AD #1599 – Interior Suppliers Scramble, Renault-Nissan Outsell GM, EV Charging for Apartments

April 15th, 2015 at 11:52am

Runtime: 6:59

- Renault-Nissan Outsell GM
- Interior Suppliers Scramble
- Chevrolet Spark EV Price Cut
- Cadillac ELR Improvements
- EV Charging Improvements
- Hyundai Writes a Message to Space

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58 Comments to “AD #1599 – Interior Suppliers Scramble, Renault-Nissan Outsell GM, EV Charging for Apartments”

  1. Mike Says:

    The automotive business runs on the numbers. People who used to be in the interiors business (Visteon/Johnson Controls/Etc.) are simply facing up to the fact that Interiors is a 5% margin business (and maybe not even that) based on North American Labor and Environmental costs. At the cost of trying to manage very long supply lines, and the shipping of bulky products, this business has been and is being offshored.

  2. Steppenwolf Says:

    Great show.

    Sales numbers compare apples and oranges. A unit of GM may be sell for an average of $30,000, a unit of Toyota for $25,000, and a unit of that junk maker Renault-Nissan probably sells for an average of $20,000.

    It is just as easy to give us Revenues in $ and, even better (that’s what stock prices reflect), Profits.

    I remember when GM sold far more units than Toyota, but Toyota’s stock (market value) was six times that of GM! (of course, long before GM went broke!)

    It’s the Profits that determine the stock price of any company, to be precise, the buyer’s expectation of the future, not present, profits of a company.

  3. Ron Paris Says:

    GM slips to #4 in global sales? Just another sign that the elephant in the middle of the Autoline Daily room is still alive and well. GM should have been allowed to fail in 2009 saving us all a lot of grief. Including seeing a once-proud industrial icon become the lap dog of the federal government!

  4. Steppenwolf Says:

    The ELR was a big failure for GM. The ludicrous $75k base price for what is essentially a pimped-up Volt, only smaller inside, was the biggest problem. When there is a S-class sized Tesla S you can buy for a few grand more, and is 100% clean (no emissions) and has a 240 mile range, and performs like an M5, what luck can the poor ELR have?

    On the contrary, the other Caddys are very promising, and not just the hot selling Escalade, but all three performance sedans, the ATS, the CTS and now the CT6, no matter how unfortunate its name is.

    If Caddy does not get too greedy and prices them competitively, it will sell many more of them.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s not surprising that Nissan-Renault have overtaken GM, as they are much more “global” in sales than GM. In today’s world, GM is too U.S.-Canada centric to be the biggest car company in the world.

    I, for one, don’t think another great depression would constituted “saving us all a lot of grief,” but that would have been the result of GM shutting down in 2009. Nearly all of the suppliers would have failed, along with the tens of thousand of direct GM jobs going away.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    VW is strong everywhere in the world, except the U.S. and Canada. They would be global sales leader by a wide margin, if they were successful here.

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #3 +1

    This is an old debate (argument) and probably doesn’t need to be dredged up again (unless new fodder can be added; I agree with Kit’s assessment. Mistakes were certainly made but there was a lot of ‘scrambling’ going on at the time.

  8. Ron Paris Says:

    #3 That’s the conventional wisdom (myth) Kit. Truth is, GM’s assets would have been picked up by other companies and put to better use as would have the many of those “tens of thousands of GM jobs” (they just wouldn’t be called “GM jobs” anymore!)and supplier products. It’s called “creative destruction” in Econ. 101 and it’s an integral part of capitalism. Apparently, we just don’t have the collective stomach for it (or the smarts) anymore!

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 It would have taken many months, or years for GM’s assets to have been put back into operation by other companies. If someone had wanted to buy, and operate GM making the existing products, that would have been one thing, but that would not have happened.

  10. RumNCoke Says:

    Rum’s Daily Investment Tip – If the ELR fails in the marketplace, buy one and stash it away as part of your retirement plan. It’s a beautiful car that’s still going to look great years from now. Much more Avanti than Allante!

  11. Bradley Says:

    When companies go out of business they typically have to meet certain obligations (bankruptcy is usually the path).

