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Hello Mr. McElroy, How Are you?   Have you noticed the latest photos of the supposedly "production ready" Porsche Tycanne(Tincan?)  YUK!! I WAS SHOCKED AT HOW BAD THE FRONT END LOOKS!!!  Those HEADLIGHTS, UGLY!!!  What the HELL HAPPENED???  I thought the Mission-E concept was BEAUTIFUL!!!  I wouldn't have changed a thing!!!  I do know that when a car goes from concept to mass production, some changes HAVE TO BE MADE, for both ease of manufacturing and safety reasons but MY GOSH, IT LOOKS TERRIBLE!!!  It's almost as bad as an I-3, which to me looks like the illegitimate love(hate?) child of an AMC GREMLIN AND A YUGO!!!  And it's already got over 20,000 pre-orders?? I wonder if Porsche showed these people the photos of the final car before they ordered??  Please check this out for me, maybe I'm wrong, and owe Porsche a BIG APOLOGY!!!  Also Mr. MAC,  I know you're always talking about TESLA'S inability to make a profit, but I've always wondered, How much does it cost TESLA to build a nationwide Supercharger system that they keep adding stations to every month?? And giving away FREE ELECTRICITY to all non Model 3 cars??  Have they ever published any figures on that??  THANK YOU Mr. McElroy, look forward to seeing you on After Hours soon!!!   Chas O

I could not agree more about the Taycan. Why did they even show the Mission–E? I’m surprised that Porsche lost so much in translation from show car to production car.

Tesla does not break out how much it spends on the Supercharger network and free electricity. But in a way that’s kind of how it advertises its products. And while traditional automakers spend billions on advertising Tesla spends none, so it’s kind of a wash.

John McElroy

Why under play Sandy's qualifications??
- He did disassembly analysis for BMW's i3 car.
- Improved the battery's small design
- He is committed to researching and dismantling all products.
- Analyze the materials, functions, and costs of each link
- Finally, the "chicken ribs" and the parts that need improvement are selected.
- During his tenure as a senior automation specialist and assembler (DFA) design specialist at Ford Motor Company
- Saved billions of dollars for Ford
- Many of the world's top 500 companies are his clients.
- He himself is called the "father of lean design"
- In the United States:
CEO of Munro, USA
Chairman of NASA MI SATS
NASA Head of National Advanced Manufacturing Center, NASA
American Society of Automotive Engineers
American Society of Manufacturing Engineers
American Detroit Engineers Association
Received many "Innovators" awards from NASA's NASA.
And the US authoritative science and technology innovation award
Appointed as a professor and advisory board member of more than a dozen well-known universities including:
Stanford University, Oxford University, University of Michigan, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wow, I’ve known Sandy for decades and didn’t know he was all this. Thanks for sending.

John McElroy

I enjoy watching your interviews.  Hackett has been at the helm for over 2 years and has promised to achieve a global revamp of the company.  There appear to be some green shoots taking root on the turn-around, Its time to get him on for an interview.  The future of Ford is on the line.
Thanks for your consideration,

Good suggestion. We’ll put in the request.

John McElroy

Dear John;
When you had Jim Baumbick from Ford on "Auotline This Week" I wish you would have asked him why they didn't use EPLM to develop a decent transmission for the Focus and Fiesta instead of hiding a faulty product and selling it to their valued customers.
Ralph Norek


Whatever happened to Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics, haven't seen him for 
years... retired? Hope he is in good health.



Jim is doing fine. He now works for General Motors and as such really can’t come on the show anymore to talk about what’s going on in the industry.

I’m actually going to a party at his house on Saturday and I’ll tell him that you were asking about him.

John McElroy

Dear Mr. McElroy,

Peace and Good.

Find here a description and pros and cons of axial flux electric machines. My questions: are there electric or hybrid vehicles using or about to use axial flux machines? What has been holding axial flux machine application? It was patented by Nicola Tesla in the late 18 hundreds.

Keep on with your excellent work.

Best regards

Eduardo Roma Burgos.

We need to learn more about these axial flux machines. We’re not familiar with them but will start asking around.

Thanks for sending this.

John McElroy

I have read some press on the Lincoln Aviator plug in.  Lincoln's big accomplishment 18 miles on a charge. That is big to be sure, but it is all in the marketing. Years ago we conditioned the buying public on MPG. The higher the better. So when I see a range of 50 or 18 on a single charge my thoughts are associating that range with an MPG where the battery holds 1 and that's the mileage I get. I can't help but think OEM's doomed themselves by creating "range anxiety". Instead inform me that with 8 or 10 gallons I can travel greater distance in a commuter car, a luxury ride, or I can pull XXXXX pounds long distance with just a smaller quantity of fuel. And if green is where we fell its at tie it into a healthier climate. In short sell me on what that $$$ battery can do for my operating cost of the vehicle.
My 1 cent thought for the day
David Sprowl

Good point. Automakers might be able to sell more plug ins if they did a better job of informing consumers what that battery can do for their operating cost.

John McElroy

“Any automaker that wants to sell electric cars in the U.S. will have to make the motor, transmission and battery pack including cells in the U.S. Right now, the USMCA is tied up in Congress, but if and when it’s enacted, it is designed to create an electric car supply chain in the U.S.”
Do you mean Canada and the US? Since Canada also meets the $16 threshold.
Yes Canada also meets the $16 an hour thresh hold. But with most North American auto production being in the US that’s where the EV supply chain would end up.

John McElroy

John:   Not to beat a dead horse but I saw an article saying GM is considering dropping the Malibu hybrid.
While I am not in the market for a Malibu, any way GM could put the Malibu hybrid drivetrain in the Equinox and Terrain at least as a FWD version if not AWD as well?
GM is taking a big gamble thinking only Autonomous and Electrics are the wave of the future...besides Corvette and Cadillacs.
GM will either end up being much much smaller or go bankrupt again in the next recession which is coming soon.
Vehicle sales are already softening, especially with and even high priced vehicles.
which is why I still dont like GM dropping the Cruze.   they should have kept making it in Lordstown both sedan and hatchback...and dropping the Impala and the Cadillac made at Poletown make no sense either.
Rob A.

Tengo un Audi S5 v6 B8 333cv del año 2012 con compresor. Se le podría poner un supercharger electric entre el filtro de aire y el compresor? Tenéis algo para mi coche?
Si, seria posible, pero ya tienes un compressor y no valdria la pena.

