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9-17-2021


John,
In light of efforts by China to control industrial standards, I really wonder if the Western Automotive World needs to come together and European and American automakers and regulators need to drive to harmonized standards otherwise the Chinese will set the standards which in all likelihood will favor Chinese brands. 

From my point of view, it would make for an interesting AAH discussion.
9-15-2021


RE:  Auto Line After hours
 
So Gary says that you walk into a Jeep dealership looking for a truck and the dealer says we are #1 on I.Q.S. list and it's a done deal.   Maybe, if they have the truck in stock with at least some of the options you want and at a decent price.  But with very low dealer inventories, I think a buyer would be more than willing (and less brand loyal) to visit the #2 and #3 dealers if they have in stock what you want at a decent price instead of waiting months for what you ideally want.
 
As an aside, I was just at my local Chevy dealership and spotted a 2021 3LT Corvette on the show room floor.  They want $40,000 above the MSRP!  Talk about a price gouge on an in-demand and mostly out of stock vehicle!
 
Regards,
Bill
Bill,

It’s so disappointing to see car dealers gouging their customers. Car dealers are the first to claim they need protection from startups that are selling direct to customers. They claim they’re the ones who provide the best prices since they have to compete against each other. But they take the first chance they get to jack up prices.

John McElroy
9-15-2021


Bonjour Jean,
    I've been following the European auto industry & their figures are out of this world.
    Their EVs are going to replace petrol/diesel vehicles sales in 24 months.- yes that soon!
    Sadly there are no US auto industry vehicles in their figures.
    Bad news for Germany, - they used to be the world's #1 leader in technological vehicles (BMW, VW, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, etc.), but now other European countries are passing them- (Norway, Sweden, etc.)-
   Can we open a European branch, because we have no news to cover here?
9-13-2021


I heard something about Blue gas, some stock thing, that will supposedly run in Flex Fuel vehicle, supposedly. I didn’t think much of it till I think I heard Mercedes say something about making ICE’s that will run on some type of liquid hydrogen fuel.
 
Is there something to this?
 
Is there a chance that we won’t have to live in a world without ICE?
 
Thanks
Robert
Low carbon liquid fuels could definitely extend the life of the ICE. But they will have to be available at every gas station and priced reasonably. It will take a massive investment to do this. Will the oil industry step up and do it? Possibly. But it will take a decade or two to pull it off.

John McElroy
9-13-2021


Hello John and Sean,
 
I have been following your reporting on the new Fisker Ocean and how Fisker is outsourcing the production. John, you have made a point to say how this is a different and innovative way for start ups to compete quickly.
 
Here is what I do not understand: How is this company's start up strategy different from Fisker Automotive's Karma back in 2008-2012?
 
In that company Fisker outsourced everything, from the engineering to the production. Engine from GM, battery A123, Q-Drive hybrid drive train supplied by Quantum Technologies, packaging and engineering design from temporary contract engineering staff with contract ending before series production, and actual production completed from Valmet Automotive in Finland.
 
That all sure sounds like the asset light model he is running through the media circuit now.
 
We all know how Fisker Karma ended up, maybe not just because of the outsource everything mindset, but the vehicle had plenty of issues from the get go. Its wiki article has plenty of documentation. 
 
What was the very first thing Wanxiang did when they bought Fisker and A123 out of their bankruptcies in 2014?
 
The tooling was moved from the factory in Finland to a new factory in Moreno Valley, California, USA. Wanxiang brought everything back in house: engineering, UI software, and production to try to get a quality vehicle to market. I am not saying the end result is that in the Revero, but interesting that the outsource of absolutely everything model was dropped instantly. 
 
So why the praise to Fisker now, for rehashing his failed business model again? I hope Foxconn and Magna read up on the nasty recalls and fun times Fisker had not even a decade ago, doing the exact same business and product. 
 
Rise of 3rd Party EV Manufacturing. "Foxconn and Magna have the capital. They have the reputation. We are not here to set up our own factory in the desert," says Henrik Fisker. 
(link from Michael J. Dunne's newsletter on China)
 
Keep up the great reporting! Love the show since 2013!
 
-Tyler from Columbus, Ohio
Tyler,

First off, the original Fisker was not a good car. The fit and finish was iffy and the powertrain was crude, to put it kindly. And as you point out it was engineered with temporary contract people.

While Valmet did assemble the cars that were built, don’t forget that Fisker bought the old GM plant in Newark, Delaware, so it was carrying that cost burden.

This time around Magna is doing the project management, engineering, and manufacturing. I’m sure the Ocean is going to be a much better product.

John McElroy
9-10-2021


Hello Team Autoline! I'm obsessed with your show. Phenomenal work. 
 
Curious if you have thought about doing a show that looks at Chinese EV companies like BYD that are vertically integrated (they make their own chips), and the challenge they present to domestic US automakers?
 
I think it could be a fascinating topic and there is so much to learn about what is going on in China from the standpoint of a future wave of imports that could rival Japanese brands coming to American shores in the 80s / 90s. 
 
Thank you so much! 
 
--Jonathan 
Jonathan,

Great suggestion. I’m on it!

John McElroy
9-10-2021


Dear sirs,
 
I have been following you (and also supporting you) for years now and there is not a better show about automotive news around in my opinion.



I wanted to point out you showed the wrong Renault logo on your Sept 9th episode of Autoline daily.
The correct logo can be found here.



The new logo is already present on new Renault models, such as Renault Megane E TECH



Keep up with the good job.
 
Best regards from Slovenia,
Simon Stegel
Simon,

Thanks for pointing this out. Duly noted!

John McElroy
9-10-2021


August 31, 2021



John,



You ended today’s report with,  “ join Gary and I…” 



You should have said, “ join Gary and me…”



Mr. Pearson

Fort Worth



P.S.  I love your shows and your son does an outstanding job.
9-10-2021


I enjoyed your analysis of the complexity of the new MB S-Class and I think that you touched-upon a critical issue that has been rampant across the industry for decades now. Despite the fact that *every* OEM and Tier 1 now states that "the customer is at the center of everything that we do", the feature design and decision making process can't quire reflect that - as made evident by the annoyance that you experienced with a pop-up / dialogue that appeared every time you started the car. 
 
Buttons are avoided because I don't know what they do, I can't remember (recall) how I once did something, pop-ups don't make sense, I don't realize that I am using a function the wrong way and on and on. Some of my favorites ...
• Why are there 3 or 5 levels of "Auto"?
• Why is there "MAX" anything?
• Why does the vehicle have 4-types of input (touch, voice, center controller, physical buttons, gestures, etc.)?
• Why are there 3 ways to defrost the windshield?
• Why are there Acronyms on any buttons? (LKA, LDWS, TCS OFF, etc.)
Some consumers might drive it right back to the dealership, some might return it after a week of annoyance and frustration, some might tell their friends about the silliness, and all will feel some degree of regret with their purchase and the brand. These moments matter and shape customer perception (as you know). 
 
These are topics that I write about often - while it is getting worse for some OEMs and better for others. Yet we humans remain more or less the same .
 
Kind regards.
Parrish
9-10-2021


Today I viewed the Autoline Daily that mentioned the complexity in the Mercedes S-class. My son has a new VW Atlas Cross Sport and in showing me all of the electronic goodies in the car was thinking the same things that were said in the program. It would probably take me several days of study to begin to use part of the electronic capability. Maybe it is a German thing.
 
Chuck Genrich
9-9-2021


Hi,
 
My impression is Tim Higgins was planning to write a book about Tesla going bankrupt or belly up... but Tesla did not die. So he used his notes anyway. Regardless, no need to buy his book as it provides no technical insights.
 
Bob Wilson
Tim is a business reporter, not a tech reporter. His behind the scenes look at what was and is going on at Tesla is well worth reading.
9-3-2021


bonjour Jean

Most Americans do not know that EVs can save them money/time. Save big time, by going electric. To fill most EVs is about 1/2 the cost of gas- free in some cases- yes, we need more chargers, but slowly they are being installed- about half that of gas stations- We NEED a course on electric charging stations- where to find them, etc.
Electricity is cheaper than gasoline if you charge at home. But at public charging stations, electricity can cost the same or even more than gasoline.

John McElroy
9-3-2021


John: FYI GM is now using its Kokomo facilities to store trucks because of the chip shortage. The irony is that not to long ago they build a world class FAB to produce ….chips.

E Carter
E,

You’re right, supreme irony! Thanks for sending.

John McElroy
8-25-2021


Just thought you’d be interested to know that Carmel is not pronounced like the California city with the second syllable emphasized (Car- mel’). Rather, the first syllable is emphasized. (Car’ – mel). I made this same error when I moved to the area 28 years ago. This isn’t very important. However, Car’-mel is the new location of Aptiv’s Indiana Technical Center which just happens to overlook one of the myriad of round-abouts mentioned. Carmel resides in Hamilton Count, Indiana which is a wonderful place to live and work. The traffic flow is amazing!
 
FYI, I’ve heard but can’t verify that the word round about is trademarked. The highway department must use other words such as Traffic Circle.
 
I enjoy your show. Thanks for sharing. bob
8-25-2021


Dear John
 
Please watch all the way to the end with the chart from James. I have never seen the chart before but I hope you have.
 
Ford has about 50 billion in short term debt. They will have to roll that over at a higher interest rate.  
I am very concerned with all the retirees what a shock it will be for them.  
 