    Hostess collapsed pretty aggressively, and everyone is ok.

    GM has to learn how to grow organically and not through acquisitions, etc. GM went Global through acquisitions.

  12. Bradley Says:

    Wall Street doesn’t like organic growth.

    They want instant return and low risk. Acquisitions are lower risk than developing a moon car.

  13. M360 Says:

    #7 – Don’t worry, there are people, even within GM, that say the way things are going at GM they could not only slide to #5, within another decade they could go bankrupt again because they have still not learned their lessons. They just don’t seem as vibrant as you’d expect them to be.

  14. Ron Paris Says:

    “If someone had wanted to buy, and operate GM making the existing products, that would have been one thing…”

    Why yes, that “would have been one thing”. I would call it “stupid”, as making existing GM products is what got them into bankruptcy in the first place!!!

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 GM are making some good products, but it takes more than that to reliably make money. If U.S. car sales decline to ~10 M, as they were in 2008, all of the “Detroit 3″ will be in trouble again. Here is a good discussion of the bailouts, by people who were involved with it.

    http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp01sj139419w/3/588.pdf

    Even most supporters of the bailouts agree that they have been more successful than they anticipated, due to higher than expected car sales. This is especially the case with Chrysler, which has been increasing market share the last few years, with a much larger market than in 2008-2009.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 It was the inefficient operation of the company, not the products that got them in trouble. Most GM products at the time were competitive, at least as good as Ford’s. Lest people forget, the only reason Ford didn’t need a “bailout” was that they were in trouble earlier, and were able to get loans.

  17. Rob Says:

    #4 agree! Until GM figures out, that sharing other GM platforms with Cadillac does not help Cadillac, they will continue to dilute the prestige they so desperately seek in the Cadillac brand. Everyone knows when its a Chevy wearing a Cadillac grill. SMH

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4, 17 Sadly, Cadillac’s most successful product is the one that is most clearly badged engineered, the Escalade. The ATS and CTS are on Cadillac-specific platforms, but ATS especially, is not selling well. I like that car, especially the coupe, but wouldn’t pay the price.

    ELR is not competition with Tesla S. The ELR is obviously smaller and slower than the Tesla, but it much more useful as a do-everything car, as long as you don’t need more room. The ELR will go anywhere that you can buy gas, while the pure electric Tesla will not. The price of the ELR is ridiculous, though, but there may be bargain leases.

  19. Steppenwolf Says:

    #8 “It’s called “creative destruction” in Econ. 101 and it’s an integral part of capitalism. Apparently, we just don’t have the collective stomach for it (or the smarts) anymore!”

    +10!

    Unfortunately, and GM is not alone in that, Chrysler and a whole lot of monumentally mismanaged Banks (like Citibank) and Insurance Giants (like AIG) and other Wall Street Parasites, were deemed, at the end of Bush 43 Admin (and unfortunately continued to be deemed even more in this Admin) “too big to fail”, while a large number of Auto Suppliers, whose total employment could well be larger than all of the Chrysler Corp, and even GM, were left to die.

  20. Steppenwolf Says:

    #17 +1. Your comments will seem even more true when you see that some GM beancounters (apparently) said yesterday that they could produce a Buick similar the Caddy CT6.

    As if it wasn’t enough that we have a Caddy (is it the DTS, XTS or what? which is within fractions of an inch in every dimension of the Chevy Impala, has the same identical 6-cyl engine with the Impala, but its really good designers have done what they could so its exterior does not also look like an Impala.

    I have only seen the last few days of posts here, but to those that claim that the Impala has a luxurious interior, please! Go see a tre luxury car, like a Merc S or E class, or an Audi 6 or 8, or a Lexus LS (not the near-luxury ES) and you will hopefully realize what true luxury really is.

  21. Steppenwolf Says:

    #18 Sadly, Cadillac’s most successful product is the one that is most clearly badged engineered, the Escalade. The ATS and CTS are on Cadillac-specific platforms, but ATS especially, is not selling well. I like that car, especially the coupe, but wouldn’t pay the price.

    I don’t like SUVs, but I don’t mind Caddy making $ from the Escalade and using it to develop excellent performance cars.

