Autoline This Week Episode Archives

Show 1245

Bonus EXTRAs:
Internet Premiere
Tuesday, 12/23 @ 6:15pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 12/28 @ 10:30am ET

“Emotional Rescue”

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, GOP House Policy Committee Chair, William Diehl, President & CEO, BBK, Jeff Bennett, Dow Jones Newswire, David Welch, BusinessWeek

Topic: An inside look at the automotive bridge loan.

"I will be your savior, steadfast and true."

It's pretty safe to say that the Rolling Stones and George W. Bush have little in common. But when it comes to the Big Three bailout, these Mick Jagger-penned lyrics sound like a sentence that might've come from the Oval Office as the President approved the $17 billion bridge loans. Ahhh, everyone in Detroit breathes a huge sigh of relief. But how much of a rescue -- emotional or otherwise -- are the loans? As they say, be careful what you wish for.

On this week's show we take a look inside the bridge loans from three different perspectives: players, participants and partisans. We start the conversation with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a suburban Detroit Republican who had to balance ideology and reality throughout the crisis. Then John talks to a couple of automotive reporters, David Welch from BusinessWeek & Jeff Bennett of Dow Jones Newswire, who watched as Detroit nearly crumbled these last couple of months. We'll hear how the companies dealt with the ever-changing situation and explore their plans going forward. And speaking of plans, as part of the loan language the Big Three will have to restructure. What exactly does that mean? Joining John is an expert in the field, Bill Diehl who is the President & CEO of BBK, a company that specializes in doing just that.

Who would've predicted a few weeks ago that these late '70s Mick Jagger lyrics would seem appropriate?

With the long-awaited news from the White House last week, this line might've seemed natural coming from the President as it did when it was originally sung back in 1980 by the Rolling Stones.



Show 1244

Internet Premiere
Friday, 12/19 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 12/21 @ 10:30am ET

“Pure Imagination”

Anne Asensio, VP, Design Experience, Dassault Systemes, Bob Struble, President & CEO, iBiquity Digital Corporation, Jennifer Applebee, Sr. Mgr., Product Strategy, Chrysler LLC

Topic: A discussion on today's design techniques and some of the futuristic products produced for vehicles.

When Gene Wilder first sang "Pure Imagination" in the 1971 movie classic 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,' he was strolling amid Chernobyl-sized eatable candied plants and a river of liquid chocolate -- obviously fictitious creations from the fertile minds of movie magicians. Some 28 years later, when it comes to the equipment we're seeing in today's automobiles compared to the early '70s, you almost shake your head in disbelief as we did when we first saw Wonka's Candy Factory: works of pure imagination, indeed.

In this week's show we talk with three executives from three different companies and discuss not only some of these incredible products but just how they are being developed for today's cars.

We start with Anne Asensio from Dassault Systemes, a French firm that creates products for its client base in the virtual world. Ms. Asensio says that today, more than in the past, design has become an extremely collaborative effort that involves everyone in the food chain -- from the very top to the customers themselves. Meanwhile, one of the products coming out of this collaborative effort, in this case from our second guest's company iBiquity, is HD Radio. Bob Struble heads this supplier which produces digital receivers that allow you to listen to all those restricted local AM & FM radio stations that are now being broadcast only on Hybrid Digital bands. And speaking of restrictive broadcasting, let's not forget about the Internet. Chrysler sure hasn't. It’s working with a firm from Silicon Valley that's bringing the Internet to its cars and trucks in the not too distant future. Jennifer Applebee from Chrysler joins John to tell us just how far away this technology is and what will be available with it once it's in the vehicle.


Show 1243

Internet Premiere
Friday, 11/21 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 11/23 @ 10:30am ET


Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Chief Technical Officer, Vice President Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company. Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, Tom Murphy, Topic: A Look Into Ford's Technological Future

Few might recognize this little used 19th century noun. Fewer still have probably noticed the word is the soundtrack to one of the slick new Lincoln MKS television ads. The song emphasizes the abundance of technology you find in the new sedan. And technology has been a key to not only Lincoln's renaissance, but Ford's as well. Dr. Gerhard Schmidt is the man who leads the team at the Blue Oval responsible for EcoBoost in the engine, Sync inside the car and everything in between. On this week's Autoline he talks about this latest technology and what may be coming in future Ford cars and trucks.



Show 1242

Internet Premiere
Friday, 11/14 @ 3:45pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 11/16 @ 10:30am ET


Dr. David Cole, The Center for Automotive Research, Mike Stanton, Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, Steve Henderson, Dow Automotive. Topic: Washington & the Proposed Detroit Three Bailout plus Dow Automotive's NASCAR Protection.

Long before he was dubbed the Master of the Macabre, legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was known for his psychological thrillers. "Notorious," "Strangers On A Train" and the 1944 classic "Lifeboat" were prime examples of this work -- especially the latter film where a handful of strangers try to survive the unexpected adversity of their ship sunken at sea. One would think the group works together to overcome the odds, but that's not the way Hitchcock worked. And that may not be the way Washington works either when it comes to the proposed Detroit Three Bailout. GM, Ford and Chrysler are all asking for a monetary "lifeboat" but it's not going smoothly. The political forces are rocking the boat, pulling in opposite directions waiting for someone to take charge, while that someone -- President-Elect Obama -- doesn't take office for another 60+ days. Will something get done before then? Can something get done before Inauguration Day? Our guests offer their analysis on whether the lifeboat floats or not.

And speaking of lifeboats, Dow Automotive has created a quasi one for NASCAR in the form of energy absorbing foam. John is joined by the company's president Steve Henderson as he describes how they came up with the product Impaxx and what it's meant for the safety of NASCAR drivers since they started using it. Lifeboat, indeed!


Show 1241

Internet Premiere
Friday, 11/7 @ 9:00am ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 11/9 @ 10:30am ET


David Champion of Consumer Reports, David Sargent, J.D. Power & Associates and Dennis Pietrowski, The RDA Group. Topic: The Detroit Three's continuing struggle with automotive quality.

When anyone thinks of a hump perhaps the first thought that comes to mind is that well-known beast of burden of North Africa - the Dromedary Camel. But in the auto industry, when the Detroit Three think of a hump those thoughts switch from camels to quality. That's because if there's any one hump or challenge that continues to hold them back from "import equality" it appears to be this. Now granted, all three OEMs have improved dramatically from the nadir of the '70s when they produced everything from poorly-designed diesels to flapping vinyl roofs. But today, with nearly all of those problems a thing in the past, GM, Ford and Chrysler are still looking up at many of the imports in a variety of quality rankings. So what accounts for that, and will any of them ever attain the top spot again? On this week's show John McElroy and his three experts on automotive quality will examine what it may finally take for the Detroit Three to get "over the hump.”


Show 1240

Internet Premiere
Friday, 10/31 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 11/2 @ 10:30am ET


Rebecca Lindland of IHS Global Insight and Paul Haelterman from CSM Worldwide. Topic: The worldwide credit crisis, its effect on the global auto industry and the future of the Detroit Three.

If only describing a local golf event, a pressured quarterback or your morning breakfast, then "scramble" is a rather innocuous term. But when examining today's topsy-turvy automotive industry, where down is up, left is right and you may never know the players again with or without a scorecard, the word "scramble" takes on a darker connotation thanks to the worldwide financial meltdown. The credit and cash crunch may have started with banks but it quickly filtered its way to all businesses, especially the tenuous auto industry. Things were iffy before September when everyone was still hoping for somewhere around 13 million in sales. Now who knows how low the number could go? And then there's Chrysler, which, using Greek Mythology as our guide, seems in search of its own Hercules (see GM) to escape from Hades (see Cerberus -- the three-headed dog & the company). Confused yet? Well you're not alone. That's why John McElroy has invited these two top industry analysts to "unscramble" the situation on this week's Autoline.