John McElroy

Is there any chance you could get Jim Hall to come back for a future episode of Autoline After Hours?  I saw him in a previous episode when talking about Jim Dunne. 

Jim now works for General Motors and can no longer publicly spout out his opinions about the automotive industry.

John McElroy

I finally caught up with last week’s AAH.  I think you did a great job on a tough and tragic topic (Ford’s DPS6 transmission).  You demonstrated a better understanding of the issues than Phoebe Howard.  Early customer complaints were easy to confuse... unfamiliar shift feel vs. a bonafide quality issue.  
Phoebe’s reliance on engineer communications is too easy to lean on (and jump to premature conclusions) for two reasons:
1.  Every new model development has prototype test issues, involving differing technical opinions about severity, root causes, and corrective courses of action. Every!
2. The genesis of the DPS6 came from Europe, where the shift characteristics are very familiar in a market with a very strong mix of manual transmissions.  As the transmission migrated east “across the pond to the New World”, some American engineers assessed its shift feel attributes relative to a conventional automatic transmission with a torque converter.  You appropriately noted the inherent difference between a dual clutch tranny and a torque converter tranny.
The purpose on this note is threefold:
1.  Thank you for your fair and thoughtful comments on this subject, including your accolades to Phoebe for this career-defining report.
2. While Ford could have done better in many ways, someone should call-out the FREEP for their editorial over-reach — interjecting their retorts in Ford’s response.
3. This is not the 1st time new powertrain technology experienced growing pains and gave an OEM a black eye.  I predict it will happen many more times as regulatory (CAFE/CO2/GHG) pressures will push other new technologies out to consumers before all design/manufacturing failure modes are understood.
Thank you, Sean, and your team.
Andy Sarkisian

Thanks for your feedback. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy

I am 47 years old.  Whenever I saw a C6 or older Corvette, “yeah that’s an oldman’s car”. Got a bit excited about C7.  Now seeing C8, only a few years after C7, “this could have been a C7!” I think. “Why not an all- electric as a C8?!”  GM is slow to react to the trend. 

A BEV ‘Vette would have been hugely more expensive. Once the cost of the batteries come down the doors will open for mass acceptance of electric cars.

John McElroy

Mr. Mcelroy, everytime you speak about EV's, you give the impression that everyone has a 'hard-on' for them.
Not a chance.
We are Americans who love our freedom to drive,  and until you can drive 400 miles, re-charge within 10 minutes, then drive another 400 we say no.
You run out of gas, you can walk a few miles, get a gallon, fill the tank, and away you go.
EV's sure can't do that.
I do love listening to you. Keep it up.
Next, i'll tell you why most every person i know hates the idea of a fully autonomous car.
thanks, clint

Thanks for your feedback. We always like to hear from our viewers!

John McElroy

I purchased March 2011 a 2011 Ford Focus SE and it has been driven every day since and not a single problem. My car has a hydraulic transmission. However, the new 2012 model came out after the end of April and had an electric transmission and lots of problems since.
Bob Topley 

Rivian is planning a store at their factory in Normal IL. Now Tesla is planning a store and service facility in adjacent Bloomington, just a few miles from Rivian. Is this an offensive or defensive move by Tesla?
Neil G
Bloomington, Illinois is about in the middle of a circle drawn around Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Des Moines. So it’s a great location. But you may be on to something that Tesla is trying to elbow Rivian out of the way.

John McElroy

Will overlapping a “classic “ last generation model with a newly introduced one become more of a prevalent strategy?  Have combine this with stretching out the new product cycles an extra year or two? 
If they can both be Mfg on the same line, wouldn’t the margins for the classic while the new gen model skins off the less price sensitive buyers?

The Vehicle Affordability Knowledge Gap
Consumer research reveals many consumers just don't understand, or are unrealistic about what vehicles they can actually afford.

Read in Forbes: 

Shared from Apple News
Some people only care about price. If they don’t like the price of a new car, they’ll happily buy a used one. A classic new model can be just what it takes to convince them to buy new instead of used.

For fleet buyers, new shiny sheet metal means nothing. They don’t care about style, just cost and functionality. A “classic” fits their business model perfectly.

The Ram pickup Classic is not built in the same plant as the new Ram, but the Dodge Caravan (a classic model) is built in the same plant as the Chrysler Pacifica.

I don’t think that making classic models will become an industry trend, but some automakers may use the strategy when the opportunity arises.

John McElroy

I agree that GM should continue the C7 alongside the C8 (more on that below). However, the recent auctioning of the final C7 clearly confirms they will not.
My guess is the second shift is more associated with slower line speed when producing C8 than with increased production rate.
However, there is another possibility. It could be that GM intends to flood the market the first year and then drop down to a more sustainable rate. This would reduce the amount of dealer markup, etc.
There is another benefit to this flooding the market. When C8 production drops, there will be capacity to produce another car. Perhaps a car based on the C7. Perhaps more of a grand tourer (whether under the Corvette name or as a Cadillac).
You’re right. The C7 is going out of production. I talked to a source at GM who said they believe there will be enough demand for the C8 that they’re adding a second shift. He added that the Bowling Green plant has run on two shifts at times in the past.

I think that second shift will probably last two years max. Most sports cars see a huge spike in demand, then a quick fall off.

John McElroy

Hey John,
Have you seen this?  Could Dearborn be far behind?

Volvo will never leave Sweden, just as Ford will never leave Dearborn.

This is just a CEO trying to send a message to Swedish politicians.

John McElroy

Hi, John.
Paul Eichenberg had my attention when he was talking about the changes coming upon the auto OEMs and their first-tier and second-tier suppliers.
As someone who has worked in the powersports (motorcycle) industry for several years, I have a question:  If the auto industry is going to face such a dramatic change and/or upheaval, how do you think that will affect other producers of consumer products (motorcycles and side-by-sides, etc.) that have relied on internal combustion engine technology?
Just a couple of side notes:
I can tell you that the Japanese powersports industry fell dramatically in the 2008-2009 Great Recession, and most of us feel it permanently changed the U.S. and European markets. In the U.S., I think we’re lucky if our yearly sales volume is 10-15% of what it was in 2005, and most Americans in this industry accept this as the "new normal."
Worse, I think the powersports executives in Japan do not understand all the cultural changes that have taken place in the American market, and they naively think they’re going to find some kind of magic to turn it all around.
Best regards,

Electric motors are going to threaten ICEs in every category where they’re used. ICEs will likely be around for another 30 years, but it will all depend on the cost of EV batteries. If someone cracks the code on getting the cost down to parity with ICEs, then opening the floodgates for electric vehicles of all sorts will happen much sooner.