    Neither the ATS nor even the CTS sell as well as they should, for two reasons. First, they are way overpriced, given buyer perceptions of Caddy vs Merc, Audi and BMW. Second (the ATS especially) may have great handling, but has sacrificed almost everything else. I know an ATS owner who resents to have to sit with his face on the steering wheel whenever he has to take passengers in the back, because the back seat of the ATS is a joke, and its trunk is an even bigger joke. Version 2.0 should have 5 more inches length and wheelbase and all should go to the back seat.

    “ELR is not competition with Tesla S.”

    I am fully aware that the beancounters at Caddy did not want the ELR to compete with the Tesla S, but when they price it at a ludicrous $75k (when an excellent Cruze sits on the same platform and sells for one-fourth of that!), they make it compete with the Tesla S.

    ” The ELR is obviously smaller and slower than the Tesla, but it much more useful as a do-everything car, as long as you don’t need more room. The ELR will go anywhere that you can buy gas, while the pure electric Tesla will not. The price of the ELR is ridiculous, though, but there may be bargain leases.”

    As long as you accept a dirty gas engine for all trips beyond 40 miles (or 50 at best), there are far more, and better, alternatives.

    The other reason the ELR is not a Tesla S is that the Tesla S is a pure EV, no emissions whatever, and the ELR (and the Volt) is just a plug-in Gas Electric Hybrid. And please do not repeat GM’s hair-splitting arguments that the Volt is not a plug-in because it uses the electric motor all the time and the gas engine charges the battery. How many ELR buyers would care one bit about this semantic difference? It still emits dirty stuff just as the Prius Plug-in does. And probably more.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 Yeah, the XTS is the same as an Impala, only the Impala is better, because it doesn’t have CUE.

    An Impala has more room, and about equal performance to an E-class, and even a well equipped Impala cost about $20K less than the Benz. Also, the Impala will have leather seats, rather than vinyl.

    Yes, the Benz, Audi, and LS have nicer interiors, overall, than the impala, but you should get something for your extra $20-40K, other than a 3 pointed star, 4 rings, or an L.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Also, the Impala has more user-friendly controls than the “luxury” brands.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Seeing so many CLA’s out there and so few Impalas, makes me think most buyers are just into brands and cachet. I’ll take the Chevy any day.

  25. J Hundertmark Says:

    #21 – Tesla being pure EV, therefore no emissions. Not only Tesla (all EV’s) – Please remember that much of our electricity is generated by coal power plant. Hard to imagine that those power plants are emission free.

  26. Steppenwolf Says:

    #22 Kit Gerhart Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    #22 Yeah, the XTS is the same as an Impala, only the Impala is better, because it doesn’t have CUE.

    Both are poor-handling geezermobiles. Even the Caddy XTS is not a real luxury car. No serious driver would consider one. In addition, despite their exterior designers best efforts, they really look bad from a 90 deg angle, being quite long but with large front (esp) and rear overhangs. Autos, and luxury autos especially, are emotional purchases. They are like expensive clothes. What is the point if they don’t make you look good in them? In addition, if I wanted an poor-handling appliance, I’d go buy a Camry.

    Luxury is not about interior room, and especially not about trunk space. In fact, the most expensive luxury cars like the S class and the 7 series historically had less cargo room than their smaller, much cheaper E class and 5 series family-oriented sedans.

    “An Impala has more room, and about equal performance to an E-class, ”

    Not even in your dreams will a FWD vehicle have ‘about equal performance” to a perfectly balanced (weight distribution), RWD E class. And you can do even better with a 5 series. I suspect you have never driven one, let alone owned one long term?

    “and even a well equipped Impala cost about $20K less than the Benz. Also, the Impala will have leather seats, rather than vinyl.”

    So can an Avalon or a Camry, and it will save you even more, being far more reliable than the Impala, and, don’t forget that, have a far higher resale value.

    And unlike the Impala, you can get your Camry-Avalon in hybrid versions that get impressive average MPG that the Impala cannot even imagine.

    “Yes, the Benz, Audi, and LS have nicer interiors, overall, than the impala, but you should get something for your extra $20-40K, other than a 3 pointed star, 4 rings, or an L.”