  • Paul Haelterman, CSM Worldwide
  • Rebecca Lindland, IHS Global Insight

Show 1239

Internet Premiere
Friday, 10/24 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 10/26 @ 10:30am ET


Mel Karamzin, CEO of Sirius XM Radio, with panelists Neal Boudette, The Wall Street Journal and Jeff Gilbert, WWJ Newsradio. Topic: survival plans for Sirius XM and its role in the auto industry.

Too many channels, not enough listeners, pools of red ink -- welcome to the world of satellite radio. Despite its myriad of advantages and incorporation into many new cars and trucks, both Sirius and XM Radio seemed more hooked to financial life support than to fleets of vehicles the last few years. It was as if the business was crying for, as David Bowie put it, "a Starman waiting in the sky" to supernaturally save the service. Well, that celebrity executive landed at Sirius some four years ago in the form of Mel Karmazin with a resume that included running Infinity Broadcasting, CBS Radio and as well as the entire CBS Corporation. Since his arrival he has not only increased subscriptions but more importantly brokered a merger between the two services believing that one strong company can prosper in this less than predictable economy.

This week Autoline welcomes Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM Radio. Host John McElroy along with panelists Neal Boudette from The Wall Street Journal and Jeff Gilbert of WWJ Newsradio Detroit talk to this Hall of Fame broadcast executive about his survival plans for Sirius XM and the important role the auto industry plays in the process.

So if you'd like to know what the "Starman of Sirius XM" plans for the media in your car or truck, check out this week's Autoline.


  • Mel Karmazin, CEO, Sirius XM Radio


  • Neal Boudette, The Wall Street Journal
  • Jeff Gilbert, WWJ Newsradio 950

Show 1238

Internet Premiere
Friday, 10/17 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 10/19 @ 10:30am ET

“Watt's Next?”

Even as oil prices continue to drop, everyone from consumers to the cognoscenti understand that the genie is finally out of the bottle: fossil fuels are not the future. The question becomes, what is? We all know the roulette wheel of options, but at this point everything is a gamble and manufacturers are wondering where to put their chips.

Well Chrysler, which has been quiet up to now, is betting on electric which some consider a surprise. Despite the fact that for more than a decade it has owned an electric car unit that builds neighborhood vehicles, the company sent shock waves through the industry when it recently unveiled three electric prototypes. That's because few experts considered Chrysler a major player in the electric game.

Joining John McElroy on this week's Autoline are the two men leading the electrical charge at Chrysler. Lou Rhodes is the President of ENVI, a special team within the company that oversees the R & D of alternative drivetrains, while Bruce Coventry is the CEO of GEM, the makers of those neighborhood electric vehicles. Among the topics these executives tackle are Chrysler's electric strategy, the models and options they're working on, and when they expect it all to be delivered.

So if you're looking to get a charge out of some provocative television, tune into Autoline and its lineup of automotive information.


  • Bruce Coventry, CEO, Global Electric Motorcars
  • Lou Rhodes, President, ENVI

Show 1237

Internet Premiere
Friday, 10/10 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 10/12 @ 10:30am ET


Change seems to be a popular theme these days. Some say it began with the political season but those in automotive know better. In fact, it's been on the horizon for a while. Big Change. The kind that will reshape American manufacturing for years to come. The last time we saw something like this was in the mid-20th century with World War II. And though the factors leading this retooling aren't quite as dire, they are just as dramatic led by a massive shift in consumer preferences, the technological challenge of reducing CO2 emissions at the same time as dealing with the booming developing markets.

How will OEMs execute what some are calling the "Greatest Peacetime Manufacturing Conversion?" What will the effect be on their Suppliers? And what about the labor force -- how much will it diminish? These are just a few of the questions that John McElroy has for our two manufacturing experts. Offering insight from the OEM side is Joe Hinrichs the group vice president of global manufacturing for Ford Motor Company. Joining Mr. Hinrichs with an analyst perspective is Jay Baron, the president of CAR, the Center for Automotive Research.

So for a look at the changes in store for 21st Century manufacturing, don't miss this week's Autoline with John McElroy.


  • Joe Hinrichs, Group VP, Manufacturing, Ford Motor Co.
  • Jay Baron, President, Center for Automotive Research

Show 1236

Bonus EXTRAs:
Internet Premiere
Friday, 10/3 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 10/5 @ 10:30am ET


For most observers, the word "launch" conjures up images of rockets and echoes of countdowns from the space race forty years ago. However, if you happen to be a member of the automotive press, "launch" means something totally different. To many in that crowd it means "Pay Attention" because a manufacturer is about to invite you to an exclusive activity surrounding its newest vehicle. This is one of the major ways stories and reviews of the latest cars and trucks appear in your local newspaper, favorite television shows or popular websites -- before or just as that vehicle arrives on local dealer lots. And depending on the importance of the vehicle and the number of media invited, manufacturers can spend more money and effort than they care to think about to shine a brief spotlight on their newest product.

On this week's program, an Autoline Exclusive -- John McElroy takes you behind the scenes of a new car press launch. From the international phone calls to developing the drive routes to building vehicle displays and much, much more ... you'll be right there with the media learning and experiencing everything about this brand new vehicle. And the vehicles that you'll see "launched" are Mercedes-Benz’s new 50-State Clean Diesel SUVs.

So join John, a number of his media colleagues and the Mercedes-Benz team as we go "Behind-the-Scenes" in Manchester Village, Vermont for the 50-State Clean Diesel Launch this week on Autoline.


  • Geoff Day, Director, Communications, Mercedes-Benz USA
  • Hank Chapman, Route Producer, BlueTEC Launch
  • Marco Ferri, Architect, BlueTEC Launch
  • Robert Moran, Mgr., Product & Technology PR, Mercedes-Benz USA
  • Stephen Cannon, VP, Marketing, Mercedes-Benz USA

Show 1235

Internet Premiere
Friday, 9/26 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 9/28 @ 10:30am ET

“Mass Exodus”

Each time a dealer makes a sale and a car drives off the lot, along with it goes a few thousand pounds. And depending on the number of sales, those pounds can add up. But imagine losing one and a half billion pounds. Crazy? Well, that's just what America's largest automotive retailer AutoNation does every year. The company with nearly 250 dealerships across the country sells more than 500,000 units each year, which means more than 1.5 billion pounds of vehicles drive off its lots every twelve months. When it comes to the automotive retail world, all three of those numbers are staggering.

On this week's Autoline, AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson joins John McElroy to talk about the industry, sales and how they're both reeling amid the economic disaster that is 2008. After that, they'll turn their attention to product. As a retailer who deals with nearly every OEM selling almost every kind of car and truck, he has unique insight into each manufacturer, its performance and its products. Plus, with dealerships throughout the United States, there isn't a demographic or geographic group he doesn't know or sell to. Joining Mr. Jackson and John McElroy on the panel are Bill Vlasic from The New York Times and Steve Finlay from Ward's Dealer Business.

So if you really want to know what's going on behind the curtain at your local dealer, check out this week's Autoline for the inside scoop.


  • Mike Jackson, Chairman & CEO, AutoNation


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline
  • Steve Finlay, Ward’s Dealer Business
  • Bill Vlasic, The New York Times

Show 1234

Internet Premiere
Friday, 8/29 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 8/31 @ 10:30am ET

“Natural Number”

The number three has a unique heritage. From time to matter to grammar, for years humans have naturally divided elements and categories into three. That may be because it's a natural counting number or the first odd prime number. Then again it may be as simple as sets of three, for whatever reason, just feel right. Take this week's Autoline for instance. John McElroy interviews three separate guests discussing totally different topics related to today's auto industry.

The first, Tim Leuliette the new CEO of auto supplier DURA, offers his observations on the poor state of business for everyone automotive these days, especially the Detroit Three. He even dares to mention the "B word," as in bankruptcy, and how that may be a factor in the near future.