John McElroy

Only Tesla will develop self driving cars. Roads are for visual recognition. Not lasers such as Waymo uses.
Geofencing is absurd! Any road construction or detour and it is dead in the water.
I understand your little show depends on ICE vehicles, but their future is dim.
EV’s will replace and end car dealerships and if GM, Ford and German and Japanese don’t join the EV train they are history. None will catch Tesla. They have the data, technology that GM does not have and as he said, they have army men. Tesla has navy seals.
Try not to be so biased against the future.
You can keep your show on covering Tesla and talking about RIP GM, Ford etc.

R Head.

Just wanted to say AAH with Paul Eichenberg was GREAT. I hope you will have him on again.

Thanks for the feedback. That show was great. In fact, I went back and watched the whole thing again—and took notes!

John McElroy

Dear Mr. McElroy, How Are You??? Hope You Enjoyed Your "Summer Break"!!!!     I guess I kinda owe you a little apology.  I thought that after listening to Sean on "Daily" describe this week's "After Hours" show, I would find it too dry and technical for me, and that I would tune out shortly after it started, BUT NO!!! I WAS WRONG!!! I found your guest Mr. Eichenberger to be very fascinating and easy to listen to, and I watched the whole show!!!  One thing you guys discussed with him was about the future profitability from the "farming" of data that will be generated by these "Smart Cars" and the Constitutionality of using this data for catching other drivers doing "misdeeds" on the road.  Two thoughts: 1) boy, this sounds like "Big Brother" to me (the Orwell version, NOT THE CBS TV SHOW!!!)  2) if there is money generated by this data (your guest did mention legislation "catching up" you can bet your ass the government will find a way to tax it!!!  Anyway, good show, keep up the good work!!!  No reply necessary, no publication either, Chas

Didn’t some Ford powertrain VP leave around the time this was blowing up?
Was this guy getting whacked because Mark Fields was throwing him under the Bus to cover his ass or was he so inept that he let this travesty spiral out of control?


The problem is that, for cost reasons, Ford decided to go with a dry clutch DCT transmission. The supplier told them it would have driveability problems and that Ford should go with a wet clutch. But it opted for the cheap route.

The problems described in this article suggest there may be more problems. But some consumers are far more sensitive to, and worry about, a car that drives differently than what they were used to. Remember, DCT's don’t have a torque converter so they accelerate slower and perhaps not as smoothly as a conventional automatic transmission. A dry clutch exacerbates the issue.

Also, I don't buy for a moment that this is causing sudden unintended acceleration--especially from someone who claims their foot was on the brake. NHTSA debunked SUA 33 years ago. It's always "pedal misapplication." It almost always involves older drivers, as is the case cited in this article.

John McElroy

The Tesla fans (aka., Elon) cite sales revenue as some part of "luxury" cars sales. But earlier this week you shared that sedan sales units(?) are significantly down (". . .passenger cars are down by 270,000 units . . .") A challenge, can we get some clarity about units and revenue that makes sense?
Bob Wilson
Sales of all passenger cars are in a downward trend, but Tesla’s Model 3 is bucking that trend. It’s sales in the US are up 284% versus a year ago. However, sales of the Model S are down 34%, and the Model X, which is arguably not a passenger sedan, is down 6%.

Elon is right, Tesla is capturing a significant percentage of luxury car sales and revenue. According to Wards sales figures, the only luxury brands that outsell Tesla in the US are Mercedes and BMW.

John McElroy
Wow, thanks for sending!

John McElroy

I thoroughly enjoyed your article today "Automakers Don't Need to Merge".
After personally living through mergers/takeovers such as Renault/AMC, Chrysler/AMC, Chrysler/Daimler, Chrysler/ Cerubus and Fiat/Chrysler just to name a few you are right on the money.
In an effort to attaining efficiencies and higher profits, I can tell you nothing is more inefficient and wasteful than a "Merger of Equals". By the way, a "Merger of Equals" is like a Unicorn and just doesn't exist.  Someone is always the top dog and damn everyone else. 
Every merger I was ever involved with came with chaos, ineffectiveness, bad morale, power struggles, higher costs and prices (in an effort to pay down the buyout debt) and the indiscriminate carnage of many talented people to cut costs or because of "professional differences". 
It always seemly took about 3 years for the dust to settle just to get back to where you were as a company before the merger.
You are also correct about driveline costs and sharing.  With automakers using hundreds of suppliers for thousands of parts which are assembled by the OEM's why hasn't an independent supplier come forward to supply complete engines and drivelines?
Follow the Cummins model. Cummins supplies diesels to manufactures, why not various sized and types of engines and drivelines for volume vehicles.  I agree with you, maybe it would take several manufacturers to form an independent engine/driveline consortium that performs R&D and builds engines (electric or ICE) to be sold back to the OEM's and others around the world.
Of course, if a manufacturer wants to dabble in a specialty high-performance engine ie. Hellcat etc. on their own for low volume vehicles and for image branding purposes, have at it.
This type of engine/driveline supplier/vendor could help eliminate the need for panicked, ineffectual and damaging mergers. 
I'm just surprised that this hasn't happened already.  Good article John.
New City NY

Thanks for writing, it’s very interesting to see that you lived and experienced what I was writing about!

John McElroy

Does Cadillac make more profit, or less, on a CT6 with Super Cruise?
Neil G
Normal, IL

Cadillac probably does not make a profit yet on Super Cruise. Up until now it’s only been sold on the CT6, which sells in low volume, and Cadillac undoubtedly needs higher volume to make Super Cruise profitable.

However, the take rate on Super Cruise is 30%, which is quite good, despite being part of a $6,000 package. Super Cruise will be available across the line in another year or two.

John McElroy

I love the ongoing discussion around automated vehicles. Have heard talk about cars connectivity to ‘infrastructure’. Fascinating. How can 5G - real 5G - help facilitate that?


5G will play a major role in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. It will enable much larger and faster transfer of data, especially video. And the telephone providers will all invest heavily in this infrastructure, meaning that state, local and federal governments will not have to fork out that much money.

