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2-27-2015

Dear John McElroy,

I am currently going to school for a bachelors in Business Administration and General Management and am very interested in the automotive field as a career. I am an avid watcher of Autoline and the industry as a whole.

The reason why I am emailing you is to see if you can ask the automotive executives how they got to where they are today (career path) and what changes they would have made if they did it over again.

It would be fascinating to hear their stories and see if they have any advice for young students just getting out in the market and looking at the automotive field for a career.

Thank you for having an enjoyable show and look forward to watching for years to come.

Sincerely,
Blaid Butler
Blaid,

What a terrific suggestion. I can’t promise I will do this every time, but I’ll make a point of bringing this up when appropriate.

John McElroy
2-27-2015

Hello John,

I just got around to watching last week's Autoline After Hours with Oliver Schmidt. As we discussed after your first episode with him, having him back was a must do.

Excellent all the way around and maybe you can Skype with him later in the year once he is back in Germany. I bet his perspective after a few months at VWHQ might produce some very interesting comments.

Thanks,
John Faulkner
John,

We’re glad you enjoyed that show. We like your suggestion of Skyping Oliver in once he’s back in Germany, but we get the feeling he’ll be working on top secret projects and may not make him available.

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

Like I said in one of your previous shows, the way to the future will be fuel-cells. Norway has put in a hydrogen infrastructure, and now you hear that the Japanese companies are building their own hydrogen fueling stations. I give great credit to the automobile industry for forging ahead on their own when it comes to the age of new propulsion. Hopefully, it will be their vision and tenacity that saves our environment and planet.

Jim Thykeson
Venice, FL
2-27-2015

Hi John:

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the return of Oliver Schmidt to the AAH studio last night. He’s obviously a very knowledgeable guy who has strong opinions and a great dry sense of humour. And, as a bonus, he sticks around for the entire program. Invite him back anytime!

Regards,
Steve Read
Steve,

Oliver is one of our favorites and we’re glad you see it that way too!

McElroy
2-27-2015

Will TowerSec's software prevent Tuners from modifying a cars ECU to get more horsepower?

Ben
No. Towersecs’s software identifies software commands that are illogical or dangerous, such as unlocking the doors while driving down the highway, and prevents them from happening.

McElroy
2-27-2015

Poaching generally IS legal, you're thinking of the inverse... where companies agree not to take each others' employees, which is salary fixing; GOOG and AAPL just settled a lawsuit about that.

If poaching was illegal... people wouldn't ever get better jobs.

Noah Rogers
2-27-2015

Hi John,

I was seeing on your Autoline website many SEAT TIME. Have anybody confused this with Spanish car company Seat? It could be send a bad message. Have you ever driven a Seat before?

Marion Kershavelin
Marion,

So far no one has mentioned to us that they’ve confused our Seat Time with SEAT. But thanks for pointing that out, we hadn’t considered that!

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

I heard your comments on the radio about the amount of cash that GM has.

GM is now doing well. To be fair to the American people, why doesn't GM agree to pay back the $250 billion in debt that GM walked away from in the bankruptcy?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think GM had $250 billion in debt before the bankruptcy that it didn't pay (because of the bankruptcy). For the most part, this was money GM owed to its fellow Americans. It's nearly $1000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. GM bonds were supposed to be safe debt. It was in American's pension plans, 401Ks, etc. When GM didn't pay what it owed, Americans became poorer. The amount lost was spread around so it was difficult to see, but it was a lot and it seems it mainly came from Americans.

Essentially, everyone in the U.S. paid GM's "mortgage". For all the people in the U.S. who are poorer because of GM, and who are still paying their mortgages, shouldn't GM do what's right and voluntarily agree to pay back what it owned? GM just paid record profit sharing to the GM employees who did such a bad job that GM went bankrupt, and, as you said on the radio, GM had substantial cash on hand.

Shouldn't GM pay back what they owe to their fellow Americans?

If I have misunderstood something, I would appreciate knowing what I have misunderstood.

Jeff Dulzo
Well your numbers are off. GM’s net debt was $90 billion when it filed for Chapter 11. The US government provided $50 billion to get it back on its feet, and took GM stock in return. The government sold that stock for about $27 a share. Today it’s trading at $37. In the end the government lost $10 billion on GM and Chrysler.

Had GM been allowed to go out of business, the bill for the American tax payer in the form of unemployment checks and economic damage would have surpassed the money the government put into GM. CAR estimates the government could have lost up to $100 billion.

Nobody likes bankruptcy but Chapter 11 was written specifically to help companies restructure and get back on their feet to preserve all the jobs of those who work at the company and all those suppliers who depend on it.

