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Hello John,

I just read an interesting article about Continental producing tires, made from Dandelions. The dandelion would be a alternative raw material source, to the rubber tree in the tropics for tires. Go to for more information on the project.


We knew about Continental’s R&D efforts into using dandelions, but weren’t aware that they were actually putting it into production. Thanks for sending, we always love learning from our viewers.

John McElroy

I am catching up on my Autoline Daily episodes and saw that Sean announced on the Feb. 1 show that the Subaru Legacy would be making it's debut at the Chicago Auto Show on March 7.  The debut is Feb. 7.  I know you went to the show last year.  I'll be heading down this weekend.  I'll have to check the Subaru out.  Thanks!

The South Korean battery specialist is said toThe South Korean battery specialist is said to put additional 9.4m dollars into its battery factory in Holland, Michigan, to complete the installation of a fifth production line by August 2018.
This step is due to raising EV demand. In Holland, LG Chem produces batteries for the Chevrolet Bolt, among others. Thanks to the fifth production line, production capacity shall climb to 3 GWh annually.

I should have gotten this question in sooner; when we look at the cost of "EV", how much do we subsidize the cost of gasoline? With tax breaks and special accounting rules only oil companies get, TRILLIONS on wars....that are really about OIL.

Thanks for your feedback, we always like hearing from our viewers. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others can read it too.

John McElroy

I thought the best part was when you praised Tesla, the worst was when Phoebe said Ford produces more F-150 in a week, or a day, than Tesla produces in a year, and no one
batted an eye, to explain how uniformed she is. Though she is right that this will will be a bad year for American auto AR 15.1million. Clinging onto truck sales and large Suv's as your panel suggests.
Though the Ranger is a big hit, it takes sales away from the bigger trucks, where more money is made. In the ev spaces. U.S legacy auto will fall further behind, as your special guest says, despite claims to the contrary.
The U.S. becomes more of a walled garden of trucks and Suv's. The Koch Brothers dream becomes a reality. But it's more like a nightmare.
As regards your ev Armageddon Theory, it's bass akwards as we say down South. Demand is there just not that many evs are being produced, as the companies lack the capacity to
do so. Most have already sold-out their production for the year, they just can't produce that many vehicles. Constrained by battery pack availability.
Little Bob,

Thanks for your feedback as always.

One point to consider. It’s not a lack of inventory that’s holding back EV sales, it’s a lack of buyers. Last month the Nissan Leaf had 97 days’ worth of inventory on dealer lots, the Chevrolet Bolt had 183 days.

John McElroy

Hello from a long time podcast viewer who was born in the Motor City.
2018 Discovery Sport, ZF 9 speed
When motor is cold transmission won’t engage into reverse for two seconds or so after letting go of brake pedal.  My family is pressing on the gas to get car moving in that two seconds and the car accelerates super-fast without warning requiring one to slam on brakes.
Others are having the same problem.
LR USA says this is normal and per design.
Thanks in advance!

Thanks for sending this in. We’re going to publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others can read it too.

Even if LR is right and that this happens by design, then it’s not a good design.

John McElroy

I enjoyed the conversation regarding Tesla on the last Autoline After Hours.  I live in Columbus Ohio and a Tesla sighting may occur once or twice in a day.  Sometimes none.  When I see a Tesla I admire the styling, think of how the driver must feel in such an upscale vehicle that is rare around here and then think how I am glad they own it and not me.
I will never own an electric vehicle just for styling or status.  In fact if I live long enough I plan on skipping the battery electric vehicle cycle and hope to buy a fuel cell vehicle when perfected.
The one entertainment device I am glad I never bought was the HUGE video disc players when they first came out.  I will skip battery electric cars and wait for more practical technology.
Glenn W.

Thanks for your feedback. I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait a while for a FCEV, unless you figure out how to make hydrogen in your garage!