Meanwhile, joining John to discuss the new spinoff from ArvinMeritor is its President & CEO Designate Phil Martens. Arvin Innovation, as it is called, takes over the company's light vehicle systems business and will be looking to grow its existing 2.3 billion in sales (2007) in a U.S. market that hasn't had much positive news for OEM or supplier alike.

Finally, as we pass the one-year anniversary of Cerberus buying Chrysler, John talks to private equity expert Frank Dunne from the national law firm Dykema. Mr. Dunne, a long time General Motors veteran, chronicles the movers and shakers from these high stakes financial groups and shares with John his impressions for the future of Chrysler and if private equity as a whole is getting what it wants out of auto.


  • Tim Leuliette, CEO, DURA Automotive Systems
  • Phil Martens, CEO, Arvin Innovation, Inc.
  • Frank Dunne, Senior Counsel, Dykema

Show 1233

Internet Premiere
Friday, 8/22 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 8/24 @ 10:30am ET


Experts in Astronomy have studied collapsing stars for years. The phenomenon of Hypernovas is very rare but extremely destructive since they morph themselves into light-swallowing black holes.

Meanwhile, experts in the automotive industry have been watching their own collapsing star, or more appropriately, collapsing Pentastar in Chrysler. Some analysts believe that the venture capitalists at Cerberus bit off more than they could chew when the firm purchased the troubled automaker last August. Now faced with a depressed truck market and a four-cylinder lineup that just isn't selling the way it should be in our $4-a-gallon gas world, some fear that Chrysler will implode like a Hypernova with its brands and pieces swallowed by other industry giants.

That is not a fear of Tom LaSorda. Chrysler's Vice Chairman and President insists that Cerberus is committed to the company and believes it can be profitable thanks to a future portfolio of energy-efficient vehicles built not just by Chrysler but an international alliance of partners as well. Of course that's easier said than done. To get to that point, the company must slog through the next couple years of retrenchment like every other manufacturer. Hear how he believes Chrysler will circumvent this crisis as he joins John McElroy for an exclusive one-on-one interview from the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.

So if you're looking for the automotive stars to stay aligned, just follow the light from this week's all new episode of Autoline.


  • Tom LaSorda, Vice Chairman & President, Chrysler LLC

Show 1232

Internet Premiere
Friday, 8/15 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 8/17 @ 10:30am ET

“Sign O' the Times - Part Two”

Serendipity can strike with serendipity. Sometimes it occurs in music when the right album comes along at the right time and affects the industry as a whole with both high sales and critical praise. And then again, it can also occur in other industries, sometimes with deleterious effects. Take today's energy crisis for instance. With gasoline roller-coasting around $4 a gallon, automotive manufacturers have suddenly seen the Truck market "tank" this summer. So the OEMs have circled the SUVs so to speak, and have reforged the truck future.

But as we're waiting for that future to take form, new product continues to hit dealer lots around the country. Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers of all types have been released in 2008. On this week's Autoline, John McElroy looks at some of these new vehicles like Ford's "Back to the Future" Flex Crossover, Mercedes’ new GL with its Clean Diesel technology, and Chrysler's Two-Mode Hybrid SUVs to see how they stack up when it comes to perhaps winning some "Best Of" awards later this year.

Joining John to talk trucks are two of his fellow judges from the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards. Natalie Neff is the Road Test Editor for AutoWeek while Mark Phelan is an automotive columnist with the Detroit Free Press.

So if you're looking for a sign of times in the truck world, don't miss this week's Autoline for the best insight around.


  • Natalie Neff, AutoWeek
  • Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

Show 1231

Internet Premiere
Friday, 8/8 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 8/10 @ 10:30am ET

“Sign O' The Times - Part One”

It's been twenty years since the musician Prince released what many call his greatest work. "Sign O' The Times" debuted in the shadow of the market collapse of 1987 and the presidential election of 1988, two major events that shaped America over the next few years.

In an eerie irony, the title of this album couldn't be more relevant today. 2008 has had its own tumult. With our own presidential election in full swing and an energy crisis that's never been more serious, the sign of "these" times is about change...especially when it comes to the auto industry. $4-a-gallon gasoline has given consumers a new fever for small cars.

That's why this is the perfect time to look at some of the lineup that has been released so far this year. From small and economical like the Honda Fit, to the performance-based cars like the BMW 1 Series, to Ford's new luxury sedan the Lincoln MKS, it's Cars and NACTOY on this week's Autoline.

John McElroy is joined by two of his fellow judges from the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards as they examine the best in cars so far this year. Natalie Neff is the Road Test Editor for AutoWeek while Mark Phelan is an automotive columnist with the Detroit Free Press.

So get ready for new cars through NACTOY eyes on this week's Autoline.


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline
  • Natalie Neff, AutoWeek
  • Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

Show 1230

Bonus EXTRAs:
Internet Premiere
Friday, 8/1 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 8/3 @ 10:30am ET

“New Roots”

Replanting can be tough. Just ask any backyard horticulturist how easy it is to move a ten-year-old tree. It's not. So imagine the degree of difficulty of moving a nearly 50-year-old company -- not within the same city or even the same state, but some 2,000 miles away. But that's just what Nissan did with its North American Headquarters. Two years ago the company rocked the automotive world with the news that it was leaving Orange County, California for the rolling hills of Nashville, Tennessee. And just last month that move became a reality as Nissan dedicated its $100-million North American HQ Campus. With a number of politicians, guests and employees looking on, the company's CEO Carlos Ghosn flew in to officially open the facility. Normally that would be news unto itself, but during his short visit to Tennessee, Mr. Ghosn sat down with John McElroy for a wide-ranging exclusive one-on-one discussion on all things automotive. From the oil crisis to electric cars to future partnerships, the twenty-minute interview even broke a little news, but we won't spoil the surprise here.


  • Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan and Renault

Show 1229

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 7/27 @ 10:30am ET

“Auto Oracles”

Trying to figure out the future has probably been a hominid passion since the first Neanderthals grunted their way through the Ice Age. And even though their "more evolved" ancestors have employed tools like Astrology, Tarot cards and Clairvoyant readings since, the future, arguably, hasn't gotten any clearer.

So if it's darn near impossible to decipher if Uncle Jack is going to give you, and not your cousin, that Civil War sword you've longed for, how the heck do the auto companies, with billions of dollars on the line, accurately predict the future? With a multitude of products and a five year lead time facing them as they jostle external forces like rising steel, fuel and labor costs to name a few, this is not a job for the faint of heart. It requires the expertise of a top level engineer, a great understanding of tomorrow's consumer and perhaps even a little help from Dionne Warwick and that Psychic Friends Network doesn't hurt either.

On this week's Autoline, John McElroy interviews two of today's leading Product Planners for the Auto Industry. John Smith is the Group Vice President for Global Product Planning at General Motors while Larry Dominique is Nissan's Vice President of Product Planning for North America. Both men join John to discuss the high wire walk that many Product Planners are faced with as the market changes on seemingly a daily basis.

So if you're wondering what it's like to peer into a crystal ball and see the cars of the future, join John and the men who make it their business to know what we'll want to drive on down the line this Sunday.


  • John Smith, Group VP, Global Product Planning, General Motors
  • Larry Dominique, VP, Product Planning, Nissan North America

Show 1228

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 7/20 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 7/20 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 7/25 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 7/25 @ 10:00am ET

“That's a Wrap”

These three words aptly describe the conclusion of our series Autoline in LA. But at the same time this phrase also hints at the content of this final episode. Sort of parable of the Ying and Yang of American marketing.

For as long as there's been a Hollywood there's been a Detroit. As long as there have been directors there have been marketers. And as long as there has been an entertainment audience there's been a built-in avenue for the auto industry. On this week's edition of Autoline in LA we explore the long-standing synergies between these two economic powers.

