coming to the realization that it’s ticking off car buyers like you.

The problem is that it takes about three years to develop a car. Everything has to be validated and sourced by Job One. But even before the first car rolls down the line, the consumer electronics industry is already onto the next generation.

What automakers hope to do now is give you a port and put more capability in the cloud. They still want to control any info that relates to operating the car, but turn the rest over to independent info providers.

McElroy
11-24-2014

I just watched your segment on factory installed do it all stereo systems and a brief mention of an apple and android system. I have an older truck that didn't have the blue tooth or the navigation system. I fixed this by ordering a pure android radio off of ebay. It was as easy as installing any other aftermarket stereo. It has built in Bluetooth navigation backup camera and all the bells and whistles of a modern stereo and all the features of my android phone to include ease of use. This makes it easy for everyone. If you know how to use your phone then you would have no problem using your stereo and all its features. I think if your going to do a story about the complaints of the factory installed integration that you should put a little more interest in the systems that are out there, factory or not, that work with little to no problems to give those that are watching an idea of what is working.

Chris
Chris,

Great feedback. Thanks for sending this. We can’t cover it all and it really helps when our vast viewer base chimes in with story suggestions and other information.

McElroy
11-24-2014

I agree with the comments on the program dated 11/23/14 regarding the electronic peripherals.

I purchased a 2010 Silverado 2500 HD to pull a fifth wheel trailer and one module. The On Star system failed within the first twelve months. GM has replaced the antenna and one module. I have gone through numerous diagnostic tests and downloads where I had to leave the vehicle running for at least ten minutes. The last two months the diagnostic OnStar report has advised of a problem that requires further test and downloads. In addition the CDMA system will not work in 2015. GM still will not tell me what the solution will be nor how much it will cost. I have been programming computers since 1963. I have built a home theater system that is the envy everyone who sees and hears it. I have no ‘12:00’ flashing electronics in my home. OnStar just plain stinks.

I will never subscribe to any of those interface systems again.

Harry Plath
11-24-2014

Dear John and company,

You are the greatest!!!

I would love a special on hydrogen fuel cell cars. Reviewing all the cars and Technology. Thanks for all the education on cars and the automotive industry.

Jordan Grancell
11-21-2014

Dear John, Gary & Drew,

I think Volkswagen performs poorly in the US (although I believe they do much better in Canada), for two reasons:

1) Perception of poor reliability with poor and expensive service, and

2) Watered down 'US' models, and lack of the halo performance variants available in Europe.

I loved my 1976 VW Scirroco 5 speed manual, but would think twice about buying another VW today.

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
11-21-2014

Hi! Love the Autoline shows, keep up the good work! I have a question:

When a new car model is launched, is the mid-cycle refresh content already established well in advance? Do OEM’s willingly reserve some design or technology features for this refresh so they know they still have some excitement left to inject later, or do they simply react to customer feedback after the car goes on sale?

Thanks!

Jean-François
Québec, Canada
We're glad you like the Autoline shows!

Developing a new car typically takes around three years. Including suppliers, there are probably 1,000 engineers and technical people involved. And there are thousands of parts they have to develop. Automakers don't save cool technology for a later date. Otherwise competitors will beat them to the market. But sometimes not everything can be ready for the launch date.

Once the new car is launched they will start planning immediately for its mid cycle refresh. And they will plan to do modifications, improvements, and add new technology that couldn't be incorporated in time for Job One. And they will also respond to customer feed back or other issues from the field.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Love your shows, website, etc. Just wanted to say how much I think Gary V. is a wonderful addition to your After Hours show. Great improvement and I’ll leave it at that. Sean is really doing a nice job these days as well. He has come a long way and gets better every show he is a part of. Thanks as always for the great daily and weekly insights. Keep up the good work.

Bill Eichenberger
Thanks for the great feedback. This is what keeps us coming into work at the crack of dawn everyday.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Regarding connected cars and security/Reliability ....

I have to ask:

What consumer benefit is there to having the airbags be anything but a stand-alone system?
What consumer benefit is there to having the multimedia be anything but a stand-alone system?
What consumer benefit is there to having the autonomy be anything but a stand-alone system?