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

In addition to all the TV/radio broadcast signals, Wi-Fi signals, radar speed-checking, RFID tracking, store exit security scans, cell tower signals, and traffic-light control transponders in emergency/transit vehicles in our lives, more and more vehicles are now coming with their own laser and/or radar energy perimeters -- in front, in back, and lanes on both sides.

Is ANYBODY -- SAE, FCC, DOT, NTSA, or U.S. Consumer Protection Agency -- monitoring all the vehicular-based systems and electronic emissions for the long-term safety of occupants and nearby humans/animals?

I don't wear a tinfoil hat, I don't believe the earth is flat, nor have any Martians ever taken me aboard for probing, but I'd rather learn about any new and true hazards real-time, rather than decades later when a new detrimental public health phenomenon makes itself known.

PSN
Pete,

That is a great question, and you’ve stumped us. We’ll have to look into this.

McElroy
Hi John,

Hyundai was involved in building medium trucks in the U.S. recently in a joint venture with Detroit Diesel and International. The trucks were called BERING and they were built in Front Royal, VA

Hyundai provided the cabs and interiors while Detroit Diesel supplied the engines. I think International supplied the frames. I also think there was another major manufacturer involved in the venture, but, I don't know who it is.

I would be interested to know what happened to them. They seemed to quietly disappear as quickly as they appeared.

Thanks.
jerrym3
Jerry,

Thanks so much for this report. We had not heard about Bering, or forgot all about it.

Here’s what Wikipedia says what happened: “Bering was forced to cease operations in 2001 after its sole supplier entered into a relationship with Daimler-Chrysler and terminated the Bering agreements. Litigation ensued, in an international arbitration between Bering and Hyundai, the arbitration panel found (in 2004) that Hyundai had breached its agreements with Bering in bad faith. A Federal anti-trust case filed by Bering against Hyundai and Daimler-Chrysler was settled out of court in 2006.”

McElroy
2-16-2015

Haha laugh at all the shareholders who have received maybe a 10 percent return in half a decade. Laugh at lonely Harry Wilson who wants to go to the GM board and represent, shock of shocks, shareholders--for which there are currently NONE. Nevermind that he brings 30,000 of his own personal shares as well as represents 3% of the company. Nevermind GM frittered away 700 million a year towards absurdly high interest convertible notes to the UAW --who by the way we're able to front run the so-called $4 I buy back, which no ordinary shareholder was allowed to tender. Nevermind a grand failure with Peugeot. Nevermind the grand failure in Russia. Nevermind the grand failure in Europe. Nevermind the Caddy flop. And, in the end, who's 25 billion is it sitting there on the balance sheet? Not the US government's. Obviously not any of yours.

happygolucky
2-16-2015

Hi John,

I'm in Japan and always looking forward to your latest program. I can study about latest news of American auto industries by your excellent programs. By the way, I watched Clever Loading & Unloading Solution, I remembered some kind of equipment by Japanese auto maker. And I want to introduce it to you. Please check these videos. And you will be interested in it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzyQ3BNZ95A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSBFcRbV0EE
The hidden step like a Ninja-house!

This equipment can drive without foots, only hand operation.

Ninja step and robot chair! It is suitable for person who has handi-capped legs, elderly person. And also, it is good for the person who wearing a Japanese traditional "Kimono".

Electric lifter for wheelchair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5blkYP--38
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJenSmqIts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOoB_a0UE2Y
Easy loading for wheelchair with retractable slope and electric winch.

These equipments are produced by Autech Japan Inc,. It is Nissan's subsidiary. Sorry for my poor English, but I want to introduce these good Japanese products for American people.

Regards.
Sam
2-16-2015

John,

Ramblings from the North American International auto show. It was, as always, exciting to see the auto show. Few observations our group made when walking through. It was the year of the Halo car, and the truck market is booming with terrific product. The big disappointments - BMW. For a premium brand their paint should not exhibit orange peel. They displayed some of the worst paint jobs of any manufacturer. Audi - It is the North American International Auto Show, stop displaying European only models. What can I get here? The 3D printer and manufacturing display was very cool. Putting together an electric buggy is perhaps the most significant display of manufacturing tech at this show. We saw a significant number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are on the market. More so than gas/electric hybrids. With the NSX now a reality and Volt coming into their second generation, could we see in 2017 a large sedan powered by a combination of battery and fuel cell? Imagine a full size pick up with a range of 350 miles getting 40 MPG. Or the family grocery getter getting 60 - 70 MPG. With a pump price of $3.50-$4.00/gallon that would be the next best thing in vehicle propulsion. Could home refueling be far behind? The things that make you go hmmm.