Joining John McElroy to look at the history of this relationship and analyze its success are two members from very different ends of the entertainment community. Many may know Josh Hancock from his hosting duties on XM's Car and Driver Radio, but that's only one of the Hollywood hats he wears. From acting and collaborating in both film and television, Josh also advises LA's movers and shakers on the type of car they need to drive. Our other panelist, Al Uzielli, may be more recognizable to some as a member of the Ford Family, but he joins us to talk about his work in Hollywood with Ford Global Brand Entertainment. As a graduate of the American Film Institute and nearly two decades as an independent film producer under his belt, it's his job to help the automaker place its vehicles in upcoming movies and television shows.

So join us as we say goodbye to Los Angeles with a Hollywood ending. That's a wrap for Autoline in LA.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Al Uzielli, Senior Advisor, Ford Global Brand Entertainment
  • Josh Hancock, joshCAR, Inc.

Show 1227

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 7/13 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 7/13 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 7/18 @ 4:30am ET


It's ironic that the movie capital of the world, Los Angeles, California, would be equally famous for the film that entertains in the theater as the film that blankets the city.

Smog has been a daily reality for decades. As early as 1943, the city recognized this pollution as a legitimate problem and has been struggling with it ever since. Thanks in part to the topography of the area and its massive population's love of cars, this combination provided the springboard for some of the toughest air quality regulations in America. And one of the reasons that California has continued to blaze the emission restriction trail for the rest of the country is because so many environmentalists call it home.

On this week's Autoline in LA John McElroy will be joined by three of these environmental thought leaders as they discuss emissions, cars, MPGs and how California is driving the topic for the rest of the country.

Dr. James Lents is the President of the International Sustainable Systems Research Center (ISSRC), and an acknowledged world leader in environmental policy. Roland Hwang is the Vehicles Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a 40-year old environmental action group with 1.2 million members while Dr. Mark Bernstein is the Managing Director of the USC Energy Institute, a LA-based university think tank devoted to transitioning the globe to a new energy/fuel paradigm.

So if you're interested in the future of fossil fuels, alternative energy and where California is setting the emission trend, catch this week's edition of Autoline in LA.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Dr. James Lents, President, ISSRC
  • Roland Hwang, Vehicles Policy Director, NRDC
  • Dr. Mark Bernstein, Managing Director, Energy Institute, USC

Show 1226

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 7/6 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 7/6 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 7/11 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 7/11 @ 10:00am ET


Everything about California seems extra large. From its long coastline, to its prolific mountains to the megalopolis that is SoCal, sometimes it seems like Disneyland, Sea World and Hollywood rolled into one.

That California girth can be seen everywhere...from the mansions in Orange County to the shopping on Rodeo Drive to the incredible cars driving California's freeways. However the state is not just a repository of fantastic luxury autos -- though it does have more than its share -- California dealers sell everything. Whether it's small economy cars, hybrids or those ultra lux beauties, you can find almost anything you'd want to drive. And you can find those vehicles at some of the largest automotive retailers in the world.

On this week's episode of Autoline in LA, John McElroy talks with two California dealers who sell more cars and trucks than practically any other dealership in the world. Joining John to discuss automotive retailing in Southern California is Tom Rudnai, the president of Longo Toyota the world's largest dealer located just east of Los Angeles, and Beau Boeckmann from Galpin Ford just north of town, the largest Ford dealer in the world.

Some of the topics John asks about include: the California consumer, retail success and selling in the crowded SoCal luxury market. In addition, Beau Boeckmann discusses Galpin's longtime commitment to customization and how that led to a stint in television.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Beau Boeckmann, Vice President, Galpin Motors
  • Tom Rudnai, President, Longo Toyota/Scion/Lexus

Show 1225

Bonus EXTRAs:
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 6/29 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 6/29 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 7/4 @ 4:30am ET

“Inside Toyota”

In the shadow of its 50th year in America, the Toyota story in the 'States can essentially be condensed into four acts: early miscalculation, reassessment & rebirth, philosophical commitment and sales persistence. These four chapters in the Toyota journey have turned this one-time distant player in the automotive industry into the dominant auto maker in the world. And much of that success comes from Toyota's amazing story here in the U.S. From the introduction of the poorly-engineered Toyopet in the late '50s to its waves of small economical gas-friendly imports to today's American-built cadre of cars, trucks and SUVs, this company has redefined the industry with its quality, product and core values reflected in everything Toyota.

This week on Autoline in LA John McElroy takes you inside Toyota when he visits the company's Southern California facilities. It starts with a look at its huge campus in Torrance just south of Los Angeles, includes a talk with Toyota sales boss Bob Carter, moves over to a fascinating look at the company's award-winning and environmentally- friendly South Campus Building and then concludes with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Toyota's CALTY Design Studio with President Kevin Hunter.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Sandy Smith, Corporate Mgr., Real Estate & Facilities, Toyota
  • Bob Carter, Group VP & GM, Toyota
  • Kevin Hunter, President, CALTY Design Research

Show 1224

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 6/22 @ 10:30am ET
Friday, 6/27 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 6/27 @ 10:00am ET


A parish priest delivers the gospel. A press secretary announces a candidate's position. A lawyer presents his client's side. What all three have in common, besides speaking for a higher authority, is that they are delivering a message, an epistle, a communication that consists of words carefully crafted for a particular audience. And the message is key, not only in those arenas, but especially in today's business world where words -- right or wrong -- can affect everything from employment to the stock price. That's why over the past decade or so, corporate communications has exploded to where hardly a move is made without consulting Public Relations early on.

But it wasn't always like that, especially in the auto industry, where PR used to be relegated to putting out media kits and press releases. Now it's involved in everything from vehicle launches to corporate messaging. Or at least that what we found happens at Chrysler, Ford and GM communications when we interviewed their leaders last year. But how does it work for the other OEMs -- especially some of the imports who are not based in Detroit but scattered up and down the 405 in Southern California.

On this week's episode of Autoline in LA, we'll discover the answers to those questions on corporate communications and more from the top PR executives in North America at four Asian import brands. Joining John McElroy at our temporary studio at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles are Irv Miller from Toyota, Honda's Kurt Antonius, Chris Hosford from Hyundai and Mazda's Jay Amestoy. John and his distinguished panel of communicators discuss where this profession was, where it is today and where they see it going. Plus, they'll also dive into a few hot button issues that will be affecting the auto business for some time to come.

So get ready for a show from the entertainment capitol of the world that features "the message" as its star with some of the most talented messengers in the business. That's this week on Autoline in LA.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Irv Miller, Group VP, Corporate Communications, Toyota
  • Kurt Antonius, Assistant VP, Public Relations, American Honda
  • Jay Amestoy, VP, Public & Government Affairs, Mazda North America
  • Chris Hosford, VP, Corporate Communications, Hyundai Motor America

Show 1223

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 6/15 @ 10:30am ET
Friday, 6/20 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 6/20 @ 10:00am ET

“Inside Mazda”

Automotive marketers many times measure success in two, three or four word taglines. Just consider the last thirty years. "Like a Rock" and "Quality is Job 1" come to mind immediately, but few afterwards. That is until Mazda gave us Zoom-Zoom.

It’s rare that a company hits the bullseye like this…small automaker with a performance heritage using a short repetitive phrase to capture the essence of its brand. It’s so successful that the Zoom-Zoom ethos now drives the philosophy for much of what comes out of Mazda. Nowhere is that more evident than in the series of Concept Vehicles that the company unveiled the last few years. Starting in 2006 with the Nagare (Japanese for flow) to last year's Ryuga (gracious flow) to this year's Furai (the sound of wind), these vehicles have set the bar high as Mazda’s top designers look to incorporate Zoom-Zoom into today's vehicles and beyond.