Shouldn't these be sealed systems?

Either are engineers are making Rube Goldberg machines for giggles.... or is it just OEMs' data gathering for marketing purposes... and creating security/Reliability risks in the process?

NMR
11-21-2014

Hey John,

I was just watching Woodward Live and you mentioned your affection for half tracks. Back when I was a young man and that’s been a while. My Father bought one. The Family was in heavy construction and he purchased a WW II Studebaker half track that was outfitted with a Quickway Crane. It was a half track Truck Crane. It was cool. It was a single passenger because the right side of the cab had been modified as a cradle for the boom of the crane. I remember that the hood was amour platted steel about 1/2” thick. It was a chore to check the oil. It was hinged in the middle so it was winged, but it probably weighed 50 or 60 pounds. The really cool part was the transmission. It was a four speed, but the shift pattern was unique. Third was where fourth usually was and fourth gear was in the usual third gear location. This put the shift lever near the dash in high gear so there was more room for a passenger riding in the middle. I thought it was cool, but you can imagine my trying to figure it out the first time that I drove it. You’d shift from second to what you thought would be third to lug the engine. It was mentioned on the show that the tracks would be tearing up the street. These tracks were rubber pads, very similar to some of our heavy equipment of today. We used to drive it around just as if it were rubber tired. You never worried about getting a flat. Boy, when you think back on some of the stuff we used to do in the old days, huh? It would probably get us put in jail today, but back then it was just another day in the office. Thanks for the nostalgic moment when you mentioned “half tracks”, thought I’d share some of the trivia of yesteryear.

John Gonia
Great story. Wish I had a half track when I was a kid... or even now!

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Great web site! I especially enjoy the Autoline Daily production. Just wish I had the time to watch the Autoline Weekly and Autoline After Hours shows.

Many years ago (late 1970's) I recall reading an article, I think it was in the SAE magazine, about what happens to the "rubber" that gets worn off of tires. While shopping for tires recently, I got to thinking about this again. Did a short web search, but there doesn't seem to be much information about this issue. However, I did find this short article.

Thought this might be a good subject for a technical segment.

Also, in researching tires, I noticed that tire manufacturers are using more "natural" ingredients in their compounds. An example is the new Michelin Premier A/S that uses sunflower oil. And I've read that some tire manufacturers are using walnuts in their compounds.

Thanks,
Rick
Thanks for the link, interesting article.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Hello Mr. McElroy,

Have you heard of these car buying services? The Car Haggler, Shawn Spiegel (thecarhaggler.com). A new “Concierge” service for people who want to buy a car but hate the dealership negotiation experience.

Not sure where he gets his deal thru? Carsdirect.com, TrueCar, Costco, etc? So far as a USAA member, which they use TrueCar, they have been unbeatable on 4 transactions in the last few years.

Have a good day,

Guy Martineau,
Tampa, FL
11-21-2014

Hi Guys,

I'm in the market to purchase a new vehicle soon and the 2015 VW Golf and the Golf GTI both are options for me at the moment. I've been checking their website regularly since the summer when the cars were released so that I could configure and build my own car so I could have an idea of what it cost me with the options I had in mind. However, VW's website is not offering an option to configure my own car but rather an option to "Find a Match." And of course none of the matches for the standard Golf or GTI is what I'm looking for. This is useless for me since I now have to decipher why one car costs more than the other and if it has all the options I want it's not in the color I want.

Well anyways I'm not looking to find a soulmate I'm just looking to buy a piece of machinery the way I want it, which apparently VW won't let me. Thankfully there are lot of other good options and good websites out there for me.

Thanks,
Rob Peters
Does this help explain VWs lackluster sales?

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Hello John,

I have been hearing rumors that Lincoln might be showing off a surprise model or redesign sometime soon, have you heard anything and don't you think Lincoln needs a flag ship vehicle just like Lexus has done with the LFA, and Acura with the new NSX, hope to hear your thoughts.

Rick Ce
Yes, Lincoln does have some sort of new model coming and they will unveil it to the media on December 2.