John McElroy

Hi John, just watched your showjust watched your show which was great as always. I had a few thoughts on several of the topics. First on the pot hole issue, the problem there is the formula to distribute the money. Right now any additional money raised must be distributed state wide based on an existing formula. So the last increase was a windfall for out state counties and little made it to the metro area where it is needed. 
Here is my take on ice vs. hybrid vs. phev vs. bev. I had thought that phev was the way to go but I now agree with you and GM that the cost is too high and who wants to plug in for 30 miles. As for the hybrids I think they are a good value for what you get. Start with a basic ICE and add turbo, direct injection, variable timing, cylinder deactivation and 10 speed trans and you’ve added quite a bit of cost. However take that basic ICE running the Atkins cycle and add a couple motors with an eCVT and you get better performance and efficiency/mileage then the “ecoboost” high tech ICE. BEV’s will grab hold when the car companies start designing them from the tires up as a BEV like Tesla did. The problem with the Leaf and Bolt is they are models that few want even with an ICE. If Tesla redesigned the Model X with cost in mind to bring the cost down I think it would sell better. Ford is now shipping 90% of the Fusions as hybrids. They can’t be losing too much money on them. Look at VW’s approach, they are going to build BEV’s on a dedicated architecture. Take what was highlighted in one of your shows about Nissan, they dropped the V6 engine to simplify and reduce weight. To design a chassis to except either a ICE or BEV is to compromise both. I would make my first BEV a CUV which is the hottest market segment. I think if Elon had taken the Model 3 concept to Ford to build in partnership where Ford was responsible for the body and Tesla did the electronics and motor it would of been delivered on time and at a lower cost.

Len E.

Good feedback, thanks for sending.

But one correction. Fusion hybrids account for 35% of Fusion sales, which is still a pretty good number.

John McElroy

This article sums up my concerns with GM and others maybe putting too much emphasis on electrics:
40% drop in range in cold weather and 20% drop in hot weather and Li batteries lose charge in the cold if the vehicle sits outside in the Winter.  Electrics may be great in moderate climates such as California and they are being mandated in other countries such as China and Europe but not good in Michigan unless as a 2nd vehicle.
GM needs to still focus on traditional reciprocating gas engines and hybrids at least for the next 15 to 20 years.  They now have switched to spending 70% R& D on electrics and only 30% on traditional engines.  I also don't like that they went to a lot of turbos, yes these get more power out of smaller engines and are OK for sporty mid to smallish sedans but there are added complexity and durability concerns and I don't see these really getting significantly better mileage like the Equinoxes my family drives.
I also see GM wants to spin off Cruise, I think GM management may be finally realizing the high cost of developing Autonomous vehicles and it will be many years before fully Autonomous vehicles become profitable.
Autonomous vehicles for now just a money pit for GM and others.
Rob A.

Thanks for your letter, we appreciate getting your feedback.

Two things to consider:

1. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight at home. So they leave the house every morning with a “full tank.” That helps mitigate reduced range in cold and hot weather.
2. GM is not looking to spin off Cruise because it’s a money pit. It’s looking at doing an IPO that will rake in a fortune for GM, which is Cruise’s largest shareholder.

John McElroy

My cousin asked me if I was aware of a fire problem with BMWs.
Have you heard anything?
ABC appears to be the main outlet hyping it in the last day or so and they are doing really shoddy reporting.
Previously, there were issues with diesel BMWs.
The recent ABC hype does not address the obvious diesel v. gasoline question.
New Haven, Connecticut

There are 476 fires every day in the US involving cars, trucks and busses. So it’s actually a fairly common occurrence. That’s not to say BMW doesn’t have a problem.

But be careful with ABC’s reporting on anything to do with automotive safety, they regale in it. And don’t be taken in by them citing the Center for Automotive Safety as a source. The Center is little more than a front for the plaintiff’s bar. It literally sells “how-to kits” to lawyers on how to sue automakers.

Fear of litigation has definitely forced automakers to improve safety. But our automotive safety is no better than Europe’s, which does not have anywhere near the level of litigation that we do.