And one spot where you can see these elements come to life is at Mazda's North American Design Studio in Irvine, California, the site of this week's episode of “Autoline in LA.” That's where John McElroy receives a tour of this secure facility from Franz von Holzhausen, its North American Director of Design. Franz takes John behind-the-scenes of Mazda's secret studio to show him where they design, fabricate and create concept cars like the Furai and future production vehicles as well. In addition to design, we'll also get a taste of Mazda R & D when John talks to its director, Kelvin Hiraishi about how his team works with design to develop Mazda's next generation.

And don't forget to check out this week's Autoline EXTRA when Kelvin takes John and our cameras into the Mazda Performance Garage to see some of the great championship vehicles from Mazda racing history.

So don't let this deep dive on Mazda Design Zoom-Zoom right past you.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Franz von Holzhausen, Director of Design, Mazda North America
  • Kelvin Hiraishi, Director, R&D Engineering, Mazda North America

Show 1222

Detroit Public TV
Wednesday, 6/11 @ 5:30pm ET
Sunday, 6/8 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 6/13 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 6/13 @ 10:00am ET


Maybe it’s the warm, sunny weather. Maybe it’s the cultural diversity of the region, or even something even simpler like everyone’s just cooler on the left coast. Whatever the reason, trends start in Southern California where style is not just a mantra, but a way of life. You can see it in the shops, on the streets and in the cars. We may think it's media driven, but it's deeper than that. It's almost part of the area's DNA. So when companies and corporations start to plan their new products, it makes sense that, for the most part, SoCal is the epicenter.

And it would be a mistake to think we're just talking about "walking consumables" like food, tech and fashion. Even the OEMs have their own section of the Southern California design sandbox. Ten, eleven, as many as fourteen different design centers are located there to do their best to absorb and predict the trends that consumers will want in, on and around their future vehicles.

Joining John McElroy on this week’s deep dive into the world of automotive design are four of the top automotive artists located on the west coast. Kevin Hunter is the President of Toyota’s Calty Design Research Center located in Newport Beach. Dave Marek is the Chief Designer at Honda’s Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena. Franz von Holzhausen is the Director of Design for Mazda’s North American Operations and Joel Piaskowski is the Chief Designer at the Hyundai Kia Design and Technical Center both located not too far from each other in Irvine. Together all four will talk in-depth about style, trends, SoCal and how their studios plan and predict for the future.

So get ready for a unique look behind the automotive style curtain on this week's edition of "Autoline in LA".

For more from our LA series visit


  • Kevin Hunter, President, Calty Design Research
  • Franz von Holzhausen, Director of Design, Mazda North America
  • Dave Marek, Chief Designer, Advanced Design Studio, Honda R&D Americas
  • Joel Piaskowski, Chief Designer, Hyundai Design and Technical Center

Show 1221

Bonus EXTRAs:
Detroit Public TV
Wednesday, 6/4 @ 5:30pm ET
Sunday, 6/1 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 6/6 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 6/6 @ 10:00am ET

“Inside Hyundai”

Seoul lies about 25 miles south of the demilitarized zone that bisects the Korean peninsula. It's the economic engine of South Korea and probably the most visible symbol of the country's post-war economic success. What makes their recovery even more incredible is that they did it at gunpoint. Just over the border resides the despotic Kim Jong-Il, leader of North Korea and head of one of the largest armies in the world.

One South Korean company that symbolizes the country's accomplishments over the last few decades is the Hyundai Group, a multinational conglomerate with a product portfolio that ranges from shipbuilding to finance.

Back in 1986 Hyundai decided to enter the very competitive U.S. car market. At that time they sold just one model here, the subcompact Excel. But its combination of affordability and economy was just what the market wanted and it flew off dealer lots. Hyundai sold more than 168,000 cars its first year in the U.S., a record that still stands. Today, Hyundai-Kia is the top-selling car brand in Korea, the fifth largest automaker in the world, and the latest Asian make to put its North American headquarters in California.

This week on our continuing series, "Autoline in LA," John McElroy goes "Inside Hyundai" for an exclusive look at the Korean giant's North American auto operations. He'll sit down with John Krafcik, Hyundai's Vice President of Product Development and Strategic Planning. They'll talk about the engineering and development the company does in North America and how they tune vehicles for this specific market. Later John goes one-on-one with Joel Piaskowski, Hyundai's Chief Designer to discuss the all-new design vocabulary the company's pioneering in its Southern California studios.

Rounding out the show, Autoline hits the dusty trail, literally, for a tour of Hyundai's desert proving grounds in California City. Here, behind a veil of secrecy, the company puts its products through a litany of tests. Sustained high-speed driving on their 6.4-mile oval track pushes cars to their limits while special solar ovens bake interior trim pieces in the SoCal sun to prove their durability.

So join us this week on Autoline as we give you a revealing look inside an Asian Tiger of the auto industry, Hyundai.

For more from our LA series visit


  • John Krafcik, VP, Product Development, Hyundai Motor America
  • Doug Bridgman, Sr. Engineering Mgr. Vehicle Development, Hyundai Motor America
  • Joel Piaskowski, Chief Designer, Hyundai Design and Technical Center

Show 1220

Bonus EXTRAs:
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 5/25 @ 10:30am ET
Monday, 5/26 @ 1:30am ET
Friday, 5/30 @ 4:30am ET

“The Garagistes”

There's a group of young, innovative winemarkers in France's Bordeaux region who are known as The Garagistes for creating "Vins de garage" or Garage wine. They run counter to the established French wine community -- no 300-year-old vineyards, no advertising, and most of all no multi-million dollar chateau. Yet, even without those benefits, these prodigies have created worldwide demand for their wine collections amid the humble surroundings of an everyday garage.

To a certain extent, California has its own version of The Garagistes who are less concerned with wine than they are cold metal -- the kind that comes from Detroit, Stuttgart and Tokyo -- the cold metal of collectible cars. And it doesn't matter if the garage only holds one vintage Mustang or 15 new Maseratis; to this group it's all about the cars, the people and their community.

In this week's episode of "Autoline in LA," John McElroy explores one of the more unique aspects of Southern California's car culture: collecting. And seemingly everyone in California does it. What's even more amazing is most don't lock these vehicles away, they drive them. In fact, every weekend hundreds of those car lovers pull their prized possessions out of the garage and head to parking lots just off the 405 in Orange County's Irvine and Huntington Beach. There, from 6 to 9 a.m. each Saturday morning, 52-weeks a year, this loose-knit community comes together to celebrate cars. Join John as he takes you to Donut Derelicts as well as Cars and Coffee to show you the passion and excitement that so many in SoCal have for vintage cars.

And speaking of passion for cars, you'd be hard-pressed to find it any stronger than in our other two guests, Bruce Meyer and Peter Mullin, as they open their private -- rarely seen on television -- collections for Autoline: one containing mostly hot rods while the other some of the most fabulous Art Deco French cars in existence.

That's this week on "Autoline in LA" where true treasures may be as close as the garage.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Bruce Meyer, Hot Rod Enthusiast & Collector
  • Peter Mullin, Collector, French Streamlined Cars

Show 1219

Bonus EXTRAs:
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 5/18 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 5/18 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 5/23 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 5/23 @ 10:00am ET

“Inside Honda”

Forty-nine years ago, the headlines that came from Southern California were nothing short of sensational. The entertainment industry released classics like Sleeping Beauty, Ben-Hur and Some Like It Hot. In publishing, the scandalous "Hollywood Babylon" flew off bookstore shelves while in sports, the former Brooklyn -- now Los Angeles Dodgers -- capped off their second year in LA by winning the World Series. 1959: A SoCal Spectacular.

So with that huge spotlight on the city, it's understandable that few noticed the opening of a small storefront on Pico Boulevard with a modest payroll of six employees. This new enterprise was obviously overwhelmed by headlines of the moment. And though Hollywood is still strong nearly a half century later it's a different story for that small LA storefront. Today that business, the American Honda Motor Company, is a dynamic and diverse economic force in not only Southern California, but throughout the entire United States.