John McElroy

Hello John,

You reported that there Is no shortage of electric autos, many manufacturers have a big inventory.
The reason is not many want the poor quality, they are offering.
There is not a big inventory of Tesla’s because people want them.
Why didn’t you say that in your report on auto line daily


I don't agree that EVs like the i3, Bolt, Leaf or I-Pace have poor quality. I've driven them all and they are very well made cars. You may not like them but that does not mean they have poor quality

Tesla actually has tons of inventory. Do a simple search online and you will find pictures of them stacked up in parking lots. Tesla has a big problem in being physically unable to deliver cars in a timely fashion. It has even built its own car haulers to try and deliver them, and that alone tells you it has tons of inventory.

That said, you're right that a lot of people want a Tesla. Hopefully it will gets its delivery system straightened out and get its sales back on track.

John McElroy

* continued from letter above *

Hi john,

What I mean is their stats, long range is not there, speed, quality GM interiors has too much plastic etc. BMW 3 is short range at a high price. People want a longer range that some automakers offer. Leafs short range. All this adds up to no sale.
Of course people want long range and a premium interior. It's all a matter of how much it costs and whether they're willing to pay for it. Right now no one knows how to make a profit on an EV unless it costs around $48,000 or more. Even Tesla, which sells more EVs than anybody else by far, has only had a couple of profitable quarters despite being in business for over a decade. It's all about the cost of the batteries. They're still extremely expensive. That's why there are low-range EVs. They have smaller battery packs to keep the cost down to hopefully attract a more mainstream customer. Whoever cracks the code on battery cost will open the floodgates to mass market acceptance of electric cars. But until automakers can buy batteries at less than half the cost they pay today, EVs will primarily be sold to the more affluent end of the market.

John McElroy

I just always enjoy your interviews with Michael O'Brien, just the facts, and lots of facts.
I liked his answer to you about not following the turbo 4 cylinder trend with the 'robustness' of his 6, adding the 100k warrantee to the answer.
Talk about a low key salesman who closes the deal!

I have owned many cars and currently own a Corvette Grand Sport, Cadillac XT5, and our 3rd MKZ Hybrid and had a 1st gen Chevy Volt that we really enjoyed ( over our 3 year period averaged 180 actual mpg). We also could take the Volt on trips, without a care. Only had to suffer with 45-50 mpg on a long trip.
I talk to so many people who simply won’t buy a pure electric because the infrastructure doesn’t exist should you want to drive Detroit to Chicago or parish the thought, New York.
I have friends in Scottsdale who have attempted to drive to Las Vegas and LA, one with a Tesla, using the Tesla app, only to find superchargers full, in-operable or occupied.  They were stranded, and they have said they are getting rid of their electrics.
We are so far from having chargers main-stream in the supply required.
Electric may be good for city-cars, but I’ll take a plug-in Hybrid.
Had GM/Chevy used the Volt platform also on small and midsize SUV’s and also, and advertised them, like Toyota did, Volts would have succeeded! Our friends, three years after the Volt was out would say to us “I didn’t know your Volt had a gas engine”. Gee. I wonder why.  Chevy barely advertised the Volt.
I think all the manufactures are headed for the sad reality. Electrics will not sell in the numbers they need.
Your thoughts?
PS; Enjoy all your Pods and TV!

There’s no question that PHEVs make the most sense right now for people who want to significantly boost their fuel economy and drive in pure EV mode. As you point out, the charging infrastructure is simply not developed enough at this point for most people to be comfortable with BEVs.

But PHEV sales are plummeting in the US, down 28% so far this year, and down 4.5% in Europe where gasoline prices are much higher than in the US.

Here’s the problem. EV advocates don’t like PHEVs because they have ICEs. And most car buyers are leery about having to plug in a car, even if it has an ICE.

PHEVs represent a technology that makes a lot of sense, but most people just aren’t buying them.

John McElroy

I was absolutely fascinated with the TPS plasma ignition story, this remined me of another story you did on episode 1069 for the Federal Mogul ACIS technology, which appears to be currently available. Seems like different technologies with similar outcomes and goals. Why are we not seeing ACIS as a more prevalent system today? Which system do you see prevailing ? 
Long time Fan of all your shows,
Bradley G

It’s hard to say why Federal Mogul didn’t seem to be able to sell its plasma ignition to automakers. Suppliers don’t exactly call us with this kind of information.

The advantage of the new system from Transient Plasma Systems is that it is very low energy. So it may have an advantage over the ACIS from Federal Mogul.

John McElroy

Hi John,
I was just thinking that the term an automatic in cars may have a totally new meaning in a few years as it may mean an autonomous driver where manual means a human driver and possibly in a decade, autonomous software may be like a big brother watching what the human driver does and make corrections if the AD (autonomous driver) software thinks it's necessary.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

You’re on the right track. Autonomous cars are often referred to as automated cars.

John McElroy

Hey guys I enjoy all your shows. I lost. To all 3 on stitcher while hauling cars. I work for Wrightway auto carriers in Anchorage Alaska  and we deliver most new vehicles in Anchorage, Fairbanks, kenai ,Soldotna and wasilla basically everything except new GM Nd Subaru. Including rental cars. 
Which brings me to my point I have heard you guys talk about how fast VW recovered there sales after the diesel thing. 
 That following year we seen way more rental units from VW then past years. 
 And lately I hear you talk about the Ford Fusion hybrid being the best selling hybrid sedan. Same thing there pretty much all rental sedans from Ford has been Hybrids this year like 8 out of 10 Fusions seemed to hybrids. No Taurus’s but some focus and fiestas. 
Just wondering I guess how the different sales would look if you took out fleet sales. And Camry’s and siennas. Tons of them. 

Thanks guys keep up the great work. 



Great to hear from a viewer in Alaska!

Fleet sales account for about 25% of all new vehicle sales, though it varies by manufacturer. So if you took out fleet, sales would be 25% lower. But you can’t take them out because they are such a big part of the market.

And there are 3 different types of fleet sales: 1. Daily rental (Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, etc); 2. Commercial (contractors, landscapers, etc); 3. Government (police, military, state & local governments). Numbers 2 & 3 can be quire profitable.