How much production from Tesla CA is exported? When less is exported next year and Texas is in production, what happens to Tesla market share? It goes up!   
What is your projected volume for ICE next year?    
 
I believe it will be much smaller than this year. And 2023 will be smaller.  
 
Thanks. Look forward to your show tomorrow. 
Ronald 
Many arm chair analysts make the mistake of not separating industrial debt from finance debt. Ford and GM have in-house finance companies (Tesla does not). Ford Credit and GM Finance borrow a tremendous amount of money which they then offer to dealers to finance the cars they buy from the factory. And they offer financing to customers who want to buy or lease cars from their dealers. Both the fincos at Ford and GM make billions in profits on the money they borrow and lend.

So the analysis in this video is rather shallow and misleading. The finance debt at Ford and GM is very, very, very profitable. Others Tesla cheerleaders have made the same mistake in predicting that GM and Ford will go bankrupt because of their debt load. They are gravely mistaken.

John McElroy
8-20-2021


The electronic oil level readouts may be accurate but can cause an oil leak costing $1200 to repair.  I once had a Mercedes ML 320 which despite the electronic level sensor also had a dipstick.  A lot of good that did me!
 
I enjoy your show.
 
Craig
Houston TX
 
ps. Most modern day SUV's not based on trucks often have large exteriors and comparatively small interiors.  An interesting  comparison can be made between the first generation Mercedes ML and any of current day MB SUV's which will show how the ML had a relatively compact exterior and a commodious interior.  Succeeding models got bigger on the outside, smaller on the inside and were far better made.  I don't know if I should consider the R-classe to be a SUV or a station wagon.  I have one of these too, now with 135,000 miles.  Sadly sales in the US were halted in 2013 and the model had no comparable replacement from MB nor any other manufacturer with the exception of the Suburban based SUV's.  I'm a building contractor and the R350 has no trouble carrying a thousand pounds of tiles and maintaining a reasonable ride (rear air suspension).  A couple of years ago I drove my lightly loaded R350 without a stop from Edwards, Colorado to Amarillo, Texas (504 miles) cruising at 80 mph and at over 26mpg.  I expect its replacement will be a Cayenne which is a great drive but isn't a hauler.
Craig,

Great observation about SUVs.

Did you know that AM General build R-classes for Mercedes-Benz in Indiana and shipped them to China? The R-class never sold well in the US or Europe, but it did well in China. So when MB stopped making them it turned to AM General. MB probably didn’t want to make them in China with a Chinese partner as required by law there. It would have had to give its partner half the profits. By making them in the US and exporting them to China, MB could keep all the profits. Even though the vehicles were hit with a 25% import tax, MB just priced it higher to cover the cost. And Chinese customers bought every one.

John McElroy
8-16-2021


Thank you Sean and John for featuring the photo of Friday's mystery car - might be difficult for your US viewers but as always Autoline viewers are very good and very quick with everything you show them lots of them will seek it out.
 
It is a 1974 Enfield 8000 here are the details... it had an 8BHP electric motor - 6KW - had a top speed of 48 MPH and a range of 40 miles built in the Isle of Wight - a small island 2 miles off the coast of the south coast of England and a part of Hampshire.  
An early battery electric rechargeable car designed for city use. Later production was moved to Greece. It had industrial type lead acid batteries recharged overnight like those used in fork lift trucks and milk floats. Here in UK in 50s 60s 70s milk was daily delivered to your door in 1 pint glass bottles by battery electric milk float.

You have the best daily automotive news programme in the whole world bar none.
 
I make it a a strict rule never to miss any of your output - keep up the good work it is also greatly appreciated by those of us 3000 miles from Detroit across the Atlantic here in England 
 
Kind Regards



Richard
8-11-2021


Good day,
WOW! That Audi Skysphere is pretty Sexy! And convertible. And the wheelbase changing is pret... hey, I've seen this before. Audi took a page out of the Renault book. Remember the Morphoz concept car. Could this be the birth of Autobots. LOL!

Regards,
Mr. Dana
Toronto, ON Canada
Buckminster Fuller designed a car in the 1930s with an extendable wheelbase to improve the ride at highway speeds yet have good maneuverability in neighborhoods. But he never built it.

John McElroy
8-11-2021


John,
I got the impression that the automotive press and Ford loyalists did not like or love Jim Hackett. Looking at the roll that I perceive Ford to be on with what looks like a smart decision to exit sedans, invest in the Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, the Bronco, Maverick, and invest in Rivian, I think Jim Hackett has a darn impressive legacy keeping in mind the development cycle time in the automotive world.
What do you think?

Loyal Fan of A.L.D.,

Peter
Jim Hackett's legacy at Ford was getting the company to embrace customer centered design. This involves getting quick customer feedback very early in the design process, using simple inexpensive models (in some cases literally made from cardboard) and iterating the design quickly before committing to expensive prototypes. All of Ford's products starting with the Mach E benefited from this process and it really shows. Hackett may not have been a great leader and he had a hard time defining a clear strategy for Ford, but the customer centric design process has really benefitted the company.

John McElroy
8-11-2021


    The reason our auto industry is so far behind is because our MBAs, in the auto industry, did not look to the future, & figured China cannot  produce quality EVs, big mistake # 2.
    Our auto industry needs practical engineers, not MBAs, that do not know manufacturing.
8-6-2021


Hi John,

I agree with your comment that “Americans want instant gratification” when buying a new car. We have been trained to be that way by US auto industry and their ability to provide what we want and desire now and not in 90 days or two weeks. The reason it worked during the pandemic is that not many folks wanted to visit the dealerships and catch covid. I think what Ford strategy is missing is that Japan, Korea and China may decide not to play the game and increase their market share by having many models on the dealer lots to choose from.

BTW- You can loose market share only if you are catering to the upper class that buys to order butique marks like Ferrari, Lambo, Bentley Aston etc and were always willing to wait to get what they wanted and the profits on those cars are sky high. The average Joe is not going to wait 10 days or two weeks to get the F150 in the right color with right options. Buyers in Europe have always waited to get new cars and are fine with that process that they had for many many years. In fact in the old communist countries the wait was sometimes more then a year.   Only in America could you go to a car dealership and drive out with a new car on the same day. Now you are going to change that system?? Good luck! I say, Mr. Farley must be trying to sell snake oil to wall-street to get the stock price up! :-)….GOOD LUCK JIM

Regards,
Martin
8-2-2021


Hi Autoline.tv,
 
Couly you please help me get in touch with the Guest: Ernie Brink
 
He was in the Reviving The Rotary Episode a year back.
 
I would like to join and help Ernie take it further and make it a success. I have been looking for him and haven't yet found him.
 
I hope for positive feedback and thank you for this amazing episode.
 
Kindest Regards
Joshua
Joshua,

We forwarded your email on to Ernie and we bet he gets in contact with you.

(We have a policy of not handing out contact info about our show guests, but do forward on any correspondence that involves them.)

John McElroy
8-2-2021


Hello friends,
I am a faithful podcast listener, and love your show.
One nit I must pick, however, is the pronunciation of “Herbert Diess.”
His last name is pronounced “DEES” not “DICE.”
 
Thank you.  Danke!
 
Saludos Cordiales / Kind regards/ Freundliche Grüße
 
Jim
Thanks for the correction, we’ll try to remember to pronounce it correctly.

John McElroy
8-2-2021


As only an interested-outsider, today's discussion in-toto seemed to ignore the most "key" aspect/s of it all: the initial capital investment for any new model, the fixed manufacturing costs for a given model-year, and the greatly higher profit-margins on individual vehicles in a given model-year once those up-front capital costs have been recouped.
 
a. Unless completely discontinued, won't there always be a motivation by manufacturers of less-sales-than-expected vehicles to rely on retail (and sometimes dealer) financial incentives to increase numbers to at least get to the break-even point?
 
b. Even for successful high-volume vehicles well past break-even, with much higher per-vehicle margins, won't there always be a temptation to give back just a little thru financial incentives -- when per-vehicle gravy (and overall net income) are doing so well?
 
And while manufacture-to-order might lower the need for high-cost on-lot inventories (whose burden falls on DEALERS), won't there always still be the dual a&b issues above tending to increase motivation for "slap-together and ship" numbers -- and besides, don't manufacturer finance arms make a buncha money off financing those dealer inventories?
 
While everyone (internal & external) can applaud greater manufacturer discipline to NOT mindlessly escalate and further escalate financial incentives in "I'll see that and raise you" bids, won't a&b still prevail?
 
A further wild-card is the corporate business psychology from the WallStreet/investor/financier communities in boasting about production numbers and worldwide manufacturing totals (ala the recent decades of competition between General Motors, Toyota, VW, Renault-related, Nissan-related, Stelantis, etc.).
 
Pete
Pete,

Good observations. We’ll publish your letter in Viewer Mail so others can read it too.