David Sprowl
2-16-2015

Hi John,

Here is a thought regarding the recent CR report on customer satisfaction with automotive repairs at dealerships vs. independents.

I would expect the satisfaction ratings to be higher for the independents, in fact, I am surprised that they were not even higher.

Why? Because dealerships are where people take their cars for a significant number of repairs they can't get completed anywhere else. The best example of this is recalls. People get upset because they have to wait for parts to come in and they have to wait for their scheduled appointment day to arrive. People want things instantaneously these days.

Independents mostly concentrate on the high volume maintenance services like oil changes, rotations, brake jobs, alignments, etc. Everyone needs this stuff and parts are plentiful. When a customer needs something more significant like an engine rebuild, a transmission rebuild or replaced, or an intermittent snafu diagnosed, they take it to the dealer. The really tough ones always end up at the dealer where they have technicians that are highly trained in that brand of product. These repairs are often fairly expensive too.

For these reasons, I am not one bit surprised at the CR survey results.

GM Veteran
A Chevy Malibu going 140 mph? Makes us think of those urban legends from years ago when somebody would claim the factory accidentally put a racing engine in their car.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Dear John:

What percentage of people really use the technology they pay for? Is it just to say that they have it? Especially in luxury automobiles when it's not just leather, craftsmanship and refinement. Are they sold an idea or is it really important to them? As always, love the show, you and the crew are top shelf.

Mike from Philly
Good question. We hear that some luxury dealerships have a person assigned to helping customers pair their phones and enter their home address in the navi because so many can’t figure it out on their own.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Recall Mania. Can we please call this what it is, a money grab pure and simple. The camel got under the tent when Toyota merrily paid its 1.2 billion dollars for a problem NASA couldn’t determine existed. But they were foreigners even better, Asian foreigners, and they didn't want to rock the boat and we're happy to take their money and Detroit could use a shot in the arm. Well now the foreign shoe is on ALL feet. This is just Bank of America 2.0

happygolucky
2-16-2015

Just watched video on Chicago Auto Show and heard it say the refreshed RDX will have a 9 speed trans. Many others are reporting that it’s only a 6 speed.

Pete Klein
You’re right, Honda says the new NSX will have a 9-speed DCT of its own design.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Say John,

I was disappointed that Chris Reed wasn't on for the full show; get him back! It was so refreshing to hear someone in a position of authority who is so enthusiastic and clearly "one of us"; a product guy not afraid to talk about future product!

BTW, re: CVTs, first production one I know of was the DAF Daffodil. I'm guessing the Europeans had hippies a few years before us. -- LOL

Cheers,

Rick Bradner
Vancouver, B.C.
Chris was terrific, wasn’t he?

And you’ve got a great memory. I’m pretty sure you’re right that DAF was the first to market with a CVT, which I believe used rubber belts!

McElroy
2-16-2015

It's mistaken to think that Apple creating an electric car is a threat to Tesla. Apple offering an EV would add to EV adoption momentum. It is likely to be far more of a threat to conventional/traditional auto manufacturers.

Yes, $1 billion per new core vehicle platform is expensive but not much of a risk when Apple holds $178 billion in cash (and growing). Also, Apple has the brand name clout, technology credibility, and financial resources to create a charging infrastructure (particularly easier to install home, multifamily, high capacity DCFC, or wireless charging infrastructure) that can overcomes refueling concerns.

Demographics could also play a significant role. Younger generations of consumers trust Apple, admire the brand, and might be more open to adopt an Apple EV.

If they are pursuing EVs, an interesting question is whether Apple will need a first failure like the Newton (predecessor to the ipod) or Lisa (predecessor to the Mac) to learn from or will they hit a home run on the first product like the iPhone.

Dave Tuttle
Also, Apple now has full access to all of Tesla’s patents just in case they need them.

McElroy
2-16-2015

This GM board hustle by an administration operative is worst news to hear today. The 'restructuring' already stripped bond holders and transferred 35% of stock to China. I have not been able to verify the ownership of the recent 16% stock sale. If they control 51%, they can hustle this cash transfer. Not only will they control GM, they'll also take US capital.

This is part of a systematic dismantling of the US.

rwork
2-11-2015

Hello,

While Cadillac's Chief Engineer for ATS and -V vehicles, Tony Roma, said there wouldn't be all-wheel-drive for current ATS and CTS vehicles; one has to wonder how long will the current ATS/CTS be in production as Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said that Cadillac's upcoming cars will be smaller and cheaper as well as commenting on how Cadillac's upcoming flagship C6 will make usage of aluminum and despite being much larger than the CTS will still weigh about the same as the CTS which means that we can possibly see a new ATS and CTS in 2-3 years featuring aluminum construction and AWD because aluminum ATS/CTS could be as much as 400lbs lighter than current cars.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
2-11-2015

John,

What are those Autonomous cars I keep hearing all about? Can you explain what they are? I think automakers might be on to something here but I am not so much sure.

