AD #1349 – Krafcik Joins TrueCar, NY Auto Show Reveals, Was Mary Barra Thrown Under The Bus?

April 4th, 2014 at 11:52am

Runtime: 7:47

- John Krafcik Joins TrueCar
- Kia to Show Minivan Concept
- Subaru Teases New Outback
- BMW Drops Its Top with M4 Convertible
- Was Mary Barra Thrown Under The Bus?
- Autonomous Cars Can Help Improve Safety

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where we work to keep you up to speed about what’s going on in the global automotive industry. And stay tuned because John has some comments about GM CEO Mary Barra but first today’s top stories.

At the end of last year, Hyundai Motors America CEO, John Krafcik, abruptly left the company. We said it wouldn’t take too long for him to land another job and now he has a new, somewhat unexpected role. Krafcik just joined the Board of Directors of TrueCar, a website that allows car buyers to track what other customers actually paid for their vehicles, by partnering with dealers across the country. And Krafcik’s timing is impeccable because the company also just filed documents to begin the process for an initial public offering, which means Krafcik could be looking at a big payday.

Now lets take a look at a few New York Auto Show reveals. First up is Kia, with this teaser image of an all-new mid-sized minivan it will debut. No details were released but we can see that it gets the automakers signature grille and it looks as though it will have sliding side doors.

Subaru will also unveil the next generation Outback at the show. Again, no details were released but it will feature the same front-end design language we saw on the new Legacy.

And last but not least, BMW will drop the top on the all-new M4 Convertible. It gets the same exterior design that was shown on the new M4 Coupe and M3 Sedan as well as the same 3-piece hardtop from the 4-Series Convertible. Power comes from a 425 horsepower turbocharged 3.0L 6-cylinder that’s mated to the standard 6-speed manual or an optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car is 90 pounds lighter than its predecessor thanks to use of aluminum in the chassis and body panels as well as a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic driveshaft. The M4 Convertible will hit showrooms this summer. But if you want to see it or any of the other vehicles we mentioned, the New York auto show opens to the public on the 18th of this month and will run until the 27th.

And now I will throw it to John who has some more Autoline Insight regarding GM CEO Mary Barra.

There’s a conspiracy theory making its way through the auto industry. More and more people that I’ve talked to believe that Dan Akerson knew this ignition switch defect was about to blow up in GM’s face, and that’s why he stepped down as chairman. And the people I’m talking to are serious thinkers, not conspiracy mongers.

It all boils down to this: what did GM’s top executives know and when did they know it? Mary Barra says she did not know the specifics of this defect and the recall until January 31st of this year. But under Congressional questioning Barra admitted she was aware of “an analysis” involving the Chevrolet Cobalt in December. An analysis? What kind of analysis? And why was she told, as the CEO heir apparent, about it? It must have been an awfully serious analysis to inform top management.

That time frame is important. Dan Akerson abruptly informed GM in December that he was stepping down. If Mary Barra was informed of “an analysis” surely Dan Akerson was too. Akerson said he was stepping down to spend more time with his wife who is dying of cancer. But last month Akerson was appointed vice chairman of the Carlyle Group. So he doesn’t have time to be chairman of General Motors but he does have the time to be vice chairman of Carlyle? Nothing has done more to feed the conspiracy theory that Akerson knew this was all coming than that.

I think there is going to be more Congressional hearings on this issue, and probably a criminal investigation, too. We’ll learn a lot more from that. But right now more and more people in the auto industry believe Akerson knew that this was about to hit the fan. The phrase I keep hearing is that “Mary Barra was thrown under the bus.”

Coming up next, a look at how autonomous vehicles can help improve safety.

On Autoline This Week, our weekly television show, the topic is all about autonomous vehicles. In the following discussion, John and his panel of experts talk about how the technology can help to greatly reduce traffic accidents.

(The Autoline This Week preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

If you want to learn more about the future of autonomous cars you can watch that entire show right now on our website,

But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

64 Comments to “AD #1349 – Krafcik Joins TrueCar, NY Auto Show Reveals, Was Mary Barra Thrown Under The Bus?”

  1. Mike Says:

    An unfortunate part of American culture is the blame game. Was Admiral Kimmel really responsible for Pearl Harbor? Who really is in control of a corporate culture that could possibly make a mistake? What is the obsession to find someone to throw under the bus? Sometimes it is just better to say OOPS!, clean up the mess as best you can, and move on. Those Senate hearings were a shameful game of political posturing and stump the monkey.