This week, "Autoline in LA" visits American Honda. Based in Torrance, California -- just south of Los Angeles -- the company employs more than 25,000 at nineteen facilities across the country. The Torrance campus contains a fraction of that workforce, but it's an important fraction: Sales, Marketing, Research & Development and more.

Join John McElroy as he takes you "Inside Honda" for a look at the diverse aspects of this fascinating company. We'll tour its unique headquarters building and see the Honda philosophy up close, visit R&D for a behind-the-scenes reveal of the latest fuel cell package the company is developing, and take a peek behind the frenetic garage doors of the Honda Motorcycle Team as they prepare for an upcoming race. In addition, we'll take you to a couple top-secret, off-site facilities where no cameras are allowed...unless you're Autoline. You’ll get an inside look at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita and Honda Advanced Design in Pasadena.

For more from our LA series visit


  • Jeffrey Smith, Asst. VP, Corporate Affairs & Communications, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Ryan Harty, Fuel Cell Vehicle Engineer, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
  • Jack Spurney, General Mgr., Honda Performance Development, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Chuck Miller, Mgr. On/Off Road Motorcycle Racing, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Dave Marek, Chief Designer, Advanced Design Studio, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

Show 1218

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 5/11 @ 10:30am ET
Monday, 5/12 @ 1:30am ET
Friday, 5/16 @ 4:30am ET

“Westward Ho”

Horses, wagon trains and John Wayne's white hat were the basics for early film classics like "Westward Ho." But cowboys took a backseat when Hollywood found another favorite; one that would prove to be more enduring, more marketable, and a tad lovelier. And that star was the car.

From Bogie to "Bullitt" to The Beach Boys, the car and California have become synonymous, touching nearly everything in the entertainment industry. But since the '60s, the car has reached beyond films, music and the SoCal culture to become an integral building block of the entire California economy. And that's why Autoline heeded those famous words of Horace Greeley and headed west.


Welcome to "Autoline in LA" -- a special eleven-part series exploring the auto industry and car culture of Southern California. No television show to date has committed the time and resources to spotlight the state and its automotive impact as Autoline has done here. From OEM campuses to secret design studios to incredible retail operations, ALA, as we're calling it, looks at everything industry-related. But to learn more about the entire series as well as the upcoming schedule, we invite you to visit the dedicated "Autoline in LA" page of our website. If you click on the link below, it will take you directly there.


But this week we get the ALA rig rolling at the famous Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. And what better way to get a feel for LA, the OC and all that is auto in-between than our first guests...three of the best automotive journalists in the business, all with deep roots in SoCal who are equally at home analyzing the auto industry as they are describing the timeless treasures and fabulous fantasy cars that crowd the streets of Southern California.

For more than fifteen years Pasadena native Mark Rechtin has been the eyes and ears for Automotive News, fourteen of them as LA Bureau Chief. Meanwhile, AutoWeek's Senior Editor on the West Coast, Mark Vaughn, for nearly two decades has had the job of evaluating everything on wheels from the exotic to the hypnotic to the symphonic. Then rounding out our SoCal trio is the Los Angeles Times' award-winning automotive columnist, Mr. Rumble Seat himself, Dan Neil.

So get ready for the first of eleven fascinating shows about life in the diamond lane of Southern California on "Autoline in LA"...We think Horace Greeley would've been proud.

For more from our LA series visit


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times
  • Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
  • Mark Vaughn, AutoWeek

Show 1217

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 5/4 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 5/4 @ 7:00am ET
Friday, 5/9 @ 4:30am ET

“Necessary Conclusions”

Mathematics move our planet. We may feel better believing it's the shock and beauty of art, the harnessing of the elements or the philosophical building blocks of society, but in the end, it all comes down to the numbers, or as the 19th-century Harvard professor Benjamin Peirce called it, "the science that draws necessary conclusions."

Well, the “necessary conclusions” being drawn about the Ford Motor Company the past few years have not been good. Observers say it was all in the math and none of that in black ink.

But today the Ford label seems to be getting its gleam back. It actually started late last year with improved quality scores, followed by refreshed product with the marketing to match. CEO Alan Mulally might've mortgaged the Ford Family farm to get to this point but it's finally starting to yield more than just red-laced Excel sheets.

What's Ford doing, what's coming in the product pipeline and why is there suddenly all this international interest in the Blue Oval? Joining John McElroy to talk about these topics and more is Mark Fields, Executive Vice President, Ford Motor Company and President, The Americas. Amy Wilson of Automotive News and Keith Naughton of Newsweek round out our panel.

So catch Mark Fields and the new math at Ford on this week's Autoline...we'll leave the necessary conclusions to you.


  • Mark Fields, President, The Americas, Ford Motor Company


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • Keith Naughton, Newsweek
  • Amy Wilson, Automotive News

Show 1216

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 4/27 @ 10:30am ET
Monday, 4/28 @ 1:30am ET
Friday, 5/2 @ 4:30am ET
Friday, 5/2 @ 10:00am ET


There's a part of San Francisco called South of Market or SoMa for short. It's a multi-block slice of the city that houses everything from museums to the trendiest lofts and restaurants. But the world knows SoMa as the home of all those frenzied dot coms that seemingly ruled the business world the last decade or so. Those same dot coms that imploded once the tech boon fizzled -- the market simply couldn't resist the math.

In some respects the auto industry today faces a similar, not wondering what to do with all those unemployed purple-haired computer programmers, but rather what to do in a market that needs to change and is being hammered by a mob of external forces to do so fast.

To explore the phenomenon of Market Fragmentation, join John McElroy and three of the best analysts in the business on this week's Autoline. Michael Robinet of CSM Worldwide, Tom Kowaleski of ACTK2 and Jeff Schuster of J.D. Power and Associates examine today's auto market and look at the strategies being employed to avoid the destiny of the dot coms.

Catch all the action this week on Autoline...and, by the way, purple hair not required for viewing.


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • Tom Kowaleski, ACTK2
  • Michael Robinet, CSM Worldwide
  • Jeff Schuster, J.D. Power and Associates

Show 1215

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 4/20 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 4/20 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 4/24 @ 4:30am ET

“My Generation”

As the story goes, The Who's Pete Townshend wrote this now famous rock anthem some 43 years ago for a slice of British youth known as "the mods." The lyrics crystallized their mindset: out of touch mothers and fathers with antiquated values who didn't understand them. Thus, they rebelled against everything from their parent's generation.

To a certain extent, that rebellion has come full circle in 2008 with a business twist to boot.

Yesterday’s "mods" are essentially today's "Millennials" -- the group of 12 to 29 year-olds who are rebelling from their parents purchasing habits, showing opposite taste in everything from clothing to entertainment to especially cars. And that's where corporations like Chrysler feel they can make a move on the competition. With so many of today's parents dedicated to import brands, Deborah Meyer sees an opportunity to lay claim to this very important socioeconomic group. That's just one of the topics the new Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer discusses on this week's Autoline. Ms. Meyer joins John McElroy along with panelists David Kiley of BusinessWeek and Jeff Green of Bloomberg News for the entire show.

So to avoid a b-big s-s-sensation, check out Autoline's take on my g-g-generation.


  • Deborah Meyer, VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler LLC


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • David Kiley, BusinessWeek
  • Jeff Green, Bloomberg News

Show 1214

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 4/13 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 4/13 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 4/17 @ 4:30am ET


Sometimes Spring has all the certainty of the spin of a roulette wheel. You're never sure what's going to come up. Take the many parts of the country it's unpredictable to say the least. Then there are your favorite TV shows--Cliffhangers galore-- who lives, who dies, and that's just when it comes to the shows themselves. And of course, the automotive industry isn't immune from this uncertainty either. With the major consumer shows in the rear view mirror, you're just never quite sure where the major industry news might come from. That's why, on this week's show, John McElroy welcomes three top automotive journalists to discuss what has happened and what will be happening over the next few months in the mercurial world of manufacturing cars and trucks.