Marion Kershavelin
Autonomous cars can operate by themselves without the input from a human being. There already are numerous vehicles with semi-autonomous technology. You might want to type “autonomous cars” into the search bar at www.Autoline.tv and discover all the coverage we’ve already devoted to this technology.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Hi John,

You recently offered a very cogent and diplomatic theory about the VW sales plunge. Since I am not in the car business or the car journalism business I can be a bit more blunt.

I can’t believe how many people still buy VWs as they are simply not reliable enough beyond the warranty period. VW offers a more plush interior and European handling characteristics but that cannot compensate for the massively higher repair bills over the life of the vehicle. It is easy for Motor Trend to hand them the Car of the Year award but they won’t be stuck paying the mechanic 5-6 years down the road to replace parts that would easily last 15 years on other brands.

If VW was not catering to the Diesel niche they would probably not be around at all.

Mike Vorobej
Ottawa, Canada
2-11-2015

MISSING WIFE REPORT!

A husband went to police station to report his missing wife:

Husband : I’ve lost my wife, she went shopping yesterday and has still not come home.
Sergeant : What is her height?
Husband : Oh, 5 something . . .
Sergeant : Build?
Husband : Not slim, not really fat.
Sergeant : Color of eyes?
Husband : Never noticed.
Sergeant : Color of hair?
Husband : Changes according to season.
Sergeant : What was she wearing?
Husband : Dress/suit/blue jeans -- I don’t remember exactly.
Sergeant : Did she go in a car?
Husband : yes.
Sergeant : What kind of car was it?
Husband : 2015 Corvette Stingray LT3 with the Z51 Performance Package, shark gray metallic paint, with the 6.2 liter V8 engine with Direct Injection generating 460 HP. 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, and GT bucket seats, and has a very thin scratch on the front left door.
(at this point the husband started crying...)
Sergeant : Don't worry sir. We’ll find your car.
2-11-2015

John,

It seems the media only talks around VW's problem, like the residual value.

Why would it have a residual value problem? The blog buzz is reliability!

The Vdubs are attractive to me, but the word on the street makes one shy away. Tell them to return to that 100k mile warranty, which changed Hyundai's fortunes!

r work
2-11-2015

Hi John. Whenever you give sales figures, I hope Mazda is doing well. That doesn’t seem to be the case. They are engineered well, have gotten rave reviews and they are the second least recalled brand. That fact was on your show. Do they not advertise enough? Or are the folks out there just think of them as a “small” brand that would not have a big enough network of dealers. Could you shed some light?

Bob 65Daytona
One of the greatest mysteries of the automotive industry is why Mazda doesn’t enjoy greater sales success.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Dear John,

I recently watched your Autoline Daily video on the comparison between a VW Golf Lease and a Honda Civic EX-L. I think a better comparison would be the Jetta S to the Civic LX. Right now if I get on Autotrader I’m finding the Jetta S for $16,288 and Civic LX for $17,827 within 25 miles of my house. The only problem is that the Jetta S is just a price teaser and you would have a hard time getting your hands on one.

Although, I would agree with you. It’s laughable that VW is expecting to get more money out of their refreshed Golf VII in North America. I hate to make fun of my fellow Americans but we really have been sold on the idea that more is more.

If I were VW I would fast track the new crossover concept ASAP! Plus, they need a faster refresh rate. We typically get products released in Europe about two years late.

Best Regards,
Ted Hurst

My Garage:
2006 Jetta TDI DSG
2012 Jetta Sportwagen 6MT
You may want to compare monthly lease payments and how much money is due at signing. Or you can do the same with loan payments. We think you’ll see a bigger discrepancy between the VW and Honda than you do with their MSRP’s.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Hi Autoline,

Is the reason that car makers class their Crossovers as trucks is not because they want to boost truck sales (why would Audi care) but rather that regulations and perhaps emissions/mpg limits are lower for trucks so its just a way of selling a CUV/SUV with less regulations and therefore less investment. As long as trucks get an easy pass, car makers will try and shove some of their range into the Truck segment even if marketing/price/utility are aimed at non-truck buyers.

In terms of Truck sales - does Autoline think that R&D spend will drop as fuel prices drop. In fact it would be a useful Autoline episode on what the future is for alternative fuel vehicles as fuel prices remain historically low (even if the price goes up slightly). What future is there for Hydrogen/advanced hybrid? Truck buyers will want to show off their V8 even if a TDI V4 or V6. With electric sales remaining low, where will the investment in 'pumps' come from and also alternative part suppliers to make part supplies competitive.