John McElroy

I really like the format of the show, I don't work in the industry but follow it with great interest, especially since I started driving an electric vehicle 3 years ago.
The following is supposed to be super-constructuve, it is easy to criticise but I am merely offering you a view-point form the UK which you can use or ignore as you see fit.
1. Your tag line is to present the global auto industry but actually you are very USA (and more specifically Detroit) biased.  Not only the way stories are presented but the inherent pro-big-three.  We accept this and expect it to continue but I think you could do more to explore stories from around the world and make more effort to become familiar with other plants/brands/vehicles.
2. Even though some of you have now driven EVs and even own Tesla's (or did I imagine this?) you continue to be very negative on zero emission vehicles and dismissive of new players.  EVs my be a disaster for the traditional industry model but they have many advantages to the consumer.  Just because the trad players cant make money on them, doesn't mean consumers wont vote with their feet.   You frequently say demand is low (not much above 1%) but every single EV is on a long lead time, some as much as a 12 month waiting list to even place an order!  Clearly the constraint is supply, not demand.  NUmerous surveys (even in USA) show high consumer interest, even if a fraction of them follow through the demand is huge.
3. I can understand that in USA with your low taxed fuel, the big incentive of fuel savings does not apply.  But please remember this does apply in almost every other country around the globe.  So non-USA consumers will vote with their feet, and buy EVs so the non-USA brands will grow to satisfy this demand and America risks getting left behind.  Even you continue to have cheap fuel, EVs are more enjoyable to drive, provide better performance and need less maintenance (so even ignoring cost and pollution), it is only a matter of time before your consumers switch too.  By then China will be into mass-export of quality cars so I cant see Detroit surviving this one if they are not prepared to "bet the farm" on converting to EVs now rather than later.  Doesn't matter that they feel they need to make profits now, that's what Nokia and Kodak said...  gotta be bold like Apple who launched the iPhone that killed off their previously money-making iPod business.
4. You keep saying no one is making money making EVs.  Yet we know if a brand is serious about it, huge mark-ups are achievable.  We are days away from Tesla's Q2 results.  Even if this is break even, Q3 and the 12 months to now and 12 months going forward likely to be profitable.  And thats with the huge start up costs.  What is your measure of success for EV profitability?  MIne would be anything that means they are cash-positive and can continue to expand and roll out more models.  Its easy for you to brush people like me away with "fanboy" status, but we are merely grateful that one manufacture is proving EVs are viable, desirable and can be profitable. And perhaps more importantly, forcing the other brands to reluctantly make amends.  Too slow, too few and not too good (poor specs) but all EVs have their place and add to the choice the consumer can select from.  Combustion engines are now pointless - except for short term profits.  Consumers are not stupid, they will switch even with all the FUD currently being circulated, esp when they experience a ride in their friends EVs.
5. I listen to 2 dozen podcasts, some amateaur and some professionsl but yours are unique in the high quantity and long length of embedded adverts (ads).  Sure it's your business model and you have to fund it however you see fit, but just be aware they are excessive (and sometimes double-embedded with a UK local ad interrupting an original US ad).  The end result is messy, unprofessional and may be worth considering asking your audience for a voluntary PATREON payment instead.  I said I was trying to be constructive and I would back that by making a monthly Patreon payment if you were to explore that funding route (and reduce the number of embedded ads)!
Keep it up, but try consider the global side of stories some of the time.
I firmly believe the industry is going to be radically different, faster than you believe, because in short term the big-3 will stay inward focused (on profit) while China and EU get their act together on quality EVs - and USA will have nothing to compete (except Tesla).  My measure of how serious the big-3 are about remaining relevant will be to watch how quick and how big they can invest in their own battery manufacturing (crucial for high vol EVs).

Cheers from UK,

Thanks for your input. We’re going to publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that all our viewers can read it.

I don’t have the time to respond to all your points, and besides, we believe in giving our viewers their own say!

John McElroy

John's favorite comment is "nobody's making money on electric cars". From my reading, that's true in some ways, not true in others. Sandy Munroe mentioned on your show he sees 30% margin in most Teslas. It seems Tesla makes lots of money on cars, but loses it again funding a highly aggressive and capital intensive growth strategy.
I'd also love to hear John's comments on my favorite theory - Elon Musk totally blew it when he chose not to sell through franchised dealers. Those dealers would have taken an immense financial and infrastructure load off of Tesla. Customers wouldn't be waiting 3 months for repairs. And Tesla wouldn't be struggling to deliver (not build) cars to customers. Tesla could have ruled the world in 2019 if it had just franchised and used contract manufacturing.
Thanks for the awesome show! And for taking the time to read viewer mail.
Thanks for your letter.
Sandy Munro was talking about operating profits on Tesla’s cars, not net profits.
You’re right that Tesla spends more capital expenditures than other companies, but not all that much more. In Q1 2019 Tesla spent 6.1% of its revenues on cap ex, while last year General Motors spent 5.9%.  
I completely agree with you that Tesla could have solved its sales and inventory problems by selling cars through franchised dealers. Here’s a link to the article I recently wrote in Wards about it.
John McElroy

This is the best illustration of the difference between traction, horsepower and torque I’ve ever seen. Those old folks knew what they were doing with limited energy source.
Watch this old 18 HP Match up against a new 850 HP John Deere
A 850 H.P. John Deere diesel vs. a steam tractor rated 18 H.P?
It's all about torque and traction… enjoy

Thanks for sending this link. What an amazing tractor pull. Do you have any more information about each vehicle? This is a really interesting video.

John McElroy

Dear Autoline Network,
 My name is Matthew Gamcsik and I recently got addicted watching your show on Autoline Network YouTube channel. Anyway, I found this video that I thought you guys at Autoline Network might get a good laugh out of. I found a video from a YouTuber that customized their Tesla Model 3 into a Tesla pickup truck. Very clever video. Here is the link.
Enjoy the video and keep of the great work. Take care and have a wonderful day.

Thanks for writing and sending this link. In fact quite a few viewers sent us this link!

Keep your eyes and ears open for other items like this. We always like getting feedback from our viewers.

John McElroy

I think the president of Porsche is making an accurate EV prediction for Porsche, but not for the rest of the market. The problem with EVs is that no one can make a profit on them. The batteries are still too expensive and will probably remain so for nearly another decade. Even Tesla, the most successful EV maker of them all, losses money despite the fact that it's cars sell on average for over $70,000. Porsche will probably be able to make money on the Taycan because it will retail for about $130,000. Once the cost of the batteries come down EVs will see growing acceptance. Right now any automaker selling EVs for less than roughly $50,000 is losing money on them. Automakers will continue to introduce EVs because regulations dictate that they have to. Otherwise they'd be sitting on their hands waiting for the cost of batteries to come down.