    You really believe that all these successful, very intelligent people who can afford to buy the Germans, pay an extra $20k just for the logo? Again, it seems you have not owned one recently, and maybe also did not drive one and done a thorough comparison test.

    In fact, i would turn this around and say that it is the Lexus, Lincoln and Buick buyers that do exactly that, cough up $10k and $20k and even more, to get a mechanically identical twin (not the case in your comparisons!) because they are vain and want their neighbors to see that they don’t own just a Toyota, just a Ford, or just a Chevy.

    It is remarkable to see which are the two highest volume Lexuses sold in the USA. Both are thinly disguised Toyotas, the RX-Highlander and the Camry-ES.

    You should bark up those trees, not up the Merc-Audi-BMW buyers tree. There are no clones at $20k less there!

  27. Steppenwolf Says:

    #24, +10!

    Now that is an appropriate comparison. The CLA is a perfect example of a Merc that really is not a true Merc. Not only is it a lousy FWD, instead of a proper handling RWD, every review has panned its handling and performance. BUT it looks quite good from the outside, and the interior seems luxurious enough, so vain buyers buy it. Totally different than an E class or a 5 series, which actually deliver.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Looks like Sybil is back, oh boy!

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    As a matter of fact, by putting out a CLA AMG version, they cheapen and embarrass the otherwise excellent MB performance marquee.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Is Steppenwolf the former Bob, et. al.?

    20 The XTS uses the same engine as the Impala, but also, the A6 uses the same engine as a Jetta. (2.0 turbo) Is that ok for VW, but not for GM?

    Yeah, when running on gas, the ELR emits more than the Prius plug-in. The Prius plug-in has the same powertrain as a regular Prius, but with a bigger battery. I have, and like a regular Prius, but the Prius plug-in was a half effort, just so they could say they had a plug-in car. With the next generation Prius, I hope they either don’t do a plug-in version, or take it a lot more seriously.

  31. Steppenwolf Says:

    #25 we are well aware of that, thanks. But this trend is swiftly changing. Do you know that a new coal plant, to satisfy all the regulations, turns out to be much more expensive than a new natural gas plant? It’s a fact. And of course Nuke plants, who emit nothing, also have fallen victim to politics of waste disposal (we invested $4 billion + in the Yucca mt site and, thanks to Harry Reid (so glad he’s gone) no waste was ever stored there).

    You should also see the huge and growing network of free superchargers for the Tesla S, they are all planned to convert to Solar in the future.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 Yeah, and the GLA AMG.

  33. Steppenwolf Says:

    #30 I have never seen anybody mistake the FWD Jetta with a much larger AWD Audi A6. Are you serious?

    Do you specialize in poor comparisons? Probably, since you also seem to compare me to… some “Bob” character! LOL.

    When we say clone, we mean identical dimensions, identical engine, identical transmission and drive.

    Many brands share engines. Merc, BMW and Audi use the same engines in most of their low, mid, and upper range models. Does that make the 3 series a 7 series?

    Even your beloved Consumer Reports never dared to say that, while they,. for years, pointed out that the Camry was a far smarter buy than the (note!) identical ES, saving you $5k to $10k.

    Could we be serious here?

  34. Steppenwolf Says:

    #30 The Prius plug-in did not aim to compete with the Volt or the ELR heads-on. There are plenty of people whose weekday commute can be fully electric even in the Prius Plug-in. Even so, if you do the math, it probably is more economical to own a simple Prius, no matter how attractive the plug-in idea is.

  35. J Hundertmark Says:

    #31 – Coal power plants being more expensive than NG with applicable emission equipment – Would not be surprised. In addition, while I used to think positive of nuclear power plants, many years ago I learned the decommissioning costs which are generally higher than the construction costs. Obviously decommissioning cost need to be considered in the energy cost equation.

  36. Steppenwolf Says:

    What are these people, Bob and Sybil? And who cares if they are back or not?

    I care about what people here write, not who they are.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Not even in your dreams will a FWD vehicle have ‘about equal performance” to a perfectly balanced (weight distribution), RWD E class. And you can do even better with a 5 series. I suspect you have never driven one, let alone owned one long term?”