Stephen

PS Porsche and Williams Motorsport Research have been doing flywheel research for years. The original 918 was designed with a flywheel in the passenger space. However the big issue was reducing the size of the flywheel as it needs to be well protected as discussed. Plus it sounds like having a gas turbine under your seat like some of the weird sounds from old CVTs.

However Flywheels could be a solution for commercial buses/trains etc where their braking energy is not all needed for air-brakes.
Automakers classify some of their passenger vehicles as trucks simply because they need to boost the overall fuel efficiency of their truck fleet. Or, they don’t want these vehicles to drag down the overall fuel efficiency their passenger car fleet. These vehicles do not get a break on emissions or safety regulations.

All automakers have to meet fuel economy regulations. And those regulations get tougher every single year. So we will not see any drop in R&D spending.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Big Game game ads

Did the Nissan ad make anyone else cringe? Using Harry Chapin and showing a car crash was uncomfortable to watch. I remember when he was killed in a car crash.

BMW loses big time among those of us who support The Second Amendment, The US Constitution, Civil Rights, Freedom, and the NRA, using the guy who called us "pigs" and "in favor of murder" as their spokesman.

I didn't see the Jeep one, but yes, it's an American song. Someone needed to include the disclaimer to "Google Woody Guthrie". It was an ignorant use of the song.

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ
2-11-2015

I visited the auto show during a public day and noticed the Renegade Product Specialist (model) was discussing Renegade’s Easter Eggs. Thanks to your show I was “in the know”!

The vehicle has plenty of them including one that I found to be somewhat possibly controversial. When you open the fuel door, you are greeted by a spider saying ”Ciao baby”. This is a cute Easter Egg, however it is a constant reminder, every time you fill up the tank, that this Jeep is not American.

Signed,
Boots and Pants
B&P,

Thanks for your comments. I hadn’t see the spider before. Come to think of it, this is what they should have on the Alfa-Romeo 4C Spider!

Best,
John McElroy
1-26-2015

Dear Mr. McElroy,

We own a 2006 Toyota Sienna for which Toyota issued a recall in May 2014 to provide a temporary fix for a problem with excessive corrosion of the spare tire carrier cable. The temporary fix was to strap down the spare tire in the third seat luggage compartment which makes it impossible to fold down the third row seat and have a flat floor for transporting large items. The cargo carrying capacity was a key reason for our buying a Sienna. It is very inconvenient to say the least.

Toyota is reporting that the permanent fix is still under development. Why should a permanent fix take so long? Since the temporary fix takes care of the safety issue and now it is a customer inconvenience issue, I wonder if Toyota has put limited resources on this problem. How can I find out where the company is in its final fix process and encourage them to expedite this process?

Any answers you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Byron and Marcia Aldrich
1-26-2015

I am a millennial, and let me tell you, we DO want brand new cars.... we just can't afford them.

If Indian or Chinese cars were legal in the USA, we would buy them.

AND,

If we could buy new cars for 5-10k, with NO connectivity, we would do that also.

So while internet and battery-cars both are normal, and things which have always existed, we don't need those things if we can legally be allowed to drive something not-connected that pollutes.

Semi-related... I was pulled over once for looking at a map while driving, and the officer asked: Don't you have a phone?!? I think he was upset that I wasn't doing anything illegal.

Thank for the auto show coverage!

Noah
1-26-2015

Hi John:

There a few things I would like to see on the Volt. I should mention that I don't own a Volt but I like the technology.

First, I would like to see the batteries built into the floor as planned on the Bolt with the ability to easily swap out the batteries as Tesla is doing. Also, if the battery could be built modular, owners could add modules based on their needs. Batteries in the floor would also add cabin space that includes space for a more practical fifth seat. Since GM is planning in floor batteries for the Bolt, why hasn't the press asked GM why they don't also put batteries in the floor of the Volt? It seems GM could same money by using similar batteries in both vehicles.

Second, I would like to see fast charging battery technology used as soon as available where the battery can be charged in the time it takes to fill-up a tank of gas. This capability would reduce the need for larger batteries and wireless charging.

I personally would not buy the new electric only Bolt, because, I don't want to own a second vehicle for longer trips. If GM built a small SUV like the Volt, I would be interested in the extra space.

Lastly, I would like to comment on the Chevron emblem for Chevrolet vehicles. The block like emblem gives me a feeling that the Chevrolet brand is not of high quality. The emblem is too large and bold. As a replacement to the Chevron emblem on the front grill of the Volt, I would keep the silver background of the Chevron on the grill as a silhouette with the Volt name over the top.