Today you told the audience about F1 and NASCAR racing over the weekend.  What about what happened in NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car?  Any auto viewer can see NASCAR viewership is cratering (they lost 1/3 of their audience in 2 years) yet you act like nothing bad is going on.  Why don't you think a couple of words about NHRA pro racing is warranted after a major race like this weekend at Charlotte?  Are you guy 'auto racing snobs'?  I've been to F1 and NASCAR races so I wonder have you ever seen a top fueler run?  Love to hear your thoughts.


Hello all,
I’ve been watching your show for years even when you all used to come on speed TV and id wake up in middle school to catch you guys before doing my chores lol. Great content. However I’m with John on this in a lot of ways it concerns me. I had been saying for some time even when they merged with Fiat I was thinking this would be the beginning of the end. Honestly you don’t really have a reason to even go to the Chrysler or Dodge side of the showroom unless your looking for a minivan or want a V8 coupe. Hopefully that’s not the case but hopes and dreams only get you so far. On the flip side seeing how Renault has quite a few electric models in Europe maybe we’ll see some of that tech make its way into the Jeeps.
Once again thanks for reading.
Isaiah Lopez


Whatever rationalizations FCA is offering for the solid front axle death wobble issue on the Wrangler, it is disappointing to see that this type of flaw is designed into a new vehicle in 2019. I had a 1988 Jeep Cherokee that exhibited that behavior when the steering stabilizing shock wore out (twice over a 141,000 mile ownership period).  I know part of the appeal of Jeeps is their basic, uncomplicated design, but the lack of progress on a fundamental issue like this in more than 30 years is not excusable.

Always a great show. Keep it up!

Riverside, CA

Thanks for your feedback, we always value input from our viewers.

Here's the weird thing. I've driven the new Wrangler and Gladiator extensively and never encountered the death wobble. I know people are not making it up, but I've never experienced it.

John McElroy

Hello Autoline,

Saw the video of Bill Gates driving in an Electra Meccanica. I don't know if he owns the car or if it's product placement. Being from Vancouver, I noticed that the car in the original video has British Columbia plates on it. 


Thanks for the tip about the license plate. Much appreciated and it’s something we hadn’t noticed.

John McElroy

I'd be curious to hear your Autoline insight around this chart and data comparing Tesla Model 3 sales to competitor vehicles in the midsize premium sedan segment, ICE, BEV, or otherwise.
To me, this is a more appropriate way to gauge BEV demand rather than the total automotive market, which is still only around 2% as you report.
I realize this is just one segment and sedan demand is waning, but I would still be alarmed if I were a leader at Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc.

There’s no question that Tesla has achieved spectacular success in the passenger car luxury segment, and has sent a scare through Mercedes, BMW and Audi. But I question whether Tesla’s success is indicative of overall BEV demand.

If we were to compare non-Tesla EVs to their direct ICE competitors, the results would be unfavorable for those BEVs.

The problem is that the entire green car segment (Hybrid, PHEV, BEV) is stuck around 3-4% market share. Most of the growth in BEVs comes from people trading in their hybrids or PHEVs. In other words, it’s the mostly the same customers.

No doubt more consumers will be attracted to BEVs once they reach cost parity with ICEs.

John McElroy

Hi all,
Question for all those EV proponents who expect EVs to ice the ICE.
With almost 40% of Americans renting their dwelling (and 1/2 of those being apts), how are these people expected to charge their cars?  This is going to be especially difficult for renters in older cities (N.Y., Boston, etc) as many don't even have parking areas that could (even if the owner is "enlightened") set up chargers for occupants.  Of course these are the places tha EVs make most sense (short trips)
I don't really see myself fronting the money to install a charger to someone else's property...
rick bradner

Great points. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy

You mentioned in your Monday episode that the Trump administration "backed down" from their threat of Increasing tariffs against Mexico. You failed to mention that the Mexican government came to the table and gave the U.S. everything they asked for which was the reason for the threat in the first place.
Mexico acting as a trade PARTNER . 
This is not something they were planning on doing as some in the media said. All the previous threats produced very little.
  Thanks for you're informative shows
Jerry L.

Thanks for your feedback, we always like hearing from our viewers. You’re right, Mexico did promise to do more about illegal immigration to the US and thanks for pointing that out.

John McElroy

John, you are usually right on in your reporting. However you sounded like a Democratic today in your report on the Mexico tariffs. Trump did not back down and would not no matter how loud the auto industry whines. The only reason they were suspended was because Mexico agreed to do some very specific things to stem the influx of immigrants thru Mexico. If Mexico does not live up to its agreement then look for the tariffs to go back on. They will hurt Mexico much more then they will hurt the US. That’s why Mexico ran to Washington to negotiate the deal to suspend them, or more accurately agreed to take the actions requested by the Trump administration.


Thanks for your feedback. I try to stay as neutral as I can in my reporting so sorry if I came off as partisan on this one.

Let’s hope the border immigration situation gets manageable and that the tariffs with Mexico don’t come into play.

John McElroy

Any chance the FCA bid was intended to convey a message to Japan and Nissan: if you break up the Renault-Nissan alliance, FCA is willing to step in on more favorable terms for Nissan?
New Haven, Connecticut
I don’t think FCA is looking for a deal with Nissan. FCA’s and Renault’s problems are in Europe. They need to consolidate platforms and powertrains and manufacturing plants there. That’s the only place this proposed merger makes sense.

FCA is doing great in North America and reasonably well in South America. Nissan can’t help them there. Both FCA and Nissan are weak in China, so no synergies there either.

The only place that Nissan is strong is in Japan and that can’t help FCA.

