AD #1438 – OEM Rankings by Revenue, Buick Reveals Envision Interior, Cruisin’ in a ‘65 GTO

August 18th, 2014 at 11:58am

Runtime: 7:06

- OEM Rankings by Revenue
- Buick Reveals Envision Interior
- Why Ford Is Counting Oil Rigs
- U.K. Wants Licensed Mechanics
- Cruisin’ Woodward in a ‘65 GTO

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In today’s show, Ford forecasts pickup sales by counting oil rigs, we rank the car companies by revenue…and should techs be licensed before they work on your car?

We start today’s show by looking out on the world stage and ranking automakers by the top line, by how much revenue they bring in for all the cars they sell. And the automaker which brought in more money than any other in the last three months was Volkswagen at $68 billion. Toyota was the only other that came even close with $62 billion in sales. Then the rankings drop down to Daimler with $42 billion, and who would have thought this? General Motors is down to fourth place with $39 billion. Renault-Nissan are hot on its heels, just $100 million in revenue behind. Ford is in 6th spot with $37 billion, while Hyundai-Kia at $33 billion are not very far ahead of FCA, Fiat-Chrysler at $31 billion. (And just as we went to air, FCA announced that Reid Bigland is being appointed to run Alfa-Romeo in the NAFTA market in addition to his other duties. Bigland is an executive who shows results.) Honda, at $29 billion and BMW at $26 billion round out the top ten. And this should give you a better understanding of the relative rankings of the world’s biggest car companies.

Last month Buick revealed a new mid-size crossover for the Chinese market called the Envision. All the company would show us is this one lousy picture of the car, which will be slotted between the Encore and the Enclave. But now Buick is giving us some glimpses of the interior. As you can see from the pictures, the CUV features a panoramic sunroof…an 8-inch touchscreen…and a heated steering wheel. Buick also revealed these scintillating, exciting shots of the trunk release…door handles…and the armrest! All in all it looks like a nice interior but we’ll get a better look once the Envision makes its official debut next week in China.

Probably the best way to forecast new car sales is by looking at GDP growth and wages. If the economy is growing and people are making more money, car sales go up. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Confidence index is another great indicator of how car sales will go. But Ford’s senior economist, Emily Kolinski-Morris, says that when it comes to forecasting sales of pick-up trucks, the company is counting how many oil and natural gas rigs are operating in the US. The good news is the number of rigs is on the rise. Not so much with oil rigs, but the number of natural gas rigs is growing strong. And while most of those pick-ups will not run on natural gas, those rigs represent economic growth that will sell more trucks.

We all joke that you need a PhD in engineering to work on today’s cars, and now the United Kingdom wants to make sure that its mechanics are properly trained. The Institute of the Motor Industry wants the government to pass a rule that would require automotive technicians to be licensed. The idea is that if techs are up to date with today’s technology then motorists will be safer. We think this is a great idea and wish this would be adopted in the U.S. because our rules and regulations requiring techs to be certified are way out of date. For example, a person at a quick-lube-type place does not have to be certified to do a brake job, fluid flushes or work on AC systems, but someone at a dealership or independent shop does. We think it’s time to make sure this is a professional profession.

And now it’s time for the winner of our trivia quiz for a chance to win a copy of the book Pro Touring. We wanted to know: When the Dream Cruise first started in 1995 it was used a fundraising campaign for what? The answer was for a soccer field in Ferndale, MI, which I have to admit I did not know myself. From the long list of correct answers we picked John Faulkner from Dana Point, California out of a hat. Congrats John and we’ll be contacting you later today.

What a time we had this weekend at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. Coming up next, my miniature photo album of my day of living the dream.

Every Dream Cruise I try to get an interesting car for me and my buddy Roy to take out on Woodward. This year I managed to get my friend Mike Mercurio to loan me one of the classics that made Woodward what it was back in the day, his 1965 Pontiac GTO.

This thing is immaculate, with an interior that absolutely evokes the era: a cluster of four big, round gauges right in front of the driver, a thin, three-spoke, wood rimmed steering wheel, and four on the floor. Also, note the key ring and ignition switch at the far left of the picture, you see? Porsche isn’t the only one who did it that way.

Under the hood is a tri-power 389. Tri-power, of course, refers to the three two-barrel carbs. It also has a hi-power manifold, headers and roller rockers. I’m guessing +400 horsepower and an exhaust note that is music to your ears.