  2. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Nobody deserves to be treated that way. Especially from a bunch of clowns who’s public ratings are lower than whale waste material.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I hope Mary Barra ‘stays the course’; I think she will come out of this triumphant. It is pretty obvious that she has to respond guardingly until she can catch up to all the facts regarding this/these issues (she was partially kept in the dark as well). Errors were certainly made but Mary is leading the company in the only way she can, by declaring that changes will be made as well as corrections. Congress has to ask the questions, but by their continuing ‘grandstanding’ they show how ‘they’ are the overseers while not elevating themselves to the same standards they dictate (to everyone else).

    Mary Barra, car-gal: damn straight she is (and should be proud of it).

  4. Frank Nelson Says:

    Absolutely Captain Queeg new what was coming. How convenient for him to move Mrs. Barra into his old slot. Perhaps he knew she may fair better than a man in the pending investigation. It is a shame on all fronts. From GM’s need to put profit before ultimate safety. And now to this group of idiots who are using their opportunity to put their face before America. Politics is show business for ugly people.

  5. Buzzerd Says:

    Daily Show did a good skit on this whole GM thing the other day, I get a real kick out of Stewart.

  6. alex wellington Says:

    #5 The above is the Excellent, both funny AND informative, Video.

    If you have not seen it, you really are missing a lot.

  7. Dave Forslund Says:

    Re: Who is responsible at GM
    John, I think if they follow “the string” it will go back before Dan Ackerson.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Now you know why Mark Ruess(sp) didn’t get the job.GM looks at Ms Barra as expendable.

  9. Lex Says:

    I mentioned in a previous posting that I believe Dan Ackerson and senior leadership must have knew trouble was brewing over the ignition switch defect and he did not want his legacy at GM tarnished. Was her promotion a reward or a punishment you decide. I believe Mary Barra will ‘Stay the course’ (Thanks Chuck Grenci #3) and turn GM 180 degrees around from the Whirlpool set in motion by the OLD Guard at General Motors. Best Wishes Mary Barra!

  10. C-Tech Says:

    I have not had one of these ign. locks fail on me but I wonder if you also lose your power steering? On most of these recalled cars the power steering is electric too.

  11. alex wellington Says:

    8 we know NOTHING. This is ALL speculation. Not that I ever liked that clueless jerk Akerson. Hopefully Reuss or somebody as qualified or better, will ultimately become GM’s CEO and help it regain some the incredibly huge lost ground over 5 decades.

  12. alex wellington Says:

    9 I am quite sure Barra knew about it too, and if she did not, having such lofty AND relevant positions at GM (she had Reuss’s current Job at the end), this should sure be thoroughly investigated, and sure does not speak well of her inteligence, alertness, and up-to-date-dness.

    She is no victim.

  13. G Thompson Says:

    #10 Although it is electric assisted power steering it only operates with the engine running.

    Hold the course Mary Barra…

  14. Lex Says:

    @12 IMO Mary Barra is very brave it she knew the iginition switch trouble was on the horizon and still took the CEO position. I believe Mary Barra needs to go through this gaunlet of fire from Congress to strenghten and harden her metal. She can emerge as a Phoenix of Change and transform General Motors into a good (safety minded first) corporate citizen and renew buyer faith in their vehicles. If not all will be lost.

  15. Steve Weintraub Says:

    A coincidence that Dan Ackerson abruptly left? What about all this hitting the fan shortly after the US govt sold their stock in GM?

  16. Lex Says:

    Great Point Steve Weintraub # 14!

  17. Lex Says:

    I always liked John McElroy’s interviews with John Krafcik. He’s joining TRUECAR should be interesting. Maybe Krafick could one day be on the board of General Motors. Best Wishes & Good Luck to John Krafcik.

  18. Saginaw Bill Says:

    They should have grilled Bob Lutz and Rick Wagoner, not Mary Barra!!!

