John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

AAH #9 – An Evening with Cheddar Cheese

May 28th, 2009 at 10:11pm

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On this week’s riveting installment of Autoline After Hours, McElroy and the gang delve into a topic worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy – they try to dig-up the root cause of Detroit’s painful decline. Of course John is joined in the studio by Peter De Lorenzo, but the other third of the regular After Hours gang, Jason Vines, is out of town so he joins the fray via telephone. Standing in, or rather sitting in for Vines and getting his baptism by fire in the conversation crucible is Csaba Csere, long-time industry expert and former editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. This week, the group discusses and a diversity of topics ranging from horses and Fudge to cheddar cheese oh and, by the way, some of the colossal blunders that backed GM into the corner it’s in today. As always, your participation in the discussion is paramount. We take more of your questions and comments in the edgy “Rapid-Fire” segment in the latter half of the broadcast. You do not want to miss this installment of Autoline After Hours, the most candid car-themed discussion around.

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11 Comments to “AAH #9 – An Evening with Cheddar Cheese”

  1. craigerzgt Says:

    Great show John! If at all possible, be encouraged to go longer like this, especially if you have good special guests. “Caesar Chavez” was a great choice as a guest and made lots of interesting points. Good to hear too that you got as many viewers as the Farago episode; the only difference being that this one was actually good haha. See you next week! (and well, throughout the week on ALD)

  2. Mike Clovis Says:

    John,

    This is just a note to support what you and your panel were discussing toward the end of this week’s ‘Autoline After Hours.’

    I work at a small GM dealership a small town in Idaho. I am a twenty-six-year veteran of the car business and currently a couple of my duties include buying used vehicles at auctions and maintaining our GM website and on-line advertising.

    Until very recently our procedure was to have our office manager enter our auction cars on our GM dealer website, the day I purchase them, and let the website software decode the vehicle from the VIN number. When I returned from the auction, the next day I would add the photos and extra information to the vehicle listing.

    However, since the VIN number cannot really tell what kind of vehicle we bought, the listings and descriptions are usually wrong. It will always list our 4WD pickups as 2WD’s. That is a great way to devalue a pickup nearly $4,000 in our market. The same thing happens with SUV’s and Crossovers. The all-wheel-drives become front-wheel-drives or 2WD’s.

    GM’s current VIN system is even blind to cars like the Impala. The required GM software insisted on describing a 2004 Impala base model as a turbo-charged Impala SS.

    Now we must enter the vehicles without the VIN to prevent this problem. So then we lose the fuel mileage listings, Carfax, and video presentations that are all tied to the VIN. It is no doubt that the current VIN system is another factor that is helping to kill their residual values.

    To be fair to GM, I know after spending more than twenty years in the auction lanes, that the rest of the industry also has shortcomings with using VIN information as an aid to identify model and trim level. This is no secret.

    Yet why would GM try to use only the VIN to identify vehicle type and trim level on their dealer websites. They should have their website provider, Cobalt, connected to GM’s ‘Vehicle Information System’ (VIS). This would accurately list all of the equipment to each specific vehicle.

    Somehow the people that have decided how to make this current system work, have no knowledge of the shortcomings of their own system. This is another small example of the systemic problems that have plagued our domestic auto industry.

    As your guest pointed out they should have looked at the BMW site. It appears to work exactly the way I have suggested.

  3. Thor Says:

    Outstanding Show, perhaps the best of all AAH shows to date.

    Keep on bringing great guests with multiple points of view!

    PS the name “Autoline After Hours” is good enough. It does not convey that it is weekly or on thursdays, you could add to it to show that, but it may become cumbersome.

    “Autoline After Hours Thursday”?

  4. Dave E. Says:

    AAH #9 – An Evening With Cheddar Cheese

    I looked forward to having Csaba Csere and he did not disappoint. He has his pulse on the auto industry for a long time, thanks for putting him on the show.
    Here is my question, If these companies are mismanaged, why wouldn’t our elected representatives be upset when GM expects the tax payers to pay for their mistakes?
    I’m against fuel taxes you’re taking money out of the economy and in most cases that the money is not given back to the consumer; it’s eventfully used to balance other budgets.
    I had three Saturns, an SW and two Vue’s. One of the Vue’s with a VTI transmission, in excellent condition, dropped to less than 8% of its value in three years.
    Great show. We need more cheddar cheese!
    Dave E.

  5. Lee in OKC Says:

    Very nice that Csaba verified exactly what we all knew, Gm built crap because they could get away with it. The fun part was finding out that they only decided to do something about it 5 years ago. So that makes the current GM products the only ones that are any good, and look what happens.
    It did not stop any of the top execs from taking their bonus money though.

    Best show to date. As good as Makinac Jack was, in studio guests work best.

    Lee

  6. Jim Terruso Says:

    John,
    Last night you won the Academy Award. Csaba is
    an excellant guest please have him on more often.
    You guys hit the nail on the head with the exec.
    management. The President was on track when he
    offed Rick Wagener, he should have taken the
    next 25 guys under him, as you said, they should
    all have been “broomed” The show is great, you
    make my Thur. night
    Best of luck with the show
    Jim

  7. Dan Clemons Says:

    Here is my suggestion for Autoline After Hours name:

    Autoline in the Drivers Seat

    Dan

  8. Edward Walsh Says:

    John:

    First time I really had a chance to ‘sit down’ and watch the ‘After Hours’ Show. Was glad I did and the guest you had in the studio made it worthwhile.

    Keep up the excellent job!!

    Edward
    Marystown, Newfoundland
    Canada

  9. Alex Kajdi Says:

    John,

    Csaba Csere should become a permanent member of your show. He is a very smart and insightful quest!

  10. Jon Says:

    I agree with all the positive comments above. It was a great show and I hope the shows could be a little longer. This time it seems the format held back the content. Still a great show. Thanks!!

  11. Dustin Says:

    Outstanding show! Best one yet. Csaba Csere really was a great guest to the show. As a patriotic Ford fan I am so frustrated with how the Big 3 have let themselves lose so much market share over the last 30 years. This market might be the best thing that happened to GM and Ford in decades. They seem to have finally gotten the message. “To build cars and trucks the American people really do want and desire”. Wow what a concept!