Thanks,
John McElroy
7-30-2021


HELLO MR. McELROY, HOW ARE YOU, SEAN AND GARY V. DOING??       I am sorry to bother you again, but I was "forced" to write you as soon as I heard the news that former NICOLA CEO TREVOR MILTON  has been indited for fraud!!! While I don't wish to sound like I am revelling in this poor dumb bastard's ( SORRY!!! I ment "this poor gentleman's" misfortune) , I do feel that this is an appropriate and overdue action ( I know, the Justice Department can't move until a thorough investigation has been made!! ) .  I CERTAINLY am no lawyer or security's expert, and a lot of what I know about this case I have gotten from watching AUTOLINE DAILY and reading stuff on the web, but it  sure seems like the right thing to happen.  I have never understood how guys like Mr. Milton, and Steve Burns of Lordstown Motors can just walk away from the huge messes they helped to create, with millions of $$$ in their pockets, and a middle management guy like Volkswagon's Oliver Smidtt has to do real hard jail time in a Federal Prison as a fall guy and scapegoat for almost the ENTIRE DIESELGATE SCANDAL!!!  I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO HEAR ANY COMMENTS YOU MIGHT MAKE ON THIS SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT ON AUTOLINE AFTER HOURS THIS AFTERNOON!!!           CHAS, PLAINVILLE, CT.
7-30-2021


Great Show on whipping a dying horse, the ICE. You guys covered a lot of ground. I found Kyle very informative and the Bosch guy very full of himself and dismissive of BEVs
and clearly just doing a Bosch commercial. I thought your change in views on Tesla were logical and inevitable just like the BEV revolution.
NKLA is toast. They are done. Don't say the jury is still out, well maybe, but Milkinthem  will found guilty, and tell Gary not to compare Musk. Tesla actually makes more vehicles every 
year over 50% more, and they run under their own power and don't just roll down hills. 
7-28-2021


Hi John/Sean,

      Back in the 1950s and 60s my Dad went on these sporting events to get the best gas mileage in a certain class of auto, he had a lot of fun. Perhaps a show on the history or current events on this auto sport.

     In the 70s there was keeping to the “double nickels” and getting the most out of a gallon of gas due to oil crisis?

     Riding our motorbikes through the rockies where there is sparse population and even fewer gas stations my wife’s Vstar had a total range of 110 miles if not careful, like at Crater Lake National park had to top up before and after the park entrance talk about range anxiety. However there were electric plugs in the park but no gas. Perhaps a show on coping with range anxiety and how to conquer it in all types of vehicles including military where there can be a scarcity of fuel in war zones?

Keep up the good show and a variety of things all automotive.

Dave
7-28-2021


I'm sure all you guys and gals read the WSJ but I was particularly taken by this article which is the "other side of the coin" to what is typically covered regarding sales and advances in electric power trains.





-Kevin Hisel
Hello Kevin!
 
Thanks for sending the link to the WSJ article.
 
There’s no question that EVs will lead to job losses at the traditional OEMs. The UAW did a white paper on this two years ago, identifying up to 30,000 ICE jobs that will be lost in just Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
 
We did a great Autoline This Week show all about that report with the UAW’s director of research, Jeff Dokho.  
 
If the US develops a national supply chain for EVs including raw materials, maybe that will plug the jobs gap. But there’s no question that automakers and ICE suppliers are going to see a lot of jobs go away.
 
John McElroy
7-28-2021


This was an interesting discussion (AAH #564) and it is great to see progress looming in the recovery of rare earth material.
 
One of the issues that do not seem to get any visibility is on the investment that is going to be required to provide the charging capability of the electric companies. Green investment today seems to be exclusively wind and solar. As the winter storm in Texas showed us, those methods do not supply power at the same level as coal or gas.
 
There are also serious environmental issues with wind and solar. A serious and not discussed issue with solar is the land usage required to supply a sufficient level of power and it only works in daytime. Wind power works well in areas where there is a constant wind but it is a serious threat to the avion population. If the wild birds are gone we as a civilization will be gone!
 
Over 60 percent of fuel usage in North America is from commercial vehicles. These vehicles are the perfect application for hydrogen fuel and that industry is emerging with little government involvement. It will become viable because it can provide a relatively low cost solution for this segment.
 
It then begs the question, why the panic to go electric when the most viable segment of the market only represents about 40% of the usage. 
 
I am reminded of a statement by one of the nation's greatest economists, Thomas Sowell: "Throughout my college years I was a Marxist, I was a Marxist until I went to work for the government and realized that they weren't capable of accomplishing anything. That's when I became a capitalist!"           
 
Don L.
Don,
 
Good points, but maybe one correction. The Texas grid suffered because the utilities ignored warnings they had to winterize their generating plants. The state’s gas lines and coal plants froze and its wind generators stopped turning, while up here in Michigan we didn’t face those problems even though we had colder temperatures and a lot more snow. Our wind generators are designed to operate at thirty below zero.
 
As for hydrogen, take a look at the Autoline After Hours we did with Charlie Freese from GM Hydrotec.
 
You’re right, hydrogen is going to have a major role to play.
 
John McElroy
7-28-2021


HELLO MR. McELROY, HOW ARE YOU SIR???        THREE THINGS :  1) You got a letter from a guy about going back to your "After Hours" show's format of having the guest on for only the 1st half hour ;  HELL NO!!!  PLEASE!!! All of your guests are knowledgeable, have technical expertise, and some are interesting; very few are FASCINATING AND ENTERTAINING!!!  So when you DO get a SANDY MUNRO or BOB LUTZ on the show, and they want to talk,  PLEASE JUST LET EM TALK!!! EVEN IF YOU RUN OVERTIME!!! (I know, you already do!!! ) IT'S PURE GOLD WHEN YOU DO!!! ( just PLEASE, feed Mr. Lutz BEFORE THE CAMERAS ROLL!!! )  2) I don't understand why Musk would open up his Supercharger Stations to other brands when his company is having a HUGE increase in production of it's own cars and CyberTrucks coming soon from Giga Texas, unless it's to acquire more data, as you are always talking about;  3) Rivian hasn't delivered ONE NON COMMERCIAL TRUCK YET, but they need a second factory?? Maybe they could buy up Lordstown Motors for a cheap price, now that they're in so much trouble, and then since both companies use a similar hub in wheel motor, they could save money on the economy of scale, and Rivian would get that huge factory that's already built, and former Chevy laid-off workers in the area all ready to go!!!  THANK YOU MR. MAC,  CHAS, PLAINVILLE, CT.
Chas,

Great feedback. And what an intriguing idea for Rivian to buy Lordstown. I think Lordstown will probably not survive, so Rivian might be able to get it cheap.

John McElroy
7-22-2021


 Is it possible to explore the horribly unprepared emergency response services are dealing with battery fires? With this mad rush to "batterification" there isn't a comparative rush for emergency response. Morris Illinois just had  a building burn for over a full day spew highly toxic fumes from lithium batteries. They initially dumped water which just made it worse and ended up letting it burn having no viable alternatives available! Autoline just reported on a Tesla burning up. 
 Market saturation is minimal right now, what happens at 25, 50 or even 75%?  
 At what point does batteries burning for days negate their so called environmental benefits? 
 Hoping you'll deep dive into this one.
Sincerely, 
Larry
7-22-2021


I appreciated your guests emphasis and Gary's request for quantifying Built Ford Tough.
 
My fear with the Maverick has been that it is a 'head fake' design, that looks like a truck, but doesn't endure like a truck.
 
Future comparos with the Hyundai, the many reviews to come, and users feedback should test this.
 
I'm attracted to it as an oldster, though a minivan that swallows a 4x8 is still more appealing.
 
r work
7-16-2021


If I may be permitted, I'd like to vote for the more "classic" structure of Autoline After Hours that features the guest (if there is one) for roughly the first half of the show, leaving the second half for the journalists (John, Gary, and guest journalists). 



Thanks for AAH (excellent show) and thanks for allowing viewers to share their comments.



-Kevin Hisel
Kevin,

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

We’ll try to follow your suggestion. Sometimes though we get a guest who is so interesting we want to keep him/her on for the whole show.

John
7-16-2021


John;

Really enjoyed your show.  Glad you have finally gotten a vacation, but also glad you are back to work 😀 
Based on comments he made during the show, Lindsay seems to think the battery electric vehicle developments will stand still while the hydrogen vehicles greatly improve.  It's not going to happen.  There are very few applications where hydrogen would be the obvious choice from a financial perspective, which is what companies look for in a vehicle.  More complex hardware that still contains batteries and electric motors and a more complex infrastructure to support it. DA?.  I keep wondering what I am missing in this scenario.  All I can think of is that the oil and gas people believe the hydrogen will come from energy produced from oil and gas instead of using "green hydrogen".  What are some of your thoughts on this; just for personal consumption?   Irvin
Irvin,

Excellent points. We'll publish this so others can read it too.

I think Charlie Freese stated it well. Vehicles that run on gasoline will go battery electric. Vehicles that run on diesel will go fuel cell.

BEVS are clearly ahead of FCEVS from a development, cost and infrastructure standpoint at this point. And both will make significant improvements in the next decade. Which one offers the best TCO and convenience for customers will differ by region, duty cycle and market segment.

John McElroy
Thanks for sending this. We’ve got a piece about it running in today’s Autoline Daily.
7-14-2021


I have a newspaper article 5/26/2021 Gallatin County News, Warsaw, KY showing an estimated 4K Ford trucks, parked at the former KY Speedway, due to chip shortages. Is there any headway being made to alleviate the problem? And yes at this writing they are still there. I feel for those in the automotive business because in reality it affects us all. 