Joining John for the full show are Dutch Mandel from AutoWeek, Doron Levin of Bloomberg News, as well as John Stoll from the Wall Street Journal. They'll be tackling a variety of topics like bankruptcies, strikes and sales. Of course let's not forget the subjects of issues, plans and personalities. And as always on Autoline, you can count on plenty of talk about fresh product. So join John and the panel for a show that's never a gamble no matter the season...Autoline.


  • Dutch Mandel, AutoWeek
  • Doron Levin, Bloomberg News
  • John Stoll, Wall Street Journal

Show 1213

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 3/30 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 3/30 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 4/3 @ 4:30am ET

“Short People”

In 1978 when Academy Award-winning composer Randy Newman reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his tongue-in-cheek song about short people, the "little cars that go beep, beep, beep" he said they drive, it was nothing more than a creation of his fertile imagination. How could Mr. Newman know that the automotive industry was already hard at work designing versions of his imaginary little cars? Yet those vehicles wouldn't take the leap from designs to drivable machines for another two decades when Daimler released what it called "The smart car" and they started to "beep, beep, beep" all over Europe. But as cute and economical as those cars were, there wasn't a market for them in America...that is until now.

2008 saw Automotive Icon Roger Penske bring the smart car to the U.S. shores for the first time. His Penske Automotive Group struck a deal with Daimler and has opened up more than 70 "smart centers" -- or dealerships -- around America, and so far, the reaction has been overwhelming. Before Daimler even started delivering cars to the centers earlier this year, Penske had more than 30,000 orders. Everyone from Publishing Moguls to High School Seniors have taken to Smart. The question is how long will the car stay hot?

The man in charge of those predictions as well as everything smart-related from Connecticut to California visits Autoline this week. Dave Schembri, the President of smart USA at first joins John on set to talk about Smart and its U.S. strategy. And then Dave takes over as he gives John a tour of smart USA's unique headquarters building in suburban Detroit that is built as an appendage to one of those 70+ smart centers.

So get ready to learn about the "little car that goes beep, beep, beep" from the big guy himself.


  • Dave Schembri, President, smart USA


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • Wes Raynal, AutoWeek
  • Jerome Vaughn, WDET-FM, Detroit Public Radio

Show 1212

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 3/23 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 3/23 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 3/27 @ 4:30am ET

“King's Gambit”

As any veteran chess player knows, "King's Gambit" is a classic move made to protect your center. Nothing charismatic, nothing adventurous…pure nuts-and-bolts practicality. And though running one of the largest corporations in the world is a little different than the chess board, in essence the moves you make have the same objective: to protect the center. And lately, that's a potion of what's been going on at General Motors. With major executive moves paired with product innovations and North American sales slipping to mid-90s numbers, perhaps it's more appropriate in this case to change our title here to "Wagoner's Gambit."

This week an Autoline exclusive--John McElroy goes head-to-head with the King -- in chess terms -- of General Motors, Rick Wagoner. The Chairman and CEO of arguably the world's largest car company sat down with John this week at GM's Global Headquarters in downtown Detroit to discuss everything from personnel shifts to new product to the uncertain economy.

Join John as he angles to discover the next "moves" Rick Wagoner plans to make as he continues to protect "his center" -- General Motors.


  • Rick Wagoner, Chairman & CEO, General Motors


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit

Show 1211

Sunday, 3/16 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 3/20 @ 4:30am ET

“Shaken, Not Stirred”

As any movie-going maven can tell you, the above "request" was James Bond's preference for his vodka martini. But fewer realize the Super Spy's preference in vehicles was for the British-born, British-built Bentley. At least that's what the author Ian Fleming intended in his novels until Hollywood got a hold of his hero. But long before Bond's 1930 grey Bentley convertible made its '50s literary debut, the brand was well established around the European motoring world. From its racing heritage to its luxury legacy, the "Winged B" was at home at Le Mans as much as it was Number 10 Downing Street. And though racing had taken a back seat to its luxury pedigree, both are back today in a big way selling Bentleys like never before. And that's straight from the man who now leads this venerable brand. Christophe Georges is the new Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen-owned luxury icon and the man responsible for keeping these cars on the roll that they are. This week he joins John McElroy along with Keith Naughton from Newsweek and John McCormick of The Detroit News to talk about Bentley's resurgence and how it has managed to set sales records for a brand that a few years ago was on life support.

So join us for a look at this company that was once economically shaken, but has now stirred the passions of 21st century buyers.


  • Christophe Georges, Chief Operating Officer, Bentley Motors, Inc.


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • John McCormick, The Detroit News
  • Keith Naughton, Newsweek

Show 1210

Sunday, 3/9 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 3/13 @ 4:30am ET

“Ad It Up”

Though the advertising world has so far steered clear of this '80s lament to teen angst by the Violent Femmes, it seems to have co-opted most every other element in recent pop culture. From movies to celebrities to music, advertising has been going back to the future -- so to speak -- seemingly more than ever with the auto industry arguably leading the way. From soundtracks by Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop & T. Rex, to this year's Super Bowl homage to a classic moment of cinematic horror, it appears that creatives are attempting to sell cars through the memories of today's 40-somethings.

On this week's Autoline, join John McElroy along with three of today's top advertising reporters as they critique some of the latest campaigns from a variety of manufacturers. Ads from Audi, GM, and Hyundai, to name a few, are reviewed by Jean Halliday from Advertising Age, David Kiley of BusinessWeek and Laura Clark Geist from Automotive News.

So go ahead and "add" Autoline to your viewing schedule and get a comprehensive look at the latest offerings from the world of automotive advertising.


  • Laura Clark Geist, Automotive News
  • Jean Halliday, Advertising Age
  • David Kiley, BusinessWeek

Show 1209

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 2/24 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 2/24 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 2/28 @ 4:30am ET

“Lots of Luck”

This may be the most repeated phrase heard around U.S. dealerships this year, but the real trick could be deciphering its meaning. It could be anything from a true 'keep your chin up" remark of support to a salesperson's attempt at gallows humor.

With the economy in a slow down and predictions of U.S. vehicle sales dropping to levels we haven't seen in over a decade, automotive retailers are preparing for the worst. They've seen these sorts of dips before, but 2008 brings new challenges. From the manufacturers trying to find their collective footing, to brands being "e-bayed" around the world, to the simple reality of just too many dealers, as Mr. Dylan said back in the '60s "the times they are a-changin'." And for the auto industry, change they must.

Joining John McElroy on his panel to discuss retailing in the automotive world are three veterans who have seen it all before. Irma Elder of the Elder Automotive Group has a variety of dealerships -- many of them luxury brands -- located from Michigan to Florida. Carl Galeana is a longtime Dodge dealer with both Saturn and Kia. Meanwhile, Doug Fox, the new president of the Detroit Auto Dealers, is Mr. Import. His Ann Arbor Automotive Group carries Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai with Kia and Acura thrown in for good measure.

So join us this week as Autoline looks at life on the front lines and lots of automotive retailing in America.


  • Irma Elder, CEO, Elder Automotive Group
  • Doug Fox, President, Ann Arbor Automotive
  • Carl Galeana, Vice President, Galeana Automotive Group

Show 1208

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 2/17 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 2/17 @ 7:00am ET
Thursday, 2/21 @ 4:30am ET

“The Race is On”

By the time country music great George Jones hit the top of the charts with this 1964 classic, Detroit's Big Three had been "racing" for some time. Chrysler, Ford and GM started marketing themselves to the motorsports crowd as early as the '50s, but the next decade is when they really started to burn rubber. That's when all three signed on with NASCAR and a couple even began marketing to other racing circuits like IndyCar, Formula 1, NHRA and Le Mans. By the '70s the race was still on and has stayed that way despite "heartache going to the inside" for the Big Three and their budgets over the last thirty years.