McElroy
11-21-2014

John,

Excellent, informative, well rounded program. I have an idea that you might pass along to your automotive contacts. It concerns the background color of today’s dashboards. I love the black backgrounds and how they look. Unfortunately as I get older I’m having trouble seeing the readouts. Could an optional white background be offered? It seems like an easy option and one that would be greatly accepted by the growing aging public. The black while looking cool, absorbs too much light. Thanks. I thought of writing to individual auto makers and then the light bulb came on and I thought of you.

John Gonia
John,

I think this is an excellent suggestion. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others in the auto industry can see it too.

McElroy
11-21-2014

John,

Technology & fuel efficiency requirements are clearly leading to higher vehicle prices while salaries remain mostly stagnant. At the same time, vehicles are getting more reliable & more repairable. These trends should lead to new vehicle purchases that are “less necessity” and “more discretionary” going forward. Would you agree that the auto industry will see more extreme boom and bust cycles in the future as a result?

A2RangerRick
Boom and bust cycles have been part of the automotive industry for over a century. I don’t think that will change, but I don’t see the cycle becoming more extreme.

McElroy
11-21-2014

Hi,

I watched the episode yesterday, and as usual it was a really good one. Very interesting information. John M., you were critical of the MT COY, but if you read how they choose their car of the year carefully, you will see that they have very specific criteria in different areas on how to choose the car. And it's not always unanimous (I look forward to watching their video discussion on COY award). I say this because your comments on why you would choose something else were very vague, as opposed to carefully considered criteria.

Sincerely,
Vittorio (LA, CA)
11-21-2014

Someone over there deserves a raise. I used to be able to skip right past all your ads in the podcast. Now, I am forced to watch them, as I don't know where they are going to pop up or how long they are going to last. My free ride is over. Yes, someone there is smarter than the average bear.

Ken S.
Phoenix, AZ
Sorry, Ken. We’re trying to make it as painless as we can!

McElroy
11-21-2014

No, no! It's not painful at all. There is no free ride. I don't expect no commercials. I'm impressed with the way you've done it.

Ken S.
11-21-2014

John,

The naming controversy gets a new chapter.

So, you remember the Acura Legend. And the Japan-based marketing executives that thought the name Legend had too much public recall because people would come ask where they could buy a Legend, rather than thinking of the brand Acura. (Seems as though this would be a good problem to have, but that was their rationale.)

Anyway, they changed Legend to RL and now the newest version is called the RLX.

However, they apparently did not have the same issue with buyers in Japan, because they never changed the name and also did not establish the Acura brand there. So, this car has been the Honda Legend in Japan all this time. And, the new version that is just coming to market will retain the name Honda Legend.

Seems to be a testament to the staying power of a good model name. Kind of like Cadillac and Lincoln not changing the names Escalade and Navigator.

GM Veteran
11-11-2014

Although there have always been engineers/inventors involved in the 125-year history of the "automobile," I have the impression that today's set of global auto manufacturers (major manufacturers & major OEM suppliers), with all the electronic chips, pollution controls, efficient transmissions, communications/entertainment, and constant upgrades to ICE engines and other modes of power, do actually employ more engineers per 100,000 vehicles than ever before.

On one show or another, I'd like to see a chart starting at 1920, coming forward in 10-year increments. Initially, we likely only have data on domestic US manufacturers.

I'd also enjoy seeing the same for sytlists/designers, as well as the number of workers per 100,000 vehicles over the same periods.

PSN
Pete,

That would make a great graphic. But none of the car companies, and I mean none of them, will give you an accurate number of the engineers they have. Same goes for the stylists. They keep those numbers close to their vest.

McElroy
11-11-2014

Cadillac needs to set their dealerships up as separate entities and improve the sales and service experience. Many dealerships in the Northeast are Buick GMC Cadillac abc the sales experience is not competitive with other luxury brands. When you go to a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus store the treatment and presentation as well as the actual purchase is as pleasant experience at the Cadillac dealership it is an adversarial transaction with the typical mass market business manager trying to screw over the customer. I looked at an ATS and would have taken it home but walked out of the business managers office and purchased a BMW 3 series down the street for more money.