John McElroy

Regarding your WWJ commentary this morning, you talked about oil producers but did not mention the Ethanol subsidies from the US government that is around $7 to $8 billion a year.
I think this is a waste, how many BTU of fertilizer and tractor fuel does it take to produce the corn to make a BTU of ethanol?
Not that I am a big fan of how Amtrak is run, but it would make more sense to put money into Amtrak and passenger rail service?  Improve the train track roadbeds...most are not owned by Amtrak I know.
how about an AUTO train from the Pontiac then Detroit Central train station all the way south to Orlando.   A lot of snowbirds would like to put their cars on that train than to drive I-75 for 2 days!   And train service (not AUTO train) from Chicago to Detroit to Toronto to Montreal!
One other comment on Tesla and GM, I heard one thing keeping Tesla in business is that Tesla is selling green tax credits to other companies including GM.
another reason why GM should not have stopped making the Cruze?  Are GM and I figure FCA maybe Ford not meeting CAFE standards?
Rob A

Hello Mr. McElroy, How Are You???    Did you find it as shocking as I did that FCA pulled out of the merger talks after only 10 days???  HELL, it takes the lawyers that long just to get their limos parallel parked, let alone read all the legalese that must be involved!!!  No, I don't think this is the last we'll hear of this merger, I just think it may be a "message" to Renault to "get its house in order" and they will try again.   After all, FCA and Mr.Elkans HAD TO KNOW that with all the disparate parts of Renault, i.e. the French Government, Nissan, Mitsubishi, The Unions, the Nissan/State of Japan vs Carlos Goshns, and now the Italian Government, that this was going to take time. I am looking forward to what you and Gary and your guest panelists have to say on your " D-Day plus 75" addition of After Hours later today!!!  Thank You for reading this, no reply necessary, Chas Orvis.   P.S. : An Auto Philosophy Question : If you asked me what was the best car I ever owned, I would say "My Next One" !!!!!!!

Just finished watching today's installment of Autoline and wanted to add a few points to the mix. 

In my opinion as a sixty-something driver, while growing up, the German element was far less visible on the road in the fifties, sixties and, to a lesser extent, seventies.  One would even see more Jaguars on the road than MB or BMW (in fact, my introduction to BMW came via my friend's family who owned both a 60s Bavaria AND a 2002!)  And who knew from Audi? In those days, if one wanted to purchase a luxury car, in the majority of cases, Lincoln and Cadillac were the brands of choice when status was desired.  Drivability took a backseat (pun intended) in those days considering the sofa-like comfort for which most people opted.  

Thank you for listening and for an informative show.  Also, please let John know that my brother ended up with a beautiful late-90s Audi TT convertible (sometime ago I asked his opinion on which two-seater he could recommend.)


P.S.  Please let the Cadillac spokesperson know the Latin word is pronounced et cetera, not ekcetera.

Just saw today's episode and listened to the feedback on the GM request for a no-controls autonomous vehicle.  I hope I am not late to the game to reply.
My position is not as much should they or shouldn't they, but why do they want to do this?
What is the advantage of a vehicle with zero controls?  Cars still need to me moved minor distances, say around the driveway or parking lot.  Or maybe the driver needs to take over in an area of road construction.  Whatever.  Consider that even with autopilot, airplanes still have a full slate of controls.
Why are they trying this?  Seems another case of engineers missing the simple things.
Shawn you are no doubt a healthy individual who has no problem driving.

But what about the elderly who are in danger of losing their driver’s license but don’t want to give up their personal mobility? What about those too young to get a driver’s license but would like to get around on their own? What about people with disabilities who would love to “go mainstream” and not rely on others to drive them where they need to go? What about the millions of commuters who despise their daily rush-hour, stop-and-go commuting?

There are a lot of great reasons to develop autonomous cars, and Pittsburgh—where you live—is one of the centers of excellence in this development.

John McElroy

Hi John, I read your concerns about the merger and can’t agree more. I also wonder why Mike Manley thinks he needs this merger. Like you state FCA makes all the profits so what do they have to gain. As history has shown, more models don’t equate to more sales as GM found out. Even Ford recognized this and got rid of Mercury as well as the other foreign brands that did not want to join the One Ford Program. The Focus was at one point based on a Mazda but Mazda was not going to give up their independence and therefore efficiency of scale was never going to be achieved.

When Chrysler merged with AMC they got Jeep and and kept it Jeep. The other cars they blended with their own to enhance their own product line. With the cost of remaining competitive in today’s market, there needs to be fewer companies with fewer models supplying world markets. And I don’t think that is a bad thing. Only the strong will survive and I don’t see how this merger will make FCA stronger.


your recent comments about vehicle affordability and cost of electrics has me worried about GM.
GM continues to make mistakes, 1st thinking they can be a larger Tesla with smoke and mirrors Bob Lutz was right about that!...with buying Maven and Cruise Automation dumping so much money into those money losing businesses YES fully autonomous vehicles are years if not decades away.  Maven is especially disturbing, GM would do better buying a rental car company...and make money the old fashioned ride sharing or car sharing way.  Deja Vu?
Dumping the Cruze when gas taxes will soon be going up again here in Michigan and around the country and world.  Not to mention GM's zeal to go to lowest cost producing non union countries is biting them big time with all of these Tariffs...
And now bread and butter products like Equinox are falling behind with Mary B's mandate not to spend any more money on traditional gas engines....Look at the new Toyota RAV gets 10% better mileage than Equinox.
I keep shaking my head, no wonder GM stock price is just above what it was back in 2010 when the IPO came out.
As I said before, giving up chunks of market share is not a good idea, getting out of cars is dumb and SUV truck business is getting saturated.
Rob A.

Thanks for your letter we truly value your input, insights and opinion.

One thing to consider in comparing the RAV4 to the Equinox is that the Equinox is a bigger, heavier vehicle. Chevrolet is coming out with the new Trailblazer next year which slots in below the Equinox and may be a better comparison, but we’ll have to wait until we get the specs.

John McElroy

Jeep has been the grim reaper of the automotive industry. 
 Jeep was taken over by Kaiser. Kaiser was taken over by AMC who was taken over by Renault. Then Chrysler who was taken over by Daimler, then Cerubus.  Then Fiat. Now back to Renault.  Jeep has been trying to shake off each one of these parasitic manufactures since day one.
  I think Karma is saying Jeep should be its own standalone automaker.
New City

Love it, thanks for sending!

John McElroy

The Renault/FCA merger won't happen. There no synergies to be had.  The French and Italians don't get along that well culturally and I'm sure Japanese culture will clash as well.  All the possible savings will be eaten up in the reorganization. This is like the 50's in America when companies were trying to survive. Packard lost all it's credibility, Hudson disappeared etc. along with others. All that was left was the perenially profitable Jeep. These mergers are thought up by "pie-in-the sky" guys who think they will survive the merger or get a big payout. FCA is a company that only makes money off Jeeps and Trucks. Renault is delusional if they think they are coming into the ever decreasing North American market on any major level.
The industry is changing rapidly and it is my opinion that there will be some major players and a whole bunch of fringe players when the shakeout ends. 
Nissan is not going to put up with more European influence and control. I had a friend who worked at Chrysler when Mercedes took over. He spoke German and could hear all the conversations in his area. The Germans finally said goodbye and walked away. They didn't understand how to be a domestic manufacturer either. 
These are volatile times and I don't envy anyone in the industry. Fun to watch though.
Gavin Smith

Related to your EV subsidy coverage on Friday if you're interested in subsidies, I suggest you include coverage for industries that have even bigger and permanent ones.
It could have an interesting spin - not only are they much bigger and permanent, but they're also hidden and instead people are distracted by smaller subsidies for new and competing technologies.
I would also caution the suggestion that Tesla sales dropped because of the step-down in their tax credit. It may be a factor but correlation is not causation. I would wager that the seasonality of vehicle sales was a bigger contributor.