Fred in Hawaii
1-26-2015

Hi John,

My understanding of the Atkinson cycle gasoline engine is that they are typically lower on torque than a conventional four stroke, which make them particularly well matched to hybrid powertrains. The electric motors instant torque make up for this shortcoming. I find it surprising to hear Toyota is planning to use an Atkinson V6 in the new Tacoma, where torque is a major selling point and contributor to the overall capabilities of a truck. Is this a cleverly veiled way of Toyota tipping their hand with plans to offer a hybrid powered pickup truck?

Love the show,
Aren
Aren,

Interesting point you make. At some point hybrid pickups will become more commonplace and you could be right that Toyota is signaling it will offer a hybrid Tacoma.

McElroy
1-26-2015

Should GM Build a Mid-Engine Corvette?

No. Chevrolet has its niche market with the front engine Corvette. The mid-engine model would only prove they could build one. Unless GM's character has really changed from the old days, they would shortchange some features and it would always be an inferior product comparatively speaking.

Jim in Yakima
1-26-2015

John,

As far as I know the Ford GT sounds like it is a limited production vehicle. The Chevy Corvette has been around for 60 years. Ford had their chance with the Thunderbird to build their perennial sports car but due to foolish marketing now it doesn't exist.

Don Bronn
1-26-2015

John, Happy New Year!

Thanks for the great interview with Mark Reuss about the changes going on at the top of GM. My dealer owner and general manager came back from the Cadillac dealer meeting in Las Vegas last year, and the stories I heard were hard to believe. They posted the highlights online for GM employees and dealership personnel to view, and it's true. Wow, seems that the finally get it!

I want to see if you are going to interview Johan at the NAIAS with the CTS-V official introduction. Thanks for the great work, I have been a listener and watcher since you were on the speed vision.

Take care,
Jason Eiler
1-16-2015

Hi John,

Ford is making a BIG mistake with the new GT. It's only a V6, not a V8. It reminds me of the Chrysler Prowler flop. Its 600 HP, only 50 more than the Ford GT from 10 years ago. It does not look like the original. It looks like a Japanese video game car. I predict it will go nowhere. Just my 2-cents worth.

What's your opinion?

Alan in Oregon
My opinion is that Ford will sell every GT it makes and that the car will go on to double in value within a decade.

I don’t get hung up on the number of cylinders in the engine. We here at Autoline have argued for years that enthusiasts need to forget about counting cylinders, or horsepower or torque. The most sure-fire predictor of a car’s performance is the power-to-weight ratio. And the new GT will have a more formidable power-to-weight ratio than the last GT.

McElroy
1-16-2015

Hi John,

Check out this old car movie site. This is by far the best I have ever seen. 93 short movies from the past.

Jay,
Mtn. Home, AR

PS: Your auto show coverage was the best ever.
1-16-2015

Hi John,

Will you do a report on Tesla at the show?

Have you driven a Tesla Model S (preferably the new P85D with 691 HP)?

I think Elon Musk is a modern day Henry Ford, yet to be seen as such.

Thanks for all you do,

Alan in Oregon
We did not do any reports on Tesla at the Detroit auto show because they did not show anything new. We were hoping to see the Model X, but obviously they’re saving that for another time.

And while we would love to test drive any Tesla, the company will not make any of its cars available to us.

McElroy
1-16-2015

John,

I really like your reporting of the Detroit Auto Show by breaking your reports into segments instead of an hour long presentation. The reporting you’re doing this year gives the object of your discussion more focus than has been given previously in my humble opinion. I really enjoyed your individual presentations. You did a great job. That Ford GT styling is orgasmic. Wow!

Jim Adcock
1-9-2015

John,

These electronic gizmos that are installed on newer vehicles to save gas often end up at replacement time costing more than the savings the driver thought he was getting while operating the vehicle. Not saving dollars, just spending them on maintenance instead of in the fuel tank.

Jim Adcock
1-9-2015

Hello John. Kudos to your understanding of the huge benefits that "fracking" has brought to the American people. Make no mistake, the people pulling the strings behind the scenes fighting fracking are doing so to cause a rise in energy costs that will make their beloved alternative energy sources cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Diesel costs. Wow!!!! Just got back from a road trip to Ohio. Diesel was running $1 plus more a gallon than reg gas from Mississippi to Ohio. Hard for me to see the cost advantage to pay a premium for a diesel engine and then a 50% premium for the fuel to put in it. Maybe you and your crack team can come up with an explanation on what is going on with the price difference and whether it is predicted to continue.

My guess is (and it is only a guess) that there is strong international demand for diesel fuel and US refiners are exporting a lot of diesel and we in the US are paying the world diesel price.