Michael Gelven
11-11-2014

Hi John,

Yesterday I listened to the most recent episode of After Hours (#265 – Taking a S.W.O.T. at NASCAR) where you said you think that Chevrolet should axe the SS and Caprice due to very low sales.

Is this just glib talk or really what you think they should do?

While yes, the sales are quite low, these cars do serve their market niches seemingly well.

Looking at it from a business perspective I really do not see the justification for killing off these models prematurely. Most of the development was done by Holden in Australia, and then Chevy had to do the work to badge engineer them (slightly changed body styling), and certify them for the US market (emissions and safety). The effort to bring them from down under to the American market was probably not huge, but it's an investment which has already been done.

Now that they have vehicles in the field, there has to be some fixed cost to supporting customer vehicles (dealer training, parts stocked in distribution centers, etc) and the incremental cost for each car, I can imagine, would not be that huge.

I don't think these models will net Chevy a lot of profit, but I really don't see the case to kill them off before they'd typically be retired (I think the Holden equivalent will go the way of the dodo after MY2016)

In my industry (data center network switching), I have only really seen products killed before First Customer Shipped, and it seems to be mainly because even if you have a dog of a product, there will be a trickle of sales, and even if you ship just one unit, you're on the hook to support it.

Of course there are nuances to every industry, so I am betting there is something I am just not seeing--but what could it be?

As always your insight to the auto industry is appreciated.

Kevin from California
Look, I love the SS and would proudly own one. But it's the second worst selling car in GM's lineup, second only to the Cadillac ELR, which is a total sales dud. I'm sure Chevy is losing money on every SS it sells. Now, if these paltry sales are helping Holden, then maybe it makes sense from a corporate standpoint. But the new GM can't afford to continue to make the mistakes of the old GM, i.e., selling cars at a loss.

McElroy
11-11-2014

Hi John,

Now that there are electric compressors that do not have the leaking seals on the pulley shafts, the concern for what type of fluid should no longer be a concern and the most efficient fluid can now be used as in our refrigerators.

Has this topic been discussed and will the government allow it the switch as I do not know if the existing rules cover all refrigeration units?

Watch all the shows even the extra time on AAH.

Al
Al,

Hi this is Sean McElroy from Autoline. I saw your comment about air conditioning refrigerant and thought I could give some insight. While you're right that electric compressors have reduced the amount of refrigerant that will leak out around the pulley shaft, you have to remember that it's impossible to completely eliminate leaks in an a/c system. It will leak through the seals and over time every vehicle will lose its charge. Also, not every vehicle has adopted electric compressors, so the concern for refrigerant type is still there. We also have to keep in mind that accidents will happen. The a/c condenser is mounted even in front of the radiator, so in a front end accident it's most likely to get punctured and the refrigerant can be exhausted into the atmosphere that way. Again, causing concern for the type of refrigerant we use. I think there will always be a need for a refrigerant that's the least impactful on our environment and as a secondary factor that's also efficient. Thanks for being a faithful viewer and please feel free to write back with any additional questions or comments.

Cheers,
Sean McElroy, Associate Producer and ASE Certified Tech.
11-11-2014

Hello Autoline team,

Hey guys I saw you did a video for the Elio motor company in May of 2013 and was wondering if there was any new news to report on, I know you all get information to your viewers at a great speed and I love that, but I wasn't sure if you just decided not to report on it or if the information just wasn't out there for you all to report on. Hope to hear from you all soon.

Thanks for making great videos everyday for us viewers,
Skylar Peters
From what I could find in an article written a few days ago, Elio is waiting on an $185 million federal loan from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, so it can stick to its under $7,000 price tag. As you may remember that's the same program that gave out money to the likes of Fisker and since some of those companies have gone belly-up the program hasn't given out any money in 3 years. Elio has put in an application to get the loan and is has currently made it through the first of three rounds to obtain it. The company is now targeting to come out with the vehicle in 3rd or 4th quarter of 2015. Here's a link to the article that I found.