Steve
Not only is there a global chip shortage. Ford sources a lot of its chips from a Japanese company called Renesas that had a fire at its plant north of Tokyo three months ago. It’s just now getting back up to speed. The 3rd quarter will probably see the worst of the global chip shortage and it will start to get better after that. But it will not fully recover until sometime next year.
7-12-2021


Hello John!  I believe I recently heard you say that manufacturers are required to produce parts for 10 years.  Is this correct?  Can you please tell me the law that requires this?  Thanks!
Phil,

All I can tell you is that I have visited parts plants operated by automakers. Specifically, I went to a GM stamping plant years ago that only made aftermarket body parts and kept their stamping dies for 10 years. They told me that automakers had to keep making parts for 10 years after production ended for each vehicle.

John McElroy
7-12-2021


Your show 'Autoline' on PBS is interesting to a point however your recent gushing and fawning over electric vehicles is getting ridiculous and irritating.



The vast majority of people do not like electric vehicles and do not buy them.  Less than 1% of vehicles are electric yet you promote them like they are the next coming of Christ.



One convenient thing you always miss is the REAL cost of owning an electric vehicle.  Lithium batteries always wear out after numerous charging cycles.  To replace a lithium battery pack in a car now costs $8,000 - $15,000 and that does not even include labor costs.  You never inform the public of this.  I wonder how many people would buy an electric car if they knew this very important information.



In addition you never report on the numerous fires electric vehicles have due to overheating of the lithium batteries.  Many cars have simply burst into flames due to the batteries catching fire.



Maybe you should start reporting a balanced viewpoint on electric vehicles in the future (Pros and Cons) and your show will improve.




Dave
Ottawa ON  Canada
Dave,

Our “fawning” over EVs is merely our reporting of the massive change that the global auto industry is undergoing. This is the greatest change in the industry since wartime conversion in WWII. We are not going to miss out reporting on what every single automaker and supplier is doing.

As for batteries wearing out, it’s not really much of an issue. We know of EVs with hundreds of thousands of miles on them with the original batteries. Yes, some automakers had early problems with their batteries, but those have largely been resolved.

As for cost of ownership, EVs are much cheaper to operate. Electricity is much cheaper than gasoline or diesel. Moreover, EVs don’t need tuneups or oil changes. And thanks to regen braking your brake pads will last longer.

As for fires, are you aware that +100 piston engine vehicles catch fire in the US every day? They don’t make the news because it’s not that unusual. Only EV fires make the news.

John McElroy
7-12-2021


John ...We are all so soft here we will just put up with it  - the thin end of the wedge  - they will moderate your acceleration and of course  the built in telematics will keep a permanent record of every journey  and daily fines will be deducted from your credit card .
  
Keep up the good work I never miss one  - fastest information stream there is , well done 
 
Richard 
Richard,

I hate living in the future!

John McElroy
7-1-2021


John,

Just watched the interesting rare earth and base metals This Week show .

Isn't it interesting that the EPA is the reason we have no processing capabilities and its the EPA who has been demanding for the use of these materials (to solve 'climate change'). Meanwhile, through Kissenger, China dominates.
Isn't it interesting that the EPA was established by the Nixon/Kissenger administration?

Remember the Glomar Explorer, touted to be a manganese nodule collector, when it was really designed to salvage a soviet sub?

...and Trump lies ??

r work
Mining and processing ore is extremely dirty. For example, one of the by products of processing magnesium is sulfuric acid. If you put in all the environmental controls, costs go up. China has very weak environmental controls, so it has the cheapest prices and has cornered the market for many strategic materials. The key for the US is to implement clean mining and protect US producers from countries that let their environment go to hell.
7-1-2021


At the beginning of your recent show (AD 3112) you stated that a dozen more countries, as well as California, will ban the sale of ICEs between 2025 and 2035. Can you clarify what you meant by “all”. I expect you actually meant all NEW ICEs and not all ICEs including used.

Regards,
Bill
Bill,

You are correct, this refers to a ban on selling new ICE vehicles. The government is not going to out and confiscate cars that people already bought, or prevent people or companies from selling the ICEs they already own.
7-1-2021


Hello John,

In today's segment you mentioned ~ "Wisconsinites are hopping mad about Foxconn in Mount Pleasant".

Please take a look at link above. The Foxconn project has been a very big complex issue in Wisconsin and locally in Mount Pleasant.

There is a ton of things to read about this project. Mount Pleasant took over ~2,900 acres related Foxconn as a TID which displaced land/home owners who weren't happy. About. 800 acres is specifically for Foxconn which has a five mile surround perimeter. Electric and natural gas rate payers using WE Energies and American Transmission Company are paying for substantial improvements to support Foxconn/area. ATC brought in two 345KVa transmission lines and built a very large substation at Foxconn for a out $135M. WE Energies is bringing a new 24" diameter natural gas pipeline ~60 miles to the area. And Wisconsin dot along with Federal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new and replaced roads around the 2,900 acres. All this with nothing to show except for Foxconn's four buildings and a speculative little one story office building on the 2,100 acres of vacant land meant for Foxconn related industries development.

It is hard to believe Foxconn decided not to proceed with their initial plans for a flat panel display plant due to "changing market conditions". Couldn't they have anticipated the commodization and lower prices for flat panels just a few years ago before proceeding in 2017? There was some talk that large flat panel production needed a glass supplier nearby and Owens Corning would not build a plant to support Foxconn without subsidies. Maybe all the electrical power or natural gas was for Corning and now it is overbuilt?

We'll probably never know the story behind Foxconn as WEDC, Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin Republicans, Trump, the TID and Foxconn are not at all transparent. Foxconn's leader Terry Gau during the project development stepped down from leading Foxconn to run for president of Taiwan. Maybe new Foxconn leadership didn't agree with Gau's plans? What was the tieup between Gau and Trump? Hopefully someone investigates and writes a book on Foxconn someday.
7-1-2021


bonjour Jean,
Since south-east Asia control the production of batteries for EVs & the US is not even a factor , & the US/China relations are very low, & the US gov't doesn't have the incentives that China has, it is obvious that the US auto industry will never catch up.
By ignoring the fact that EV sales will eventually overtake ICE sales, without massive US government support, the US auto industry is toast.
Throughout my +40 year career of covering the auto industry I’ve heard the steady drumbeat of “experts” saying the US auto industry was toast. In the 1980s it was going to lose everything to the Japanese. In the 1990s it was going to lose everything to the Europeans. In the 2000s it was going to lose everything to the Koreans. Now you tell me it’s going to lose everything to the Chinese. It still hasn’t happened. So what’s the next country they’re going to lose out to?
7-1-2021


Hey John,
I don't know if it's Ferrari or Autoline that is saying that this new V6 is their very first . (That's convenient for them to say now that Enzo and Dino are dead. I doubt neither Enzo nor Dino would appreciate it.) The potent 2.4 liter V6 in the Ferrari Dino was very successful. I know that it was not called a Ferrari at first, but you can't find an owner today that doesn't have the Ferrari logo on their machine. Enzo Ferrari then turned around and used that engine very successfully in their formula 1 car. And though Enzo Ferrari was reluctant to allow them to use the engine eventually he gave approval and it was used in the Lancia Stratos. It was arguably the most potent rally car ever built!
I hope you make this correction for those of us who absolutely love the Dino. Other than my 1967 275 GTB the Dino was one of the prettiest Ferraris ever designed!

Thanks for your great show.

Reed
Reed,

Yes, Ferrari itself says the 296 GTB is its first road car with a V6.

John McElroy
7-1-2021


John, Sean,

As advocates for the auto industry, you have the Cobalt source story badly wrong .

Cobalt is mined in conjunction with copper in the giant copper belt mines in southern Congo near the Zambia border - the mines are clearly visible on Google Earth and use modern processing methods with skilled labour. The mines are owned by the government and Glencore.

Due to the large quantities purchased, chain of custody is very easy - by the train load.

The copper is less than 1% of the mined material, and cobalt even less.

There are very small mines operated by villages and families with no labour standards using family members (children). No doubt this material is on-sold by middlemen (women very unlikely) to Chinese processors who use it for a variety of electronics. You surely own electronic and other stuff with cobalt and copper mined by children in the Congo, but it won't be in BEV batteries.

VW has recognised that only a small percentage of people are employed in the giant mines. It is working with the government, mining experts, NGOs, etc, to bring these community/family owned mines upto scratch from an environmental, labour standards, community benefits and national economic development standards perspective so that it can approve the community/family owned mines to sell into its supply chain at world market prices.

While still some years away, expect to see VW advertisements saying it is working with communities, families and government in the Congo to ensure the material mined by these communities meets the full suite of western standards and is being bought by its supply chain at world market prices. That it no longer just buys from the giant government and Glencore mines.

You could flick this email to your VW North American contacts and ask for comment. While they will have to check with HQ in Germany, they should be able to come back with a statement to this effect.

Regards
Peter
Peter,

Thanks for your letter. We’re going to publish it so others can read it too.

Best,

John

06-25-2021



This is just thinking material for John and Gary. You've both read the Ward's report on the looming BEV "profit desert", which John has been predicting for at least a year now. My question is, will the BEV "profit desert' be immediately followed by an ICE "profit desert"? Will OEMs drain their reserves to desperately move unwanted electric vehicles via incentives, only for the fickle public to suddenly flip - leaving the OEMs desperately incentivizing ICE? Is a profit double whammy looming?