Tom Himes,
New Orleans
You got that right. The U.S. is exporting record amounts of diesel fuel.

John McElroy
1-9-2015

Hi John,

On Autoline Garage Sean mentioned using Premium Gas once in a while to keep your engine clean. While this might work. A while ago you told us about Top Tier Gas. The group that several manufacturers got together to support and standardize the detergent blend. Several Oil Companies are now selling gas that meets this standard. By using this gas, even the cheapest, will keep the engine valves clean. I have been using it for several years and it works.

I love your show. Keep up the good work in 2015.

Thanks,
"fltrucker"
1-9-2015

John,

I have been watching Autoline for a long time. One of today's guests, Mark Reuss, was one of the very best guests you've had on the show. He was totally honest, provided great information, and was well-spoken. People listen to him. I sure did. I hope you have him back.

Happy New Year!

With best regards,
Irv Walzer
1-9-2015

John,

Great interview with Mark Reuss. GM is positioning itself into the BEST GM ever. Very encouraging.

Thanks,
Don Bronn
1-9-2015

Hello Mr. McElroy,

Is it true that not one automobile maker has a "bench seat" - say 60/40 - option?? Is it only offered in a pickup truck? Do you foresee the automobile "bench seat" option returning to the market? We prefer Ford or GM. If it has to be a pickup truck it would have to be a lower-sitting one (that doesn't require a step ladder to get in). Sure wish the auto makers would focus on the 65+ population.

Have a good day and a grand New Year.

RH
Bench seats have pretty much disappeared for two reasons:

1. Very few people order them.

2. It’s not easy, and is definitely more expensive to add an additional air bag, or one giant airbag, to accommodate the middle passenger.

McElroy
1-9-2015

Lincoln! Really? Pushbutton gear select? We hated it 50 years ago and we hate it today. I'm betting some young whippersnapper, too young to know any better, thought he'd be clever and give us something "radically new" for the digital age. Those of us (of a certain age) who remember it, didn't want it then and don't want it now. Forget the pushbuttons, forget the flippy paddles on the steering column. I'm a guy who learned to drive with a 3 speed manual on the column. But I prefer it as it should be, auto or manual. . .a stick on the floor. Lincoln! Really!

1962 Biscayne wagon, light blue, 3 speed manual on the column. And a clutch travel at least a meter long, if I recall correctly.

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ
1-9-2015

Hi John! Hope you have a great Christmas!

Just a word about auto safety that you referenced in today's Autoline Daily; when you consider during the 1960s there were about 50,000 auto-related deaths per year and only 90,000,000 light vehicles on the road and then compare that to today's numbers: Around 32,000 fatalities each year but almost 250,000,000 light vehicles on the road, the improvements in auto safety are arguably the "greatest story never told."

The auto industry ought to be lauded on the nightly news, '20/20,' and '60 Minutes' for this incredible achievement but I think they'd rather report on bogus stories about so-called "unintended acceleration." It's almost as if the News Media is the PR arm of the 'Plaintiff's Attorneys of America.'

That's too bad, because the achievements in safety are truly remarkable.

Vincent A. Joy
1-9-2015

It's my understanding that "diesel" fuel takes less effort/cost to produce (less refined?)... as opposed to "gasoline". With gasoline prices plummeting, we want to know WHY "diesel" prices remain so high. Can you give us an answer OR do a report on the answer? Thank you.

RH
It is a common misperception that diesel takes less energy to refine than gasoline. Refineries are optimized to produce maximum amounts of specific fuel. A diesel refinery is optimized to mainly produce diesel, a gasoline refinery is optimized to produce mainly gasoline. There are far more gasoline refineries in the United States. This is the key reason why gasoline is cheaper. There’s more competition. In some states the tax on diesel is higher, in some lower. But taxes don’t make much of a difference. It’s all got to do with volume, and refineries make a lot more gasoline.

McElroy
1-9-2015

John,

In Gary's interview with Mike Sprague, I really appreciated the honesty of Mr. Sprague, who had no issue naming his competitors products by make and model - some sales people will not acknowledge their competitors. Honesty, and Mr Sprague, won some points on my scorecard.

HelicopterJay
1-9-2015

John,

A friend of mine in that lives between Duluth and the Twin Cities replaced his Mercury Milano all-wheel drive with a new Jeep Cherokee. He mentioned the Mercury all-wheel drive would "squirm" on slick road surfaces as each different wheel would get traction. It wasn't a pleasant experience he said. With his Jeep the vehicle is very stable on slick surfaces. He said he seems to experience a hesitancy of the nine-speed transmission to shift into gear on the highway. Maybe it's just a matter of him getting used to driving a nine-speed vehicle. Also he's achieved 27 MPG on his trips he said.