McElroy
11-11-2014

Had to laugh at John when he said nobody drives (a Ferrari) at top speed. My friends and I have driven EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE WE HAVE EVER OWNED SINCE AGE 16 AT ITS TOP SPEED. That goes for rentals, too.

When researching states to live in 10 years ago, my first call was to the DMV to ask about registering a component car. When the police chief drove by my open garage, he stopped to check out my car and asked in quiet tones, "How fast have you had it up to?" I leaned in and asked, "Within (state)?" "Uh huh." "152MPH." His eyes got big and I said, "Don't worry, it was outside the city limits."

I laugh at 30-something automobile journalists who complain of rough riding empty HD3500 diesel pick ups (Autoblog podcast) and spend most of their time yammering about $3,000 infotainment systems that have a half life of six months.

A 72 year old retired JD Powers exec and Acura dealer principal stopped me on the sidewalk of my little town yesterday to compliment me on driving a manual transmission car that's been modified for speed. He drives a Mustang GT 5 speed.

My buddies and I are all over 55 years of age. We've learned that age and professional decorum/attire helps tremendously with confusing young cops into handing out verbal warnings on the rare occasions we do get pulled over.

Car guys are still out there. Look harder and get on the gas, John! (I can mail you the secret location of a dead straight 8 mile two lane highway with no cross roads that dead ends at a natural gas producing facility. Nobody works on Sundays and there are only 6 deputies covering the 7,000 square miles surrounding it. Do I know how to pick a place to live or what?)

Keep up the great work.

Sam Spade
All I can say is: Awesome! It truly is safe to drive fast as long as you use common sense and pick the right place at the right time.

BTW, I’d love to see that map!

John McElroy
11-11-2014

Sorry John,

But the gasoline price in 1990 was around $1.16/gal, which was up from about $1.00/gal of the late 80s. $1.60 would have been abhorrent as is $3.00 now. Fortunately, the price is declining toward that 'fair value' closer to the 1990 price equivalent which will hopefully keep inflation low.

r-work
11-11-2014

John,

Found the story of Man U players snubbing free Camaros and Corvettes interesting. I agree, you would think they would want to at least sample them out of curiosity.

It reminded me of another sponsorship snub that took place here on our shores. Not long after Buick signed Tiger Woods as a spokesman, they presented him with a customized Regal GS, complete with carbon fiber trim pieces and other non-catalog enhancements. He politely said thank you and then gave it to his Mom! He continued driving his 911. The Buick executives were surprised and not at all pleased. I don't know what made them think a single guy in his late twenties would want to drive a Buick. Perhaps they should have reviewed their own demographic data before scheduling the press conference.

GM Veteran
11-11-2014

I am sure that the Achates motor is well thought out and might get some traction. However, why do you think that it is not just another "going to change the automotive industry" idea that in the end will just be ignored by the industry? It seems that these types of ideas come along every so often. Wasn't the rotary supposed to kill off the typical motor of the day?

Chuck Genrich
The rotary never lived up to its hype, and cost more to manufacture. The Achates motor, if it hits all its targets and is truly a lower cost motor, will have a much better shot at getting into mass production.

McElroy
11-11-2014

I'd like to see the two retired CA college professors (in their 70s and 80s) who sought parts and spent 30 years restoring a wrecked 1954 Ferrari 375MM Spider convertible. Along the way they sold used Ferraris, restored and sold other cars, and spent more than $1 million on the restoration. The car is one of only 14 ever made -- 2 of which are known to have been destroyed. The car is for sale, but the boys refused to accept $8.5 million.

PSN
11-4-2014

So nice to see Peter De Lorenzo. He was a perfect guy to have on this panel. I miss hearing his take on things. I hope he turns up from time to time.

I do read The Auto Extremist regularly. And that's the high octane truth for today!

Gavin Smith
11-4-2014

I stopped reading Consumer Reports back in the 90s when they rated the Chevy S10 Blazer as poor quality and the GMC Jimmy as good. They were the same truck built on he same line with a different grille for Pete’s sake!