Thanks for reading,

Scott from Asheville
Scott,

You could be right. There could be a double whammy.

But EVs will cause a profit desert right now, while ICEs may not face that situation for another decade.

John McElroy

06-25-2021



Hi

I was initially concerned about Tesla dropping Radar. While working at the GMPG, I was assigned to develop hardware and software to track a vehicle using an early day 4 bit MCU and we won over a backup solution because of accuracy. This is one of the reasons I liked the radar. Hearing this has given me more confidence in the "Pure Vision" approach . Any thoughts?

Take Care, Frank
Frank,

Tesla is making impressive progress with its vision system. Hopefully it will be successful for full L4 autonomy.

I skimmed through Andrej Karpathy’s presentation on it. I didn’t see him mention anything about darkness, heavy rain, fog or snow. Other AV experts tell me that’s why they want radar and lidar in addition to cameras.

BTW, the cost of lidar is falling fast. Velodyne says it can equip a car with a lidar unit at each corner of a car for under $500 total. If that’s the price they’re talking about publicly, then the real price that OEMs are paying is well under that.

John

06-25-2021



HELLO AGAIN MR. McELROY, HOW ARE YOU?? THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR READING MY LETTER TO YOU, TAKING THE TIME AND TROUBLE TO REPLY, AND PUBLISHING MY LETTER ON YOU SITE; I FEEL HONORED AND PRIVILEGED, HONESTLY!!! I THINK YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE, EXPERIENCED, AND INTERESTING AUTOMOTIVE JOURNALIST'S AROUND SINCE DAVID E. DAVIS PASSED AWAY. AND YES, YOU MADE AN EXCELLENT POINT ABOUT HOW TOYOTA DOMINATED IN SALES HERE IN THE USA IN SPITE OF THEIR FRONT END STYLING, BUT I FEEL THAT'S PRETTY MUCH THE SAME REASON WHY THEY'VE ALWAYS DONE WELL SINCE LAST CENTURY, WHEN THEIR CARS HAD NO STYLE AND THEY WERE CALLED "REFRIGERATORS" BECAUSE THEY WERE BOXY, BORING TO LOOK AT AND DRIVE, BUT WERE AS RELIABLE AS YOUR FRIGADAIRE; THEY'RE STILL DEAD BALLS RELIABLE, SAFE AND FUEL EFFICIENT, AND HOLD THEIR RESALE VALUE TODAY. BUT HOW MANY TUNDRAS DID THEY SELL LAST MONTH?? NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY DO WITH CAR SALES, AND TACOMA MID SIZE TRUCK SALES, THEY JUST CAN'T SEEM TO FIGURE OUT THE FULL SIZE TRUCK MARKET, WHICH MEANS THEY'RE LOSING MILLIONS, AND THE NEW ONE PROBABLY WON'T DO MORE THAN 10-20% MORE THAN THE OLD ONE, A MERE PITTANCE COMPARED TO THE "DETROIT THREE"!!! THE FIRST THING I'D DO IS TAKE OFF THE TOYOTA NAME FROM THE FRONT GRILL AND TAILGATE, AND JUST PRINT "TUNDRA" THERE, I THINK THEY'D SELL MORE!!! THANK YOU MR.MAC, HAVE A GOOD DAY!!! CHAS, PLAINVILLE, CT. OH!! P.S. : THE RECENT POWER SHORTAGES IN TEXAS LAST WINTER, AND THE WESTERN STATES THIS MONTH PROVE THAT PRES. BIDEN IS CRAZY TO PUSH FOR MORE CLEAN ELECTRIC VEHICLES NOW BEFORE THE ELECTRICAL GRID IS BEEFED UP!!! HE'S GOTTA PUT THE EGG FIRST BEFORE THE CHICKENS HATCH!!! OR THEY'LL BE A DISASTER WHEN ALL THE LIGHTNING, CYBERTRUCKS, RIVIANS, AMAZON, UPS, AND FEDEX TRUCKS PLUG IN AT THE SAME TIME!!!
6-23-2021


This program was VERY MISLEADING. To declare that BEV’s are cleaner than ICE’s is simply WRONG. Unless you count the ENTIRE ecosystem of a car you don’t get a realistic understanding of CO2 impact. You must count the mining of the minerals, the creation of the batteries and the recycling 
of BEV’s before you compare it to ICE cars! The last I heard a BEV must be run 100,000 miles before the BEV matches the ICE.
6-21-2021


Interesting comments from GM about their plans to boost inventory. If my local Cadillac/GMC dealer is any indication they have a long road ahead. Currently, the dealer has zero new GMC vehicles on their lot and the only new Cadillacs are in the showroom. The only autos on the lot are used and there are not very many of them. I have noted similar situations at virtually all of the dealer in town.
 
Chuck
6-21-2021


JOHN, In Columbus. Ohio Kia Dealership's offer 1 free oil change on purchase of new car. They insist on you, not following owners manual of every 7,500 miles or 1 year and want to change it every 3,000 or 6 months... Interestingly when I asked what brand and type of oil they use: reluctantly, he said "they didn't know"... I talked with the service manager and asked if he could show me the bulk oil barrel, being used, he refused.... I researched online and the factory fill is "Total" motor oil for Kia and Hyundai; a insider from a Kia Service Department; stated Kia does send Total Oil for a certain model with special known engine problems... I called around to 4 kia Dealership's in Columbus, they all refused to tell me what engine oil they used... !! The bulk oil being used may not even be Synthetic, let alone fully Synthetic and they are charging as if it is... !! Now on other hand Nissan is very good about service and all reasonably priced Services popped up $ amounts, on a monitor in the waiting room... Nissan's factory fill is Mobil 1 fully Synthetic and that is what they use at the Dealership... !! 
6-21-2021


Hi.
 
VDL Nedcar's contract to build BMW X1's and Mini's in their factory in Born, Netherlands, is ending in 2023. 
So for some time now they are looking for new partners.
Dutch financial newspaper FD just announced that they have found one... Canoo from California.  
Canoo wants VDL Nedcar to build their minivans. Canoo is building a factory in Oklahoma but in the meantime they want to start up production as soon as possible. Second, they see 'Born' as a way to expand in Europe. 
As a start they want to have 1000 minivans built by the end of next year (in a temporary location before the factory becomes available; in 2023 - 15000 minivans). Canoo has the intention to use capacity from VDL's factory at least till 2028. 
It is estimated that VDL Nedcar has to produce between 120000 and 150000 cars a year to be profitable. So they keep on looking for other partners. Lightyear perhaps? Start building batteries? All options are open.
 
I love your show.
 
Greetings,
Petro
Petro,

Excellent feedback, thanks for sending. We really appreciate when our viewers help us figure out what’s going on in the auto industry!

John McElroy
6-21-2021


Bonjour Jean,
China's EVs will be popular because they are reasonably priced. Our EVs are very expensive, starting at around $40,000. Even with the gov't subsidy, it's out of the range of most Americans. If we want to sell EVs, we must lower prices.
Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at $32,000. That’s $8,000 below the cost of the average ICE car. Nissan Leaf is $24,000 with federal tax credit.

BTW, you can buy a used Bolt with only 28,000 miles on it for about $15,000. They still don’t sell in large numbers.
6-21-2021


HELLO MR. McELROY HOW ARE YOU SIR???    Have you seen the "official" photos of the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD pickup???  The front end styling can only be described, in my opinion, in one lousy word : YUK!!! make that two words : DOUBLE YUK!!!  What's with these guys???  The Camry's front end is yuk-ee, so's the Avalon's, the Supra's is sad looking, and I don't know where to start to explain the Lexus corporate "Raptor" grill!!!  Since the Tundra is made and I think designed in Texas, strictly for North American consumption, you'd think the designers would study their "Big Three" competitor's trucks, and try to do something nicer, like the Ram, which outsells the Tundra by HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, but no, they gotta march to their own drummer. Do you think this new design will help them gain significant ground on the "Big Three"???  I DO NOT!!!    Oh, and have you officially placed Lordstown Motors on the critical list??? And is this another case of General Motors doing their " due diligence" like they did with Nicola???  I feel bad for all the laid -off former gm employees in Lordstown Ohio that were pinning their hopes on getting work with this company; and WOW!!! if I had any money to invest in the stock market (I don't, I'm POOR!! ) I'd sure as hell want Hindenburg Research managing it for me!!!   THANK YOU FOR READING THIS MR. MAC, HAVE A GOOD WEEK!!!     CHAS, PLAINVILLE, CT.
Chas,

I’m not a fan of Toyota’s styling either. But Toyota knows what its customers want. Last month it outsold every other automaker in the American market.

John McElroy
6-16-2021


Hello,
 
I love love love your show.
I just watched your Autoline Daily today and learned about a Lamborghini replica made out of Lego pieces.
It reminds me of a tv show I watched several months ago about a cardboard company in Japan that has a full size Lamborghini purely made with just cardboard.
And it is called Damborghini!!
“Danbo-ru” in Japanese means cardboard…
 
There is an amazing story behind the build of this Damborghini, but I will leave them on their website.

Not sure if you have ever shown or mentioned this in your show but thought it would be interesting for your show.
 
A big fan of your show.
B.Kee Lim
Thanks for sending this! It’s extremely creative and clever.

We’ll look into covering this on Autoline Daily.