Out on Woodward you get a panoramic view of all kinds of cars no matter where you look, including Mustangs and Deloreans right outside the back window, or Studebakers and Jeeps rolling down the road.

And who says that young kids are not interested in cars? Here we have a Generation Z enthusiast, who wants Dream Cruisers to rev it up. In fact, I saw more than a few kids with signs like this.

And finally, at the end of the day, the GTO poses in its majestic resplendence, showing that people still have a place in their hearts for muscle cars.

That’s just a little taste of what went on this weekend. If you want a deeper dive into the Dream Cruise check out the webcast that we did Friday night. You can watch it on our website right now at

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for tuning in and please join us again tomorrow.

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29 Comments to “AD #1438 – OEM Rankings by Revenue, Buick Reveals Envision Interior, Cruisin’ in a ‘65 GTO”

  1. dcars Says:

    I think thier is a miss print in the Revenue made by Renault-Nissan. I don’t have sound on my current computer so I only read the text version of the show.

  2. Mike Says:

    I did enjoy the dream cruise. Fabulous things doing what they should do: i.e. drive up and down the road and turn heads. That said, it was hard to look at some of those vehicles. UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED! Nader was more right than we care to admit. It was a reminder of how much better/safer/more fuel efficient cars have become on our watch.

  3. Bradley Says:

    I Envision GM really needs to STOP creating new nameplates. It has always been my opinion that the bubble-gum approach to selling cars has hurt GM.

    Meaning a new nameplate should at some level peaks interest, but when a car company is constantly cycling through nameplates…it makes me feel like they don’t put a lot of inertia behind their endeavors.

  4. Sean McElroy Says:

    #1 – GM is at $39.6 billion, while Renault-Nissan are at $39.5 billion, just $100 million behind GM.

  5. bing bell Says:

    how much of that daimler cash is result of the liars looting chrysler?

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, Are you saying you think GM should recycle nameplates and call this new CUV the Century, Invicta, or something like that, rather than Envision, or do you mean they should call it BFA, GFB or something, more like Acura’s model names? Just curious.

  7. John McElroy Says:

    @Mile. You are so right. Those older cars can be beautiful to look at, but the steering, brakes and suspension–even when they are in very good condition–are scary-bad compared to today’s cars. No wonder so many enthusiasts are dropping old bodies on new chassis.

  8. Bradley Says:


    I am advocating recycling old names and stick with them.

    Toyota and BMW do this the best. Although I still believe the Avalon should be called Cressida.

    Although a CUV called Celebrity might be weird. Nonetheless, GM has a library of names to aid in a selection.

  9. Bradley Says:

    And my Yaris..should be called Tercel. Which Tercel originally was a trim level on the Corolla.

  10. aliisdad Says:

    We were at a car show this weekend, and I love the older cars with the memories of high school “cruzin’”, friends, being pretty carefree times, and playing mechanic.. They are also more simple than modern cars and kind of fun to work on as a hobby.. There is a saying in the car hobby that when you are older you buy the car that you wanted but could not afford when you were in high school… So True, so true!!
    That said, the fact is that current, modern cars are soooo good that there is really no comparison to the older cars…but, those memories are pretty COOL and they are just plain FUN!!!

  11. HtG Says:

    2,6 old cars

    I read an article about how to improve car racing that had as one idea to return to bias-ply tires. They aren’t as stable as low profile radials, giving the drivers more of a handful and making for more excitement for fans. I have to admit that watching old race cars is very exciting for me even when they’re only doing basic stuff fast.

  12. BobZ - LB Says:

    Re: GM drops to 4th. aka “The Ackerson Effect”

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember a friend of my sister’s having a Tercel. As I remember, it was called a Corolla Tercel when first sold in the U.S., though it was a completely different car from a Corolla, which was still rear drive at the time. The Tercel was front drive. The Tercel had a longitudinally mounted engine, though, unusual for a front drive car, even then.

  14. BobZ - LB Says:

    Re: GM Drops To 4th: aka “The Akerson Effect”

  15. Brett Says:

    Actually, bias ply tires create larger slip angles and have a much more manageable threshold behavior at the limit. The window between “everything’s great” and “you’re toast” with a radial is very small in comparison. When NASCAR went to radials, suddenly there were some terrific drivers that were no longer competitive.

    Much more gratifying and fun to watch an old race car in a 4-wheel drift on bias ply tires, IMO. It’s a hoot to watch old footage of the “aero” Chargers on the superspeedways and seeing the actual drift angle of the entire car in relationship to the lines painted on the pavement.