  19. Lex Says:

    I like the look of that new Minivan from Kia.
    It looks sleek and sporty. Hopefully I can see it at the NY Auto Show. This should attract minivan buyers to the Kia Brand. I hope their is no Thunderbolt beltline feature like in the current Honda Odyssey.

    Any free tickets available for the NY Auto Show?

  20. Lex Says:

    I like your thinking Saginaw Bill # 17!

  21. David Sprowl Says:

    Yea, this is bad for GM. Who knew what does not matter. What matters is the direction she gives to fix the situation. Her current actions will speak volumes if she gets the problem fixed and can show differentiation over those that simple made today’s events possible. If she can lead GM past this it will also show to others that mistakes can be made, but taking corrective action will do far better than sweeping it under the rug.

  22. Mike S Says:

    Was Barra thrown under a bus? She’s been handsomely paid to do the job Akerson wouldn’t: stonewall congress.

    GM will stonewall until some sort of agreement can be made, then ax Barra. She’ll receive a hefty release package, then GM will go on about business as usual.

  23. Lex Says:

    I hope you are wrong – @ Mike S. # 21

  24. Brett Says:

    Would you take $15 million and a nice retirement package to take the fall for a major corporation?

  25. stas peterson Says:

    Did you notice all the Democrat demagogues ranting about the evils of ‘uncaring’ GM capitalism.

    They are changing the subject from the perfection of the socialism that they voted for without reading. That was an example of perfect governmental socialism that they imposed on us for the program known as Obozo-Care. A imposition that that they carefully excluded themselves from bearing.

    These Bozos responsible with virtually lifetime sinecures, would rather make debating points on a lady that has been in the job a month and a half, while they can’t seem to get their Obozo-Care to work after three years.

  26. BadnikL Says:

    GM knowingly bought a switch that was not up to spec, probably based on warranty repair forecasts. The part was re-designed and not given a new part number. This smells of a cover up, making a bad deal worse.

    Autonomuos cars will reduce accidents, until the 1st accident in one happens and kills someone. If LAwyers prove it was the cars fault, where will that lead? Can’t be any worse than an ignition switch that fails, right?

  27. HtG Says:

    Lots of good comments above. I’ll infer from John’s description of his contacts in the industry that these people are well versed in the internal political culture of GM, though when Barra was named CEO over Reuss we heard plenty of internal anger and boohoo from the true believers via Peter D., also pretty well connected. Finally, we know Valukas is doing an independent investigation, so maybe we’ll find out what Akerson knew and when he knew it.

    BWTM, this ignition switch episode will donate an exogenous force, or as I like to call it, a swinging axe into the hands of Mary Barra to make changes to the company

  28. alex wellington Says:

    You guys REALLY need to watch, and very carefully too, Jon Stewart’s piece on this scandal, not just the funny part, but also his DETAILED explanations of the insignificant problem which led to this multiple-billion-dollar scandal and possible jail times for those responsible.

    See my link above. Post 5 or whatever.

  29. Brett Says:


    I can’t help but think that somewhere, drivers are passing an intersection and wondering where that poor man is that is usually haranguing them with gibberish.

  30. Chuck Grenci Says:

    No you shouldn’t look at John Stewart’s segment as an exposition of the facts. He, more than GM, trivialized (made jokes) about the deaths at the hands of this whole unfortunate happenstance. I do not relieve GM of what they did but certainly don’t endorse a comedians vial attempt at humor over the facts (either). Watch the segment, but watch it with your ‘eyes’ open (and think about it)……………..hard! As they say 20/20 hindsight is dead-on……………put some of this into context (as in the climate and the times of a decade ago) and it is just not that easy (to explain). And again, mistakes were made (very bad mistakes) but it is just not that easy to sum it up (as some have).

  31. R Jones Says:

    As a owner and supporter this lying and cheating makes me ashamed to have anything to do with them !

  32. clem zahrobsky Says:

    I understand mary makes $14 + million a year and you can throw me under the bus anytime for that kind of money. she can cry all the way to the bank.

  33. T. Bejma Says:


    For a supposed “supporter” you are pretty quick to jump on the hater’s bandwagon without any proof of any lying or cheating. At least wait until the independent investigation is complete before passing judgement.