John McElroy
6-16-2021


An article in the Business Section of the 6-3 Freep described the hiring of one Caroline Morales for a newly-created position as 'Director of Stakeholder Advocacy.'  It went on to say that she'd be based in Washington and responsible for "....helping us become more intentional about showing our values to the world (Mark Truby)."
 
What's your view of such a role - such work - in this brave, new world, John?
 
Function.......or frippery?
 
Best,
 

Mike
One of the biggest issues that Wall Street and Washington are paying attention to right now is a corporation’s ESG policies: environmental, social and governance. I think Ford is smart to hire a person like this and put her in Washington. The company already has plenty of people communicating about financial and political issues, it sounds like Caroline will be promoting ESG issues.
6-16-2021


In 1975 in the USA if you bought a new car it was very very likely it had a catalytic converter. The year before no cats. Cars with cats in general had poorer performance and fuel economy than older cars, but the Government said tough, this is what you have to buy if you want a new car.
 
Today as buyers we have a choice of ICE or some form of electric propulsion. Many have said that we will have a choice for a long time.
 
I don't believe it. I think a Federal Gov mandate outlawing the manufacture of new light duty vehicles with ICEs is coming much sooner than people think.
 
I figure the date will be sometime between 2030 and 2035, and the announcement that the change is coming will happen in the next 5 years.
 
What do you think John?
 
Tom      New Orleans
Tom,

It’s possible that you’re right. The government could ban ICEs in the time frame you suggest. I think this will be more likely in Europe and maybe China. But I still think that EV adoption will come slower than most politicians think.

John McElroy
6-16-2021


15 years ago, heated only seats made me nauseous.
I would think heat plus ventilation would/is more friendly to the body.
 
Ventilated/cooled sounds wonderful though I haven't experienced it.
 
On the ZF 9 speed, when I rented a Caravan several years ago, I was impressed with the remarkable fuel economy along with torque applied effectively.  I'm glad to hear of the programming improvements on it.
 
r work
6-16-2021


John
 
What about the EL CAMENO,  RANCHERO?
The Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero were 2-doors. And 2-doors just sell abysmally, no matter what segment they’re in.
6-16-2021


Lordstown has built 50 times the amount of full size electric pickups than Ford has. They have 5 star crash ratings. They have zero debt and $580mm cash on hand. They own the 3rd highest producing vehicle manufacturing plant in the country. They will get the loan and it will prove to everyone that you don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about.
Let's go through each of your points since I do know what I'm talking about:

Lordstown has not built one production truck for sale, only a few prototypes.

NHTSA has not rated the crash worthiness of the Endurance, much less give it 5 stars. Lordstown only claimed that it passed some of the crash tests.

Lordstown has net cash of $327.3 million and is burning through $125 million a quarter. He's a quote from this weeks SEC filing: "The Company had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $587.0 million and an accumulated deficit of $259.7 million at March 31, 2021 and a net loss of $125.2 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2021."

A massive manufacturing facility is not an asset for a low-volume startup.

Check out what Lordstown had to post this week:
"The Company believes that its current level of cash and cash equivalents are not
sufficient to fund commercial scale production and the launch of sale of such vehicles. These conditions raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of at least one year from the date of issuance of these unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements."

Lordstown is not going to be able to raise enough money to survive.
6-16-2021


John;  Just had to email you about the sub $40K comment about Tesla.  Even after a couple of recent price increases the present model 3 is $39,990.   Irvin
Irvin,

And after you add $1,200 in destination and document fees that Model 3 costs $41,190.

John
6-9-2021


You should know I’m a male in my late 70’s. I would not purchase a vehicle without visiting a dealership. I want to know the way the dealership responds to a customer. How does the dealership react to me when we’re shopping for a replacement auto? I can tell by the overall response to me when I express what I’m shopping for. Model type, approximate price range of a vehicle I’m shopping for. How does the vehicle “smell”? How does it drive and are the options what I’m expecting on my new purchase? I buy late model used vehicles and I want to feel how the vehicle responds to my driving inputs. A computer isn’t going to give me the answers to any of those questions. I bought a late model Hyundai Sante Fe Sport. I visited a Mitsubishi dealership thinking I wanted a Mitsubishi SUV, but found the Mitsubishi to feel rough and unfinished when I drove it. I had been driving a Buick LeSabre and liked the “feel” of the Buick. The Hyundai felt very similar to the Buick to me. Had I just shopped on-line and made a purchase I would have been disappointed. Another requisite was a vehicle that was easier to enter and exit. The Buick was too low to do either. The Hyundai was just right. My wife and I have been very pleased with our purchase and the dealer is always very willing to help us when we need service if only to answer a question about our Hyundai.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
Jim,

Great feedback, and it shows that dealers are not going away any time soon. We’ll run your letter in Viewer Mail so others can read it too.

John McElroy
6-9-2021


Hi John,



I’m a huge fan of your show and listen to all the after hour podcasts from Portage Michigan.  I retired from Ford after 37 years in 2018 and can’t wait to receive my Mustang Mach/E GT.



I was wondering with all the car companies planning for their huge 2030 EV targets that don’t seem reasonable that you discussed on your May 20th podcast along with so many new EV manufacturers in the market, when does the Autoline After Hours brain trust think of when there will be a reckoning and industry consolidation?



We seem to be at the peak of inflated expectations for the cycle of technological change and still have to get through the other phases to get to the plateau of productivity.



It seems like 3-5 years from my perspective but I would like to hear what others think.



Thanks,



Kevin
Kevin,

Back in the early 1980’s all the experts were certain there would only be 6 car companies left in the world by the year 2000. They expected only two would survive in the US, two in Europe and two in Japan.

And ever since the year 2000 the experts have predicted there would be tremendous consolidation amongst automakers. Instead, there’s been very little. First FCA which morphed into Stellantis. And Toyota took some modest equity positions in Mazda and Subaru. Not much else.

But there’s been an explosion of car companies in China, and a slew of new EV startups there and in the US.

I think we’ll see most of the startups fail, and possibly a couple of traditional OEMs. The Chinese won’t close down failing car companies because they see them as job creators.

Bottom line: we will continue to see too many car companies with too many brands making too many cars. The only ones that will make money are those who have brands that can charge a premium. Everyone else will be caught in a money-losing cost race to the bottom.

John McElroy
6-1-2021


HELLO MR. McELROY, HOW ARE YOU GARY, AND SEAN???   VERY GOOD SHOW WITH THE JEEP "GUY" MR. ALLEN!!!  I am not an off-roader  kind of guy myself, but I did drive one in my youth when I was a Volunteer Fire Fighter in Farmington ( NOT MICHIGAN!! ) Connecticut 40 years ago fighting brush fires ( ours was a long wheelbase CJ-6 with a Buick V-6!!! ), and I always am impressed and sometimes SHOCKED with what they come up with for MOAB CONCEPTS!!!  A couple comments :  I LOVED THE MAGNETO CONCEPT!!! 5 feet a minute??  they need a better name than " creep or crawl" how about GLACIAL???  And the manual transmission mated to an electric motor was innovative and exciting!!  But did I miss you guys asking about any chance for a future production vehicle there??  OH!! And about the interest in a "Woody" version of the new Wagoneer ;  how about an "OVER 60 BOOMERS EDITION" that would come with  a) Genuine Simulated Wood Vinyl Siding  b) 14 inch, bias-ply Goodyear Polyglass Tires on steel rims ( baby moon hubcaps a dealer installed option)  c) an eight-track player mounted underneath an AM radio, with a fender mounted mast antenna with a little Smiley Face ball on top!!! ( And a PEACE SIGN DECAL IN THE REAR WINDOW!!!)  BOY, I GUESS IT'S A GOOD THING I AIN'T RUNN'IN JEEP!!!   THANK YOU FOR READING THIS, MR. MAC, AND MAY YOU , GARY, SEAN AND ALL YOUR FAMILYS HAVE A GREAT MEMORIAL HOLIDAY ( LEAST WE FORGET!!!).        CHAS, PLAINVILLE, CT.
Chas,

Great email, thanks for sending, you brightened up our day!


John McElroy
6-1-2021


John
Show today was very interesting and entertaining.  Mark is a great guest and a ‘true believer’.  Throughly enjoyed it can’t wait to see the Grand Cherokee personally.
Regards
Chuck
Chuck,

Totally agree, Mark Allen is a great guy to talk to and one of the best in the business. What he's done with Jeep will be studied for years. After the show ends most guests hang up. Mark actually stayed online and we talked almost another half hour!

John
6-1-2021


Hi John/Sean,
 
My wife is getting ready, in a couple of months, to come out of her Infiniti QX30 lease and transition into the all-new QX55.  But she just noticed something peculiar this evening as she was browsing the features.  It doesn’t seem to come with a CD player – not even in the highest (Bose audio) trim level.
 
I seem to vaguely recall it being mentioned on A.D. that CD players were beginning to disappear from vehicles in lieu of all-digital audio formats.  Can you provide any insight on that?  Have they been truly disappearing from multiple automakers line-ups?
 
Side note: I believe my 2006 Lexus LS430 was the last sedans made with a cassette deck standard (as well as multi-disk CD player). 
 