While I agree with you that the oil industry probably doesn’t need all the subsidies it gets from Uncle Sam, those subsidies don’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

The article you cite claims the oil industry gets $10.7 billion a year in subsidies, nothing to sneeze at. But the US produces 6.4 billion barrels of petroleum a year. That means the subsidies come to about $1.67 a barrel. One barrel yields 42 gallons of gasoline. So the subsidies come to about four cents per gallon of gasoline. That’s not what’s keeping people in their ICEs.

If seasonality was the cause of Tesla’s drop in sales then you would expect to see the same percentage drop from other automakers. While it is very difficult to get an accurate number for Tesla’s US sales (why do they hide this?) the company’s global sales (the vast majority of which are in the US) fell 31% in the first quarter of the year. The rest of the market was down 2%.

John McElroy

More Peter D.   !!!!
By far your best guest.


It was a great discussion, but I still feel it is begging the question:  What is driving this?
Is it CARB and it's sister secessionist states?  Is it a 23 trillion dollar debt about to hit the fan?
What is this 'turn' the automakers are approaching?
Car ownership carries with it:  car responsibility, car care, self interest that encourages order and drives an economy.
Mobility implies:  ownership by others, dependency, access qualifications (different than individual ownership requires), and a top down command/control economy.
I hope I'm making a point here...

What’s driving the move to mobility is cost and convenience. The average price of a new car today is $36,000 and going up every year. I’d estimate we’ve priced over 4 to 5 million US households out of the new car market since the year 2000. If autonomous ride sharing truly ends up cheaper than owning a car, millions of people will give up car ownership.

It’s also about convenience. Millions of commuters spend their mornings and evenings stuck in stop and go traffic commuting to and from work. They hate it.

I like the point you’re making and agree with it, but if it’s a massive headache to drive a car, or it’s a financial burden, mobility services offer a real alternative.

John McElroy

Hey John:
Why aren't the interior suppliers including seat belt restraint systems in their photographs or renderings of future autonomous vehicle interiors?
Is there some new design cue's or is including restraint belts just too ugly?

Designers always take liberties when it comes to illustrating the future. So you don’t see seatbelts, or mirrors. And concept cars often have gull-wing doors. It will be deep into this century before we actually see automakers making cars without any seatbelts.

John McElroy

I was curious to know the brand / model of shoes you were wearing during one of the Autoline programs.  The shoes have stitching down the middle of the toe.  
Could not find the precise show, likely one with a test drive.

My wife bought those shoes a couple of years ago at Costco. The brand is Cole Haan and they’re very comfortable.

John McElroy


Enjoyed your show yesterday especially the segment with Penske President and all things racing.  I’ve always admired Roger and his incredible Company.

Looking forward to Ralph coming on.
Enjoy The Grand Prix will be watching here in the Pacific Northwest.


The problem long haul trucking companies have is that most people want to be home more than 4 days a month.
There isn't  a shortage of drivers but a shortage of good companies to work for.
Long haul drivers have always been on the road a long time, that’s nothing new.

And the driver shortage is simply one category on a long list of professions that faces a shortage. Every automaker and supplier is complaining about struggling to fill open job slots in various categories.

One of the most critical shortages right now is with skilled trades people. The jobs pay over $30 an hour, not including benefits, and they can’t get people to sign up for apprenticeship programs that pay them to learn a trade.

John McElroy

I am big fan of Autoline Daily and have been watching it for years. 
In Episode #2598 you mention a Merrill Lynch report.  I would be very interested in knowing more about where I can get this report.
Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Merrill Lynch does not make these reports available to the general public. They go to clients, analysts and some media.

Even we have to go through a double layer of verification to get them.

John McElroy

   Here in Illinois the governor is proposing a $41 billion capital bill for the state. It calls for doubling the state gas tax as much of the infrastructure plan is for roads. An interesting revenue source is raising the registration fee on EVs from $34 every 2 years, or $17 per year, to $250 annually. Do you think more states might raise this fee if EVs become popular as there will be less revenue from gas taxes to fund road improvements and could these raised fees hurt sales of EVs.

It’s already happening. About 20 states have raised their registration fees on EVs.

John McElroy

It is interesting to see that it’s tough for any large company (Silicon Valley based, Detroit based, anywhere based) to compete with the compensation upside and freedom from smaller firms for much of the best talent in Silicon Valley.  
I observed that even a very high tech firm like Intel would have trouble recruiting the best experienced people in the industry if there are many alternatives that had equity upside and less bureaucracy. Once they mature, their stocks plateau, and give fewer options/restricted stock to a broad set of employees they have a much harder time recruiting the very top experienced tech talent.  Big mature firms then can pivot to trying to hire the best college grads. 
So I am sure the OEMs have many fine people at their Silicon Valley outposts but probably not of the same type as what a Tesla can attract (for a while).
I had employees both in Silicon Valley and in austin and It seemed like I saw many situations where one spouse might go work for a more big stable company for the stability and medical benefits while the other spouse swung out to try to grab the brass ring and finally get enough equity to buy a house in CA or be financially secure. 
PS: the Tesla video is long but interesting.  Elon said that LIDAR is good for some spaceX applications (docking with the space station) but it is a “fools errand” for autonomous cars.
Lidar may be a fool’s errand. But Tesla is the only OEM with AV related fatalities. Cars from companies using lidar like Cruise, Argo and Aurora can see when a semi-trailer is blocking the road.
We just had Ryan Eustice form the Toyota Research Institute on Autoline After Hours recently and he hinted that a camera-only system may be reliable in the future, but not now.
I had an interesting conversation with the SVP of quality and validation at Velodyne, who pointed out that Lidar puts out such a powerful pulse it can see right through any snow and water on the lens—literally going right through the gaps between the molecules. Cameras can’t do that.
John McElroy

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