    As 99.9 % of Americans drive them, the handling is about equal, for their purposes. For what it’s worth, (yeah, not much to some people) the Impala was faster than an E-350 or A6 in CR’s “avoidance maneuver” test. Face it, a lot of people buy “luxury cars” for the badge. How else can you explain the success of the CLA and the ES? Yes, I know that the E, 5, and Lexus LS are not badge engineered cars.

    I’ve driven an older 5 series, and was not that impressed, but have driven a recent not-so-luxurious 2 series, which is great, handling-wise.

  38. Steppenwolf Says:

    #35 Re nukes, there are other options. The French have huge numbers of Nuke plants but no waste concerns, because they re-use the fuel (Breeder Reactors). I am not en expert on Nukes, but have read an article about Germany’s sharp change in Energy policy, they decided to close down most of their nukes, and at first I thought they went nuts, as Germany has no earthquakes and no tsunamis to worry about like Japan does.

    But the article explained that Germany’s huge push for Renewable energy was not the product of irrational fear of Nuke Energy, but rather an intentional effort to make the cost of Alt Energy (esp the panels made in China they buy) to drop big time, as the volume increased.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 You like to express your opinions, and criticize what other people write here, just as you did in your former lives.

    I’m going to be driving for a while, so you all have fun.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sergio criticizes the auto industry for not consolidating more, this is a desperate attempt to get some other entity to join FCA and then get swallowed up by Fiat so they can re-badge their crappy platforms and sell them using different names.

  41. Steppenwolf Says:

    #37 “As 99.9 % (or 99% that are not auto enthusiasts, but I will not quibble) of Americans drive them, the handling is about equal, for their purposes.”

    Their purposes are not concerned about handling.

    ” For what it’s worth, (yeah, not much to some people) the Impala was faster than an E-350 or A6 in CR’s “avoidance maneuver” test.”

    That IS very surprising. I wonder what is so divine about the Impala, a FWD whale, that makes it better? Do you know?

    ” Face it, a lot of people buy “luxury cars” for the badge. ”

    I don’t need to face it, I already said it! But where it truly applies, apples to apples, clones, not just…. a jetta with an A6 engine! That is a ludicrous comparison.

    “How else can you explain the success of the CLA and the ES? ”

    I am the one who mentioned them! (And Pedro F.)

    “Yes, I know that the E, 5, and Lexus LS are not badge engineered cars.”

    Actually there IS a Toyota in Japan on which the LS is based or shares many parts, the Crown. Look it up as I am not too interested in it and don’t know all the details.

    “I’ve driven an older 5 series, and was not that impressed, but have driven a recent not-so-luxurious 2 series, which is great, handling-wise.”

    What year was that 5? The 1997-03 were great, but if you drive them today they are becoming a bit long in the tooth. They were small, just a little bigger than a 3, but very nice. And the M5 with the 400 HP V8 was really nice.

    The 2 series is my favorite among current BMWs, it is a true successor (or as close as a BMW can be today) of the legendary 2002.

    I also like the ext. styling of the 2 coupes and M better than that of current 3, 5 and 7s

  42. Steppenwolf Says:

    #39 “You like to express your opinions, and criticize what other people write here, just as you did in your former lives.”

    1. I’ve had no former lives as far as I know. I hope to have future ones, but I don’t really believe in them (life after death, reincarnation).

    2. I like to express my opinions and discuss other peoples opinions,on automotive matters, both when I agree with them, as well as when I don’t. I do not know any of these people, so obviously it is nothing personal.

  43. Steppenwolf Says:

    #40 as long as gas prices are dirt-cheap, Sergio and FCA will keep doing great sales-wise in the US. When they go up again, it’s anybody’s guess.

    I have seen recent sales nos for the US and poor Honda is taking it on the chin, despite the current Accord being by far the best vehicle in its class. Nissan is already selling more units than Honda, and even Hyundai-Kia may surpass it soon.

  44. Steppenwolf Says:

    I have to go too. Have fun everybody.

  45. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hi CK.