Thanks guys,

Michael
Michael,

You're right. CD players have gone the way of cassette and 8-track players. You're wife's only salvation may be to find an aftermarket CD player that runs off a USB port.
6-1-2021


Hi John,
This article made me wonder: Is there any made in America vehicle with 90% of its components made in the US?   Are there many, only a few, or none?
 
I can understand some degree of specialization and concentration of Mfg but when do the recent supply chain problems or outsourced costs change the equation such that it is more optimal to produce more components in the US?  
 
Do EU Mfg vehicles have higher EU content or are they outsourcing as many components/jobs as the US? 

Dave
The Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and F-150 have very high levels of domestic content, but I don’t have the actual percentage.

I think we’re going to see a realignment of supply chains to make them more regional, both to avoid disruptions a la chip shortage, Suez blockage, winter storms and earthquakes…and because of the huge carbon footprint of global supply chains.

The Biden Admin is doing a strategic review of supply chains for critical components and materials and will release that report on June 6. That will likely lead to policies that will put incentives in place for more on-shoring.
6-1-2021


Just catching up on your past programs, & the idea of sending road condition data between cars came up.  It occurs to me this could be problematic if police or insurance companies can use it & determine you were going faster than what they think conditions warranted...
Too late. If you have a phone in your car it’s already easy to track how fast your car is travelling.
5-28-2021


So i"m about to buy an EV, and I now live in a suburb with a driveway. 
Charging isn't an issue.



BUT I've lived in apartments and older urban neighbor hoods with no 
driveways. You park on the street and where ever you can find a spot.



Between the road and the house is a public sidewalk, and if you can't 
park in front of your own house...



How are these situations going to be addressed? They'll need to be if 
the elec vehicle is to become common place.



Perhaps you could do a show or bring on some folks to address these 
issues and what the costs will be  - and would a city do it (like 
parking meters only for charging) or each home owner?



Love the show!



Chris
Chris,

Thanks for your letter. We’ll publish it in viewer mail.

We did talk about this on Autoline After Hours last week, and we’ve been covering the battery-swapping move in China to overcome charging problems for people who live in apartments.

John McElroy
5-28-2021


The prediction was that nobody would want an EV for long distance travel. I disagree because I think hotels will quickly replace "bed and breakfast" with "room and a recharge". Combined with 500 to 600 mile range Teslas, Lucids, and increasingly the mass-market EVS, visiting an enroute charger during interstate EV travel will be for losers.
 
Hotel chains aren't dummies. They will very quickly realize they can upcharge for rooms combined with a reserved EV 240V charger parking spot. You'll leave your house with 600+ miles range, drive a sane 8-10 hours to your destination, and wake up with another 600+ miles. And I wager this is true at the luxury end of the market well before the end of the decade.
 
Two awesome shows!
 
Scott from Asheville
5-25-2021


Hi John,
 
Something to think about:  Nobody ever talks about the cost of charging an EV outside of the home.  Besides the time it takes and the probability of locating an unused charging station, the cost of a charge, in my experience, has bordered on astronomical.  I think the charging station companies are looking for a return on investment of 15 minutes or so :).  It’s ok for 1%ers, but average Americans aren’t going to like it.  We aren’t ready for expensive EVs with limited range (anything under 600 miles in dead winter) without a battery breakthrough of some sort.
 
That said, I still love my 2013 C-Max Energi PHEV.  ICE and today’s tech battery/hybrid platform work for me.
 
Have a great day,
Ken
Ken,
 
You’re right, public charging rates are considerably higher than what you’ll pay at home. We did touch on the topic on last week’s Autoline After Hours.
 
Best,
John McElroy
5-25-2021


Hello Autoline,
 
Some time ago I wrote regarding bringing Mike Sweers onto the show, maybe Autoline afterhours, it would be awesome to debunk a lot of the rumors regarding the new 2022 Tundra. You recently had Jack Hollis on, which was great, but I watch your show daily and there has been no coverage on the new Tundra…
 
Thanks  Eric.. Autofan fan!
Toyota has not yet officially unveiled the 2022 Tundra and is not going to release any details on it until then. I’m sure we’ll get Mike Sweers back on the show once he can publicly talk about the truck.

John McElroy
5-25-2021


Ford can write down a good chunk of the F 150- lighting development cost with the millions of dollars in free positive marketing they have received. A page right out of Tesla’s play book. ~ John K
5-14-2021


Good morning. My friend with the Dodge Ram  has given up and is trading it in for a 21 Chevy 1500 with the 3.0 Duramax. Too many unresolvable computer issues. I found a review on the 3.0 L . There's 3 reasons to go diesel. Torque, efficiency and durability. So 480 ft lbs of torque @ 1500 rpm. Nice! Over 30 mpg. Sweet! Then I get to the encased belt that drives the fuel pump and needs replacing every 150,000 miles. Huh? And you need to drop the transmission and transfer case. I'm sure GM has their reasons but wasn't there another way? It's like watching a 99 yard kickoff return and seeing  the ball fumbled at the one yard line. My friend never keeps his trucks that long so it'll be some else's problem .
 
Still waiting for my Sasquatch. Have a Great day.
5-14-2021


Hey there Autoline crew. I had a serious thought cross my mind today that I would love to hear your opinions on. Every year FCA (now of course Stalantis) ranks on the bottom of quality rating charts or almost on the bottom for their build quality and long term reliability. This has been going on for a while now and yet they don’t seem to bother improving much.


My question is, at what point does word of mouth about these vehicles become so terrible that sales fall off a cliff?  That seems like it will be the only thing to make them get serious about vehicle quality. 



Thanks everyone. Really enjoy what you do
Quality surveys are all over the map. Rarely do the JD Power surveys match up with Consumer Reports, for example. They have different methodologies and a different universe of people surveyed. CR for example relies on subscribers to voluntarily fill out its survey, which may not be statistically valid. Also, you often see big swings from year to year rankings with both surveys, which is odd because the universe of cars doesn’t change that much every year. But maybe big changes helps sell more surveys.

There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between quality rankings and sales, either. The Toyota Prius is ranked very highly by CR, the Jeep Wrangler much lower. But sales of the Prius have dropped dramatically while the Wrangler is a perennial best seller.

You also need to take into correlation how these surveys rank vehicles by quality, and the weighting they give to “defects.” Today’s surveys put far more emphasis and weighting on connectivity and the user interface. For example, a car that takes more steps to sync up a phone is ranked lower than one that syncs easier. A phone that takes longer to sync probably only bothers an owner the first time they sync it. After that they never think about it again.

In the latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey, the average quality rating is 121 defects per 100 vehicles. Or to put it another way, the average vehicle has 1.21 defects (divide total defects by 100). Ram is rated at 123, Dodge 125, Jeep 141 and Chrysler 166. That’s per 100 vehicles. That means on an individual basis a Ram truck has 0.02 defects more than average, Dodge is 0.04, Jeep 0.20 and Chrysler 0.41. Is that really significant to car buyers?

Counting “things gone wrong,” as JD Power and CR do, is just one way to measure vehicle quality and customer satisfaction. Another way is to measure “things gone right.” Clearly Stellantis does a pretty good job in that area because otherwise it would not sell as many vehicles as it does. Ram owners love their pickups, Jeep owners love their Wranglers, Dodge owners love their Challengers, etc.

Quality surveys get outsize media attention. They are worth paying attention to, but automakers have to be careful that they don’t get caught up in “statistical noise” that is not significant or meaningful. And consumers really should know how these surveys are conducted, what is counted and how its weighted. But good luck trying to get that info out of Consumer Reports or JD Power. They have never divulged in detail how they conduct their surveys.

John McElroy
5-14-2021


John,
 
Years ago there was a TWIGHTLIGHT television program that featured a battery the size of a briefcase that contained frozen hydrogen and provided an inexhaustible amount of electricity. That program and the electrical source has stuck in my memory as no other program has. I’m still awaiting the day this technology is discovered and offered to the public world-wide for a power source.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
5-14-2021


Hi John and Gary,



great show, good discussion on EV infrastracture. I am not a civil or structural engineer, but the other day I was driving into a parking garage and started to think if all the cars inside the garage were EVs would the parking garage structure hold up? After all we are talking about  six to eight thousand pounds vehicles if they are all EVs. Are garages build in the sixties able to handle the weight increases or will we need to update them? Maybe you can get a show going by getting some civil or structural engineers on the show to cover this topic.



Kind regards,

Martin
Martin,

Don’t worry about the extra weight of EVs in parking structures. A Mustang Mach E weighs about 4,400 pounds. A Ford Explorer weighs about the same. A Chevrolet Bolt EV weighs 3,500 pounds. A Honda Accord weighs 3, 400. It’s not an issue.
5-7-2021


Bonjour Jean,
   Now that EVs are just around the corner, consumers are going to wait, rather than buying ICE vehicles, to see if true, but all the signs indicate, yes.
   We have to produce more EVs.
Well, people are not waiting for EVs. Look at the April sales figures. + 18 million SAAR. Almost a record. Far better than anyone expected. Yet, EV sales went down and they lost market share.
5-7-2021


Hello, 
 
I have been discussing with my dad what we think can fill the void in future plans for new cars 10000 to 30000. This is the void John McElroy keeps mentioning in autoline after hours. I think there are plenty of potential futures but I have a preferred one that I think a discussion could be had about. 
 