  34. Buzzerd Says:

    Chuck- are you familiar with the term “satire” cause that’s what the Daily Show is all about.

  35. T. Bejma Says:


    Buzzerd – I think all but one of us understand and agree with you but the one thinks that it should win the award for the most accurate documentary of the GM issue ever created…

  36. HtG Says:

    I think I’m getting old, because for years I’ve felt John Stewart and Colbert were also getting old. Sometimes they get off a good zinger, like the one about Cobalt drivers’ problem being that they have a house, but mostly those guys are predictable. May I recommend ‘Veep’ with Julia Dreyfus? Season 2 now available on Netflix.

    I’ll be dying this weekend.

  37. cwolf Says:

    When it comes to the GM issue, I think there are an over abundance of arm chair QB’s, yet have narry a clue about the game. I’m content to wait till da’games over.

  38. T. Bejma Says:


    I’m with you HtG. Also thought some of his reactions were funny, but yes, mostly predictable.

  39. HtG Says:

    There’s still hope for Stewart, TB. Did you see his defense of NY Pizza over Chicago deep dish?

  40. Dave Foley Says:

    As difficult as Barra is having it right now, this issue will be resolved. There will be penalties and fines, and law suits, but it will all work out somehow.

    So let’s fast forward a couple years or more, and assume that everything has worked the way Barra is intimating it will now, and everybody is more or less ‘satisfied’. If that’s the case, GM had BETTER keep her in there and let her run the company for a good long time after!

    If the brass at GM bounce Barra citing some ‘damaged goods’ or ‘She is exploring new opportunities” or some other lame excuse, it will be 100% clear that she was installed simply to take the fall.

    I don’t care how much money they pay her, hiring Barra with the expressed intent to destroy her hard earned reputation would be on my list of unforgivable sins. I have no issue with the GM bailout, but if after this settles down, they shaft Barra and she suddently “Retires”, there will be no saving GM’s own reputation. This kind of action will have repercussions all around the company. From union negotiations, to supplier relations, all the way down to the dealer experience for the customer. Remember, ‘stuff’ flows downhill. If the top levels of of the company can’t even give their management personnel a fair break, why should any other entity give the company a fair break?

    Lets hope that Barra not only does well and handles this situation in the best possible way, but is also kept on after this s#!tstorm blows over. Time will tell…..

  41. HtG Says:

    Adrian Newey slams Formula1

    The chief designer for RedBull says the hybrid cars are not efficient and are not F1…

    “From a sporting point of view, to me, efficiency, strategy etc, economy of driving, is very well placed for sportscars, which is a slightly different way of going racing. Formula One should be about excitement. It should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap.”

    Still, for the wicked(that’s HtG) the spectacle of people in the sport such as the drivers and journalists insisting criticism is naive(that’s you Niki Lauda) or childish(that’s you Nico Rosberg) makes for great lip smacking fun. And no one needs to worry about the anoraks’ devotion; they’ll always be among us.

  42. HtG Says:

    Anorak, defined

  43. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #40 Dave Foley

    Well said, it is true time will tell the ultimate outcome. I agree with you that if she does well leading GM out of this and is let go that will speak louder to me than any safety Czar named, or new process put in place about any true change at GM.

  44. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    Will you be going to the New York show again this year HtG? I have enjoyed your posts about it in the past and look forward to this years if you are going.

  45. alex wellington Says:

  46. alex wellington Says:

    39 Stewart needs not to hope for anything, he is the TOPS in his field, which of course nobody can say for Mr Barra’s “performance” (or lack thereof) in Congress.

    Get your head out of the sand sometime.

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    Ok HtG, you’re right, there is some hope as long as it is about things like pizza (“marinara whuuurr” ;-) ) and not trying to be an educator of serious issues.

    Still rolling on the floor (“I want to know if I get drunk and pass out on my pizza, I am not going to drown… LOL)

    PS – gtrslngr not getting any love over there either :-)

  48. HtG Says:

    47 I wasn’t going to point him out, TB.

  49. HtG Says:

    46 Leno was also tops.

  50. T. Bejma Says:

    I couldn’t hold back any longer HtG. One of my personality flaws – exposing frauds…

  51. T. Bejma Says:


    Jimmy is fast approaching one of the Tops also.