  46. HtG Says:

    42 I’m out driving too.

  47. cwolf Says:

    Ohhh boy!!! Here we go again.

  48. C-Tech Says:

    Is this an Autoline rerun? I thought we left this nonsense behind?

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41 “” For what it’s worth, (yeah, not much to some people) the Impala was faster than an E-350 or A6 in CR’s “avoidance maneuver” test.”

    That IS very surprising. I wonder what is so divine about the Impala, a FWD whale, that makes it better? Do you know?”

    I don’t remember what the article said; I just checked their web site for the numbers, but it could have been mostly the tires. The Impala they tested was a high trim level with big wheels, probably 19 inch, and it may have had semi-high performance tires. The others, especially the Benz, probably had the best available tires for quietness and ride, compromising performance a little. Just a guess.

    ““I’ve driven an older 5 series, and was not that impressed, but have driven a recent not-so-luxurious 2 series, which is great, handling-wise.”

    What year was that 5? The 1997-03 were great, but if you drive them today they are becoming a bit long in the tooth. They were small, just a little bigger than a 3, but very nice. And the M5 with the 400 HP V8 was really nice.”

    I think the 5 series I drove was an ’05 or so, the next generation after you mention. That’s not really “older,” except it wasn’t the current generation.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The “5″ in question was an early Bangled one. It just didn’t feel very sporty, and didn’t look so great either, at least to me.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42, OK, identities, pseudonyms, handles, etc., not lives.

  52. Robert Morrison Says:

    John,
    I remember growing up in mich in the 70′s and early 80′.
    If I would have said to someone that someday GM will file for bankruptcy and would fall the 4th place in the auto market people would have called me crazy and that would never ever happen.
    What has happened? John please help me understand!

  53. Steppenwolf Says:

    #49 +1, an informative reply on both topics.

    I also did not like the 04-09 or even the successor 5 series. The exterior was “Bangled”. The interior, I sat in a close friend’s 530, was very luxurious though. surprisingly so.

    I recently sat in several BMWs at a dealers, and did not like the interiors much. I did not even bother to test-drive any one. I even sat in an i3, which was really the worst of the lot. I am surprised the i3 drew so much praise by the auto media.

    I also went to the Merc dealer nearby, was curious to see the new S Class, that also proved below my expectations, and had some rather cheesy and unfortunate details, such as the redundant “Mercedes-Benz” written in tiny italics around the wooden steering wheel. I do like the 07-14 S class, one can get it for less than $20k today, even the 4matic. Also the 2007 LS460, which goes for similar amounts. But my next car will be 2 years from now probably. It may even be an EV, the way their prices are plummeting, if I can keep my clunker even longer.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    52 Yep, things can certainly change. I remember GM having nearly half the U.S. market for a few years in the 1961′s. I think they actually had a little over 50% in ’61 or ’62. Then, there is the new global number one, VW, which, at the time, made only air cooled beetles and vans, a a few spinoff pickups, etc.

    In the ’60′s, there were even efforts to “split up” GM due to antitrust concerns. That didn’t happen, but one concern I remember, at the time, was that if GM were split into two companies, Chevy, and “the rest,” the two would compete against each other, getting even more of the market, and making it even tougher for Ford, and especially Chrysler to survive. I would have been in my teens when this was going on.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, 33. My point is that GM always gets criticized for sharing engines, most notably the 3.6, among brands and platforms, while you don’t hear the same thing about others, especially VW/Audi.

    Maybe the critcism of GM’s engine sharing dates back to the fiasco 40 years ago, when they started putting Chevy engines in Oldsmobiles. People wanted a “Rocket V8″ in their Olds, even though the Chevy engine was probably better. At least the Chevy didn’t have those aluminum rocker pivots that frequently wore out.

  56. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The only problem I have with gm sharing the 3.6 is it just doesn’t belong in the midsize twins.That should have been the the all new 4.3.It seems now that there are a growing number of twins on the road now and some complain’t about the ‘high revs’ needed to make any power.@GM….I told ya so.

  57. Jonathan Says:

    Is the an autoline after hours show today at 3pm ?

  58. John McElroy Says:

    #57 – Yes