My vision is a world of compressed cargo e-bikes like the Tern HSD as the "second cars" and a shift toward having households having only one utilitarian focused high charge rate ev. If this is where private ownership is headed, I think it makes sense for companies to see opportunities to design modular body on frame manufacturing. Maybe like a ranger sized chassis where the cab is standardized but the "bed" can be bolted on and substituted with any number of attachments ie. Van compartment camper, etc. This bolt on attachment feature would be great for an extremely important reason, it would allow seasonal renting of these attachments where the dealer could be the renter and there becomes a more consistent revenue stream that could look a lot like service plans do today. Also, the main battery pack of the chassis could be smaller since these bolt on attachments could allow for long range attachments could have "range extending attachment in them." this could also create an ecosystem effect like tesla has which could give stability to the company. With the smaller battery pack, the utility vehicle could be offered a low cost at volume. This all sounds a lot like Canoo but I do hope it becomes a modular design to enable single car ownership. 
 
Thanks for reading my ideas, 
Marty 
Marty,

Thanks for sending your ideas, we appreciate hearing from our viewers.

We’ll publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy
4-30-2021


Howdy autoline team,
 
Really enjoyed this week's programming, and I wanted to get your thoughts on something.  
 
On Thursday I saw the comments on the Biden administration possibly banning the internal combustion engine. In the United States, we have a tendency of making heavy-handed and somewhat obtuse regulatory laws around the automotive industry. For example, rather than stating a car's headlights must not interfere with oncoming traffic, we say the headlights must be DOT approved, same goes with side view mirrors, and so on. I'm sure you all are quite familiar with this.
 
I feel like history is repeating itself before our eyes. What is the actual goal of banning the internal combustion engine? It's to reduce carbon output in relation to greenhouse gases. Is putting a blanket ban on the internal combustion engine the best way to get there? I would wager that as technology currently stands that a small hybrid car has a less overall carbon impact than a large BEV, but the car buying public has no way of comparing this.
 
What about some kind of life cycle carbon rating? something that could be displayed on the monroney sticker. Call "lifetime" 15 years and 150,000 miles including production and disposal of the vehicle. Set carbon ljife cycle production goals that slowly decrease over time, similar to Cafe standards. I believe this would also drive innovation within the EV segment as well. I bet with low carbon fuels and manufacturing vehicles to be better recycled, the internal combustion engine is a lot greener than we actually think it is. 
 
To me, it just feels like history is repeating itself with another headlight or mirror law that will stifle future innovation and not actually achieve the goal that it sets out too.
 
I would love to hear your thoughts.
 
Love the programming as always, thanks again.
 
Grayson
Grayson,

You’re preaching to the choir. We’ve said for years that the government should look at total life-cycle emissions, not just tailpipe emissions. And it should set a GHG reduction target for companies, without stipulating how they should achieve it. Let them use their ingenuity! That GHG reduction could come from a variety of efforts, such as more efficient manufacturing, not just more efficient cars. Who cares how they get the job done as long as they get the job done.

John McElroy
4-27-2021


Hi guys, 



Last week when discussing the Santa Cruz, you had a nice little convo about bed size, talking about how impractical the small beds on some of these pickups are.

 

I think lots of people in this market just don’t care too much about the traditional payload configuration because YOU’RE NOT GIVING ANYTHING UP OVER A SIMILAR SUV. Think about it:  most people don’t load their SUV over the “bed level” anyways — you can’t pack anything over the back seats! I’d bet that Santa Cruz has more safe payload than my Grand Cherokee.



I’m thinking the same thing about why Rivian seems to be promoting the R1T much more than the R1S — it’s a great image vehicle and it has similar usable cargo room as the SUV, especially with their automatic tonneau cover.  (Rivian posted a photo of the R1T today with 2 mountain bikes — not in the bed, but on a rack over the cab!)


Regards,



Brian
Brian,

With a CUV I can put the back seats down to fit in my mountain bike or cross country skis. I can’t do that with the Hyundai Santa Cruz or Ford Maverick, and I don’t have to put a rack on top of the cab.

John McElroy
4-27-2021


Hi John/Sean,
 
You may have heard about this already (I actually first saw this several years ago), but I figured I’d pass it along anyway. This is a paint that can actually emit light. Pretty sweet!
 
Regards,
Michael
Michael,

Cool stuff. Surprised some OEM hasn’t done a show car with it.

John
4-27-2021


I was just watching a Fox News Garage segment with Mark Ruess, who dropped a casual comment that he'd met last week with Edison Group. He described Edison Group as the CEOs of America's electric providers, and he said they were laying plans to partner with automakers for the EV revolution. Speaking only for myself, I think a spokesman for Edison Group on the topic of future EV charging support from America's electricity providers would make for a really interesting show.
 
As always, Thanks for considering!


Scott from Asheville
Scott,

Funny you should write about the Edison Institute. I already tried multiple times in this month to get one of their people on the show and they have absolutely not responded at all. Not to emails, not to phone calls.

Very strange.

John McElroy
4-27-2021


Hi John,
I just enjoyed the latest Autoline After Hours 553. Really great show. One of Autoline's better ones.
I appreciate the desire to have a clean planet, but is electrification truly that clean?
Is there any chance you and Gary can do a deep dive into the so called "green energy" case for transport please?
From getting the raw materials to disposing of the hazardous stuff ie. batteries
You made a point on the show, China promoting EV's but coal fired power plants in abundance...what is the true gain.
Not an easy subject...
Thank you & Regards
Des (Australia)
Des,

Thanks for your suggestion. Looking at the total cradle-to-cradle energy usage would be interesting.

But I’m not sure if the show is long enough to go through all of that!

Even so, we’ll look into this.

Best,
John McElroy
4-27-2021


John/Sean
 
A friend of mine has had a Tesla model 3 for a while. It does not have autopilot (which is not available in Australia due to lack of mapping information).
 
He sent me this information from his car’s computer system. Weather was fine with temperatures from low to mid 20s Celsius. The trip was on the main motorway up the east coast from Kempsey (about half way from Sydney to Brisbane) to Brisbane. Total distance around 500 kms.
 
Starting with a full tank of petrol in an ICE car the only stops would be for food, not petrol. 2 stops in the Tesla to top up the battery at a supercharger. The sped limit on the motorway is 110 kmh, which he didn’t exceed by much. The terrain is mostly countryside with the motorway bypassing towns and small cities along the way except for Coffs Harbour (bypass currently under construction). Traffic density higher from Gold Coast to Brisbane (but motorway is 4 lanes each way in that sector). Some sections of the trip are fairly undulating due to the terrain.
 
Some evidence of range anxiety or lack of superchargers in the country areas.
 
FYI.
 
Regards

Warwick
Warwick,

Thanks for sending. Interesting to see how Tesla is received in Australia.

John
4-27-2021


Bonjour Jean,
   The reason EVs are so big in China is because they are promoted by the gov't- EV chargers- all over, -incentives, rebates tax cuts, etc. sur-charges for gas vehicles etc.
   The American auto industry is going to die & the US gov't should help it by getting people into EVs- most countries are banning ICE vehicles by 2035 - only the US., Canada,  Australia, & a few more will allow ICE vehicles on their roads.
   As Bob Dylan's song goes "the times they are a changin"
4-26-2021


Why does Tesla have so many truck dock doors on their buildings? It looks like a distributor center. 
Is it for just in time delivery of parts?
Assembly plants can handle +300 delivery trucks a day for incoming parts. The more shipping docks, the faster they can be unloaded.

Even a company like Tesla that is very vertically integrated has to move parts from where they’re made to the final assembly line.
4-26-2021


Hello John.
 
My guess is that the global oil industry will not go quietly into the night and cede the transportation industry to electrons.
The oil industry has some very smart chemist and engineers working overtime developing cost effective carbon capture and sequestration technologies, plus low carbon liquid fuels.
 
I for one would find interviews with some experts in the CCS and LCF fields fascinating.
 
I remember in the early 80's it was predicted that the V8 would be gone in ten years. 
 
I am now skeptical that the demise of the ICE is just around the corner.
 
Tom     New Orleans
Tom,

There is some interesting work being done in Europe with low carbon liquid fuels. The question is how much will it cost and how quickly can it be mass produced? Right now it’s still in the R&D stage. At this point it looks like EV batteries will progress faster than these fuels.

John McElroy
4-26-2021


Hi John,
On Thursday's (April 15) "After Hours" you discussed options and accessories that auto makers will sell over the air. Do you think these options will be transferable to the next owner? Or will the options be deleted when the car is sold to a second person and the second owner have to purchase those options again?
Sincerely,
Ralph
Ralph,

Regrettably, automakers will try to squeeze every penny they can from OTA updates. If they think there’s a feature that a second or third owner truly wants and needs, they will charge for it. If it’s safety related then they’ll have to let other owners have it for free. If there’s a massive public backlash and their used cars lose residual value then they’ll back off. But they’re going to try and get every penny they can.

Best,
John McElroy
4-26-2021


Hello, just want to send this thought to you that my son has been pondering. Here goes, there is wind turbines for electric, why not use this on cars? The fans works as you drive to charge battery. Even driving slow etc. The batteries are charging. They don't have to be large either. Maybe two, one on each side of the bumper. Just an idea, what do you think?
What you're describing is a perpetual motion machine, i.e., impossible. The wind generators on a car would generate tremendous aerodynamic drag and would consume more energy than they produced.

John McElroy

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autoline.tv