  52. HtG Says:

    44 hi, Jesse. Yep, I’ll be at the NY show. This year I’ll try to start out with the trucks, so I have more energy. Got my camera. Thanks for your kind words.

  53. C-Tech Says:

    Off topic: Pedro did you get another car yet?

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    No, I have a 99 Accord, 4 cyl, low miles that this guy is gonna sell soon and he told me he would sell it to me, the only thing wrong with it is a whistling noise coming from the driver’s window when it is fully closed. There should be some way to fix that.

  55. HtG Says:

    Welcome to the dark side, Pedro

  56. T. Bejma Says:


    Sounds like a door seal or the glass run channel Pedro. Both easy to fix and probably readily available on eBay. Rubber stuff tends to get a little brittle in the hot FLA sun. Good luck with it. In ’99 there wasn’t much better than a Honda.

  57. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #52 – HtG

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this years show.

    #54 – Pedro

    That’s an easy fix… just turn up the radio

  58. RonE Says:

    #57,LOL, Re: …turn up the radio. And like a friend of mine did when his check engine light stayed on, put a piece of black electrical tape over it.

  59. alex wellington Says:


    Normally I go to bed early and rise early, but last night the New Sat Night Live at 11:30 kept me up until midnight. They now re-run the ,ive show from the previous Sat at 10 AM, so I watched that (quite convenient), but I was curious how they would lampoon Barra’s performance in Congress, so I stayed thru the moronic local news (in MUTE) and at 11:30, there it was. It sure was worth the wait.

    They did not even try to use any actor remotely resembling Barra, or at least have her wear a wig remotely similar to Barra’s hair. Instead, they used an actress-comedian half Barra’s age, and much better looking (it is rare, good looking women comedians that are also very funny). So Barra would have been pleased at the looks of her.

    But the script of the text was merciless, it took no prisoners, and was hilariously funny.

  60. alex wellington Says:

    April Sales

    John predicted they will be good, and now I have more evidence that they will be. Besides the pent-up demand from the terrible winter, we now have PICKUP WARS, GM responding to RAM’s sales exceeding the Silverado’s (by a few hundred units over 42,000, so you can call it a tie), offering UP TO $7.5k or more. The F-150 sold almost as many as the Ram and Silverado Combined (70k) in March, but they may be forced to respond as well.

    The result sure will be good for the “domestics” (if you can still call Chrysler that) sales and market share, but will not be good for their profits…

  61. Stan S Says:

    It looks like the conspiracy monger Peter D was correct all along and the serious thinkers are jumping on the bandwagon.Its fun to watch all the automotive medina step lightly as to not step on the golden goose.

  62. T. Bejma Says:

    Very comprehensive and thorough article on the different environment at GM when the ignition switch problem first happened. I can assure you, this is not the state of business today…

  63. alex wellington Says:

    From Autoblog this morning:

    “2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe now more expensive than when new”

    There are very few cars, such as the Tesla S, and only one out of several volume-managed Ferrari Models, that share the above unbelievable Feat.

    This is the reward of AUTOMOTIVE EXCELLENCE.

    BTW I always stated here that I liked the 1 series far better than the 3 and even current 5 and 7, and that the 1 M especially is the really true heir to the legendary 2002.

  64. alex wellington Says:

    #62 Details:

    “..Just the other day, we had a vivid reminder about one of our dream cars from the very recent past, the 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe. ..In the Comments section of that review, a few savvy Autoblog readers pointed out that our estimated price for a used donor car, set at $50,000, was low. Odd, we thought, as the car retailed for less than $50k ($46,135) when it was new in 2011. So we started checking around.

    .. We tracked down about 20 cars currently on sale, by way of major used auto sales websites, and found an average asking price of a whopping $61,670 with an average mileage of about 11,600 on the clock. That’s more than $15,500 over the MSRP when new, or an appreciation of around $5k per year.”

    Imagine, these are NOT 2014 used, not even 2013 or 2012! They are 3 to 4-year old 2011s!!!