Also, I recently visited with a fellow who owns a 2007 Subaru Outback wagon. He mentioned Subaru is having a head gasket failure problem which I have not heard anyone else mention. He also said he's having a problem with the Outback's rear hubs failing. He had around 120,000 miles on the odometer and had bought this unit used he said. Have you heard of these failures on any Subaru’s?

Jim Adcock
Yakima, WA
1-9-2015

Is it me or does the new Mercedes-Benz have a striking resemblance to the old AMC Spirit?

Ciao,

Victor
Buckeye, AZ
1-9-2015

Hi John,

I have some questions and ideas that might be worthy of being on Autoline some time.

- Does the new Ford GT project make sense for Ford? I'm not saying that it, and a return to Le Mans wouldn't be amazing, but couldn't it just be a wasteful expense, a return of the days of old for Ford? How profitable is it for Audi or Peugeot to be in Le Mans? Maybe it would help Ford's image in Europe.

I'm sure you'd argue that it can be helpful, is done as more of an engineering effort than a marketing one, as you've said before of the way Honda uses its racing experience. So I'd like to hear your analysis.

- I was reading about the experience of VW with their first plant in the US, that of Pennsylvania. Their workers joined the UAW and there were many strikes, and other disruptions to the production. Do you think this experience influences VW on labour relations in Chattanooga? Should they be wary?

- What does a mainstream Chrysler mean for Dodge? Wouldn't be a better idea to have higher profits with a luxury Chrysler, akin to Lexus or Audi? Because FCA will have no luxury offerings in the US market. Unless they are making room for Alfa Romeo?

- Why do car companies take so long to release their cars all over the world? Different markets can get the same cars months later than others. Isn't that a waste of time and publicity?

I keep thinking about the case of Opel. They took very long to release the Adam here in Chile, and have yet to release the Mokka, even though they talked about selling it here when it was launched in Europe. Isn't Opel desperate for sales, and for fully utilizing the capacity of its plants to the most optimal levels?

Here are some thoughts for you. Keep on with your great job!

Best regards,
Ramón Rivera Notario
1-9-2015

Aaron Bragman is excellent. Have him on again.

Bradley Cross
1-9-2015

That Mercedes 'fastback' CUV, and the whole trend in family SUV's reminds me of the mainstream cars of the late '30s through late '40s. It was a natural setup for the human body, though not for driving dynamics.

r-work
1-9-2015

In response to your segment on December 12 regarding premium fuel; octane level and a fuel's additive package and detergents are mutually exclusive. If you're using a top-tier fuel, the additive package is the same whether you're burning 87 octane or 91. In other words if you're engine is engineered to burn 87 octane and you want the benefits of a fuel detergent you buy 87 octane top-tier fuel. Premium gasoline does not mean its better it means it has more octane, which of course is a knock inhibitor needed by high compression engines. Premium fuel does not have more detergents, it has exactly the same additive package as 87 octane fuel. If you burn 91 octane fuel in an engine engineered for 87 octane you will have reduced efficiency and vice versa. Advising viewers to buy premium fuel to get the benefits of a detergent is the wrong advice. You should be advising your viewers to choose a top-tier fuel that has the appropriate octane level for their engine.

I love your show and I watch it every day. Keep up the good work!

John Berg
Oakland, CA
12-12-2014

John,

I agree, Scion should go upscale. They have always been unique designs and the quality for the nitch was good. They need to "grow" with their customers as they can afford more upscale models.

Milt
12-12-2014

Hey John,

On December 6, 2013 you said that if Saab is still in business selling vehicles in Sweden and China you will eat your hat.

So the question is, is Saab still in business? And if they are, may I recommend a good Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your hat

Bon appetit.

Sincerely,
Mr. Cepeda
When GM went bankrupt it sold SAAB to Spyker. When Spyker went bankrupt, it sold SAAB to a consortium called New Electric Vehicle Sweden. NEVS just went bankrupt and reportedly Mahindra from India wants to buy SAAB. So the answer is: as of right now, SAAB is not in business and not selling cars in Sweden or China.

McElroy
12-12-2014

John,

In typical government fashion, they are the all too willing cudgel the entrenched cab companies are using to keep competition (Uber) out of the marketplace. Do you think the D3 would have improved quality absent the presence of NISSAN, Toyota, or Honda? - I think not!

The best friend consumers the world over has are 'FREE & OPEN MARKETS.' Governments are supposed to create an environment of opportunity. They fail at this mission when they keep competition out!

Vincent A. Joy
Amen, brother!

McElroy

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