On this week's Autoline, John McElroy introduces you to the two executives responsible for keeping their brands in front of the massive racing audiences around the globe. Dan Davis is the Director of Ford Racing Technology while Mark Kent is his counterpart at GM Racing. Joining John on the panel is a racing expert in his own right, Peter De Lorenzo of the

So strap yourself in for a 200 miles-per-hour look at racing's impact in the auto industry on Autoline.


  • Dan Davis, Director, Ford Racing Technology
  • Mark Kent, Director, GM Racing


Show 1207

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 2/10 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 2/10 @ 7:00am ET

“Outside In”

It’s a fact...we’re spending more time in our cars and trucks than ever before. Whether it’s a longer commute, more traffic or choosing four wheels over flying, we’ve never been as intimate with our interiors as we are today. That’s why comfort, color and convenience have shot up the priority chart in design studios around the globe. Manufacturers have learned they can’t just design a tasty exterior and call it a day; customers are demanding style on the inside of their new vehicles as well as out.

Join John McElroy on this week’s Autoline as he explores many of the new styling cues with three experts working in the OEM world of vehicle design.

Chris Webb is the lead creative designer at General Motors. His team touches virtually every aspect of the vehicle that we "see" each day. Francois Farion is the interior & color design manager for Nissan here in the states. His particular specialty skews to the sensation of "softness" since he’s responsible for the leather and fabrics that make it into those vehicles. Meanwhile, Fiona Doskocz is a consultant whose genius is "touch" since she’s an expert in plastic graining; the kind you find on your instrument panel and dash.

So join us for a discussion on today’s automotive interiors and discover who or what has influenced the environment that you’re spending so much time in on a daily basis.


  • Chris Webb, Lead Creative Designer, Exterior Color & Trend, GM
  • Francois Farion, Interior & Color Design Manager, Nissan
  • Fiona Doskocz, President, Surface Innovations


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit

Show 1206

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 2/3 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 2/3 @ 7:00am ET
Wednesday, 2/6 @ 10:30am ET

“Into the Wild Blue Yonder”

When Alan Mulally made the jump from Boeing to Ford some 15 months ago, many both in and outside the automotive industry thought he was headed for a crash landing. Of course it hasn't been the smoothest ride to date, but it is starting to shows signs of leveling out. In Part Two of his recent Autoline interview, Mulally invokes the noun of the moment in political circles and talks about "change." The change that is happening to Ford's products, the change that is occurring within his executive staff and even the change that may be coming for some Ford brands. Joining John McElroy are Csaba Csere of Car and Driver and Joe White of the Wall Street Journal.


  • Alan Mulally, President & CEO, Ford Motor Company


  • John McElroy, Host, Autoline Detroit
  • Joe White, Wall Street Journal
  • Csaba Csere, Car and Driver

Show 1205

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 1/27 @ 10:30am ET

“Sliding South”

It’s no secret that the U.S. economy is in a funk. Is it headed into in a recession? That’s open to debate. What’s not open to debate is the fact that the auto industry has been sliding downward. And where it’ll end up is anyone’s guess.

That’s why this week Autoline has two experts whose business is to accurately predict where the auto industry will end up in 2008. Joining John McElroy in our first segment is Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, the chief economist from the Ford Motor Company, and Ted Chu who is the lead economist for General Motors. Both authorities talk about the industry, the economy and how they believe it will impact the automotive world in this presidential election year.

Also on this week’s show John sits down with Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s V.P. of design for Jeep and Truck to talk about how Chrysler is working on improving the interiors of its vehicles, starting with the new Ram pickup.

And finally we look at the breakthrough that GM announced at The North American International Auto Show regarding cellulosic ethanol. This could be the game changer, in the short term, when it comes to wider availability of ethanol and flex fuel vehicles throughout America and maybe even the rest of the world.


  • Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Chief Economist, Ford Motor Company
  • Ted Chu, Chief Economist, General Motors
  • Ralph Gilles, V.P. Design, Jeep and Truck, Chrysler


  • The GM Coskata Partnership on Ethanol

Show 1204

Bonus EXTRAs:
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 1/20 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 1/20 @ 7:00am ET
Wednesday, 1/23 @ 10:30am ET

“The New Frontier”

The curtain lifted on the 2008 North American International Auto Show this week revealing, once again, the mercurial market forces at work. On one hand manufacturers more than paid homage to "greener vehicles" introducing hybrid after production hybrid. But then on the other side of the spectrum, new "performance" cars were proudly perched on exhibit stands throughout the show reminding us that "speed" still sells. And there you have the dichotomy of today's auto industry.

Helping to explain both the market as well as the product at this year's show, John McElroy is joined by three internationally-respected automotive experts: Tony Swan from Car and Driver, Automobile Magazine's Jean Jennings as well as industry analyst Jim Hall. Each takes the opportunity to pick their outright winners as well as other vehicles and technologies on the horizon.


  • Tony Swan, Car and Driver
  • Jean Jennings, Automobile Magazine
  • Jim Hall, 2953 Analytics

Show 1203

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 1/13 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 1/13 @ 7:00am ET
Wednesday, 1/16 @ 10:30am ET

“And the Winner Is...Part Two”

We’re just days away from learning which vehicles will be honored as The North American Car and Truck of the Year. Last week on Autoline our NACTOY judging panel consisting of Natalie Neff from AutoWeek, Gary Witzenburg of and, of course, Autoline’s own John McElroy, discussed which 2007 cars made the short list and who they voted for.

This week our three experts handle the truck side of the award. From heavy duty pickups to CUVs to hybrid SUVs, it seems there are more and varied candidates than ever before. Natalie, Gary, and John analyze the segments, breakdown the finalists and tell us who they voted for and why.


  • Natalie Neff, AutoWeek
  • Gary Witzenburg,

Show 1202

Internet Premiere
Tuesday, 1/8 @ 12:00pm ET

“Just Around the Bend”

It's the new year and that means the North American International Auto show is right around the corner. The NAIAS continues to provide manufacturers a powerhouse platform to showcase their newest product, cutting edge concepts as well as the technologies that continue to change our lives. And as always it's a big question mark as to what the biggest news at the show will be, and this year is no different. That's why Autoline invited two Detroit automotive insiders to share what they can about what's coming up. Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press and Scott Burgess from the Detroit News join John McElroy in the Internet-only Preview of Detroit's biggest annual international celebration of all things automotive.

And don't forget to catch our NAIAS Wrap-up Report on both broadcast outlets--SPEED & WTVS--as well as our 24/7 on our website here at

Show 1201

Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 1/6 @ 10:30am ET
Sunday, 1/6 @ 7:00am ET
Wednesday, 1/9 @ 10:30am ET

“And the Winner Is...Part One”

Tis the season for hardware to be dealt. From the buff books to the trades to the newspapers, every outlet seems to have its own "Vehicle of the Year" determined with its own unique criteria. But as unique as that criteria may be, these awards come from a very small universe of folks who have been pretty much doing it the same way for years. And that's what separates these awards from the relatively new kid on the block -- The North American International Car and Truck of the Year. The NACTOY crowd is an eclectic crew of automotive journalists from around the U.S. and Canada who drive the vehicles, evaluate them, grade them and then issue one award each in the car and truck category. This is the award's 15th year and it keeps growing in prestige each year.

And now onto the awards...this week we start with cars. Joining John McElroy analyzing this year's finalists are two of his fellow NACTOY jurors: Natalie Neff from AutoWeek and Gary Witzenburg from


  • Natalie Neff, AutoWeek
  • Gary Witzenburg,

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