    The “racing stripe” down the hood of a car was put there to give the driver a visual reference in relationship to the road as to what sort of slip angle was being achieved.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Would Caballero Estate be a good name for that Buick CUV?,7268/1957-Buick-Caballero-Estate_photo.aspx

  17. HtG Says:

    12 Yes, you’re correct, Brett. Here’s a link to the article I had read. It says what you say.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #13 Kit

    And GMC made the Caballero (kiss’n cousin to the El Camino). It could work (sans the Estate).

  19. HtG Says:

    NHTSA announced that it will begin drafting rules for vehicle to vehicle communication, aimed at reducing collisions at intersections. It looks like the system will allow communication over short distances via radio waves at 5.9Ghz.

    “The report includes preliminary estimates of safety benefits that show two safety applications – Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) – could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives saved per year. Put another way, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur by providing advance warning. LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.”

    (personal point of order; let’s see another US department publish those regs they’re supposedly so ‘reasonably’ working on, eh?. Don’t make HtG file anything nasty at Prettyman. ;) )

  20. Rafi Jaan Says:

    I was hoping last week’s After Hours, covering the cruise on Friday, would be longer than the usual 1 hour. While I enjoyed the show, I thought there was so much more that could be covered/talked about. Does the show need to be 1 hour or could you, in future, extend it to a part 2 (another hour) to cover more content? Thank You!

  21. w l simpson Says:

    Re; TriPower—When I toured the BOP plant in N ATL in 65. There were crated tripowers stacked 2 stories high !

  22. Topper Says:

    Pleeeease John stop it your killing me with that bureaucratic licensing stuff. Have you ever done a brake job? I’ve done many in my driveway on jacks, pads and shoes. It’s a no brainier. I just did all four wheels on my 2010 Fusion in less than 4 hours. Should have been 3 hours, but first one I did on this car. Don’t give me that safety groin shot stuff, either. This is nothing but a money and power grab by the “professionals”. You disappoint me, John. Go out and bust you knuckles and then feel good about a well done job. Leave us shade trees alone.

  23. C-Tech Says:

    Auto Mechanic licensing in U.S. To my knowledge only Michigan, Hawaii, New York, and California require auto mechanics to have a license to work on cars for money in those states. Michigan does have a number of loopholes, for example car maintenance (fluid changes and brakes) does not require a licensed auto mechanic (worked as a mechanic in the Detroit area for 12 years). All the Major OEM’s require factory training and qualification for auto mechanics. If an unqualified technician does warranty work on a customer’s vehicle, the dealer will not get paid on the warranty claim (yes there are ways around that). A.S.E. offers nationwide uniform qualifying tests and certificates for auto, truck (diesel), machinist, and parts professionals. To get certified by A.S.E. you must pass the test in a particular area and have at least 2 years of automotive experience (master auto techs need at least 8 areas of qualification). Should the U.S. have a nationwide licensing requirement? It may weed out some technicians, but from what I have seen shop owners and dealers create work-arounds. I have seen shops hire techs with suspended driver’s licenses, then get the porters to test drive the cars after repairs.

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I have to agree with C-Tech on licensing; perhaps some sort of tiered certification. And for sure whomever initiates something (to this order) would have to include a ‘grandfathers’ clause. The more I think about it, the more I think that if should remain: “buyer beware” and leave the customer to make sure the service person is certified, i.e., ASE.

  25. Brett Says:


    I doubt seriously that anyone is proposing that you could not work on your own vehicle because you are not a licensed mechanic.

  26. C-Tech Says:

    I do NOT think John is trying to recommend licensing for the Do-It-Yourself mechanic. What IS being recommended is that if you take money for repairs (own / run a shop) then you should be licensed. There are many people who DO NOT do their own repairs and are depending on the competence of someone in a shop. As a matter of fact, WE ALL are depending on those repairs to be done right when we are traveling on the freeway and the cheap shop brakes are on the car behind you.

  27. Brett Says:

    For the hourly rate being asked these days, I’d like to think that I’m getting work performed by a licensed, qualified professional.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #27 Sadly, at a few shops the general public is not protected. I do wish the government weeded out those questionable shop owners, and managers. Licensing for technicians and shops may be the way.

  29. WineGeek Says:

    John I remember those tri-power setups of 3-2 barrel carbs, really difficult to synchronize and get to run smoothly when they did boy, did they go!