Alimonytony
11-4-2014

John:

I could not have been more excited to see you got the "Band" back together. There is a certain chemistry between Jason, Yourself and Peter D. It was most enjoyable to watch. I am waiting for a reunion tour.

Thanks,
Bradley G.
11-4-2014

I would first like to say glad to see Peter D is still allowed in the studio. I miss hearing his commentary on Autoline After Hours. I'd really like to see him come back on there more frequently, maybe once a month. I don't mean to take anything away from Gary, what a great person, but Peter's perspective and uninhibited opinions are something else.

Interesting interview this week with Jason Vines. I'm surprised by his rankings of executives he has worked with and his overwhelming commitment to Jacques Nasser given what Jacques did to Ford during his tenure. The only thing about that time I agreed with was PAG. Had Ford allowed PAG to operate the way VW allows some of its divisions to operate maybe it would have worked.

Unfortunately due to other decisions Ford had to sell off PAG to fund the Way Forward and One Ford strategies. Otherwise Ford might have been the first of the Big Three to file bankruptcy.

Patrick Dean
11-4-2014

Dear Mr. McElroy,

I love the Autoline site and watch it each day for the latest news. I live in Los Angeles and was wondering if there were any volunteer opportunities to work with Autoline during the upcoming LA Auto Show. I am an impassioned automotive enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge about the industry.

Thank you for considering my attached resume. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,
Donald Lee
Donald,

Thanks for your interest in helping the Autoline crew at the LA show and we genuinely appreciate your offer. We get these requests frequently and while we wish we could invite all our fans to come join us, we are unable to comply since the auto show organizers are quite strict as to whom they allow into the show for the media days. And this is true for all the auto shows, not just the one in LA. We even get supplier executives and other notables asking us to help them get media credentials, but we have to politely turn them down, too.

Sincerely,
John McElroy
10-31-2014

Autoline,

Your comments regarding Consumer Reports reliability rating not relating to sales only indicates that many people buy based on emotion rather than facts.

We rely on Consumer Reports data regarding reliability, but then combine that with IIHS crash data to narrow our vehicle purchase choices.

We may not purchase the vehicle that we think has the best looks, but we use safety, reliability, and then comfort in driving as our metrics for purchase.

We have also always ordered all our vehicles since we have yet to find one on a lot that had everything we wanted in a vehicle.

Thanks for the great show and for providing unbiased information.

Thanks,
ppgnho
You’re right, most car purchases have to do with instant gratification. Congratulations on being one of the most rational car buyers I’ve ever come across!

Best,
John McElroy
10-31-2014

Wanted to correct you John - Caterham is named for a village in Surrey, not pronounced "Catter-ham" but "Cater-um". I guess a moot point now as sadly it's pronounced "de-funct"!

Chris Orchard
10-31-2014

Sure miss Peter. I can see where his pull no punches style might be bad for business but miss it just the same.

Michelle Krebs- I know she's been on lately but it had been awhile. Something about her I really like and hope she will be regular at least maybe once a month.

Cafe Standards- I heard someone report the average transaction price to be around 20 grand. Is there any chance automakers are about to price themselves out of business?

Are the masses going to pay for all this innovation being forced upon us?

Maybe the average trade in will go to 15 or even 20 years.

I just couldn't stomach buying a new truck so I got a 2004 F150 that was a really nice 1 owner trade in. Sounds like the new Chevy/GMC smaller trucks might have been a possibility though.

I'll be looking for a replacement for my wife's Kia Sorrento in a couple years.

I enjoy all your programs by podcast.

Oh yeah, miss Peter.

All the best from Texas
Mike Rodgers
10-29-2014

Hi John,

I disagree with you on CR's report, although I do not agree with many of their articles.

The majority of new car buying decisions are made by women and often are based on how it looks or the color.

The inconvenience and cost of repairs means more to me than styling. I expect and enjoy driving a car for years with only planned maintenance. I believe in this modern age having things go wrong is so 20th Century.

My favorite brands are Toyota and Honda and I think total global sales speaks volumes. All you have to do is look at values of 5 or 10 year old cars to see a trend. The public is not stupid.

Love your work.

Alan in Oregon

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