John McElroy

Not to bring up an old term from the past but GM is using the old "whip sawing" tactic with both Unifor and the UAW as both  CAMMI & Lordstown have "sister" plants in Mexico that make the Cruze and Equinox/Terrain..
Unions dont have much leverage either when the vehicles they make at these plant are not selling too well.
With just in time production these days the UAW and Unifor can strike some of the parts plants and cause problems which I think Unifor just did a week or two ago in Canada.
I wish Unifor & UAW would finally be able to work together with these companies to keep jobs here in the MidWest but I guess we are not entirely there yet.  Stuff like the FCA  UAW training funds getting stolen does not help this.
One of my colleagues said that we will find out in 3 years if what GM is doing is either brilliant or suicidal.
I would rather fish with more lines in the water, continue to make traditional vehicles and gas engines certainly doing more refresh than redesigns and GM needs to be careful with all the money they are sinking into Autonomous and Electric Vehicles.
I did hear Valeo is putting effort into HVAC for electric vehicles since heating & cooling passengers will reduce battery range..not to mention LIthium batteries like my cell phone battery loses a lot of charge when left outside in the car when it is cold.
One more thing I wanted to mention is that it is "Deja Vu All Over Again!" with ride sharing companies like Maven and Lyft and Uber.
Remember when both GM and Ford both owned rental car companies I think Hertz for Ford and Avis or National for GM?   I thought it was a great way for both GM and Ford to make money on rentals and move iron.   They unfortunately made some mistakes like push some really cheesy cars & they needed to keep the cars maintained so they did not put their best foot forward and of course going back to my earlier monkey see monkey do statement they followed each other both buying rental car companies and selling them.
Exciting times in the Auto industry, hard to believe the Camry  I think has the most US American parts content.... new Ranger pickup just in time to saturate the mid size pickup market.
Bob A.

When I look at the logo on the front of the Wuling Baujun 530, I see the old Chrysler Eagle logo, but looking the other direction.
Neil G
I dunno. One’s a horse, the other’s an eagle.

John McElroy

John and Sean,
This is sort of related to a recent unsigned viewermail letter about noise.  Do you know if the "performance exhaust" available on C7 Corvettes, and some other recent performance cars, is even DOT legal on public roads in the "loud" mode?  If it is, it shouldn't be.  To me, the standard Corvette exhaust is fine.  It's loud enough to sound good when you get on it, but quiet enough that you barely hear the exhaust at steady speed, which is how I like it.  As a result, I ordered my 2016 'Vette without the noisy exhaust option.
Anyway, I find the optional Corvette exhaust to be obnoxiously loud in the "loud mode," and wonder about its legality on the street.
Thanks for any info you may have.
Kit Gerhart

Good question, we’ll have to look into it.

John McElroy

Hi John,
I’ve been asked to write a short article on Rick Haas for the the University of Michigan website that showcases the university’s engagement with the city of Detroit, and I could use your help. Would you be willing to give me a quote with your view on the significance or impact of Mahindra’s tech/engineering operation in Southeast Michigan? How significant is their growth? Is the industry taking notice? Is the India-outsourcing-to-the-US unique, to your knowledge? 
I want to characterize them accurately, and your expertise will keep me between the guard rails. Thanks in advance.
Dave Wilkins

The fact that Mahindra set up a design and engineering center, as well as manufacturing in southeast Michigan speaks volumes about the technical capabilities and talent that the metro Detroit area offers. That center even designed a minivan that will not be sold in the North American market. Clearly, Mahindra decided it was better to do that work in Detroit than with its own engineers in India, or anywhere else in the world.

But Mahindra is not the only foreign automaker to recognize the opportunities that metro Detroit offers. Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen-Audi have engineering campuses in the region. Several other automakers including Mercedes, Subaru, Mazda, Lotus, Isuzu, Changan, and Guangzhou, also have engineering labs and offices in the area. Many Tier 1 suppliers, from Europe, Latin America, Japan, Korea and China have significant engineering and business centers in the metro region as well.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Some time ago, you mentioned recycling Li-Ion batteries and thought this might be of interest. Dagogo Altraide does a good job on putting together YouTube presentations and thought this one might be of interest to you.
Ruby now is at 17,500 miles and everything is doing fine. Love driving her as much as ever. Took her to Evannex in Dearfield yesterday for a Tesla "Cars and Coffee" event. Last year there were 4 Teslas and this year the number increased to 166. I went to meet a few of the YouTubers including Trevor Page from Model 3 Owners Club in Toronto. Podcast Partners Eric and Ian were also there. 
I was also interested in getting information on special protective coatings. There were a bunch of examples of coated cars to see first hand.
Instead of including my photos, here is a link with photos better than mine and with discussion. 
By the way, stopped by the Delay Beach Supercharger station on the way home and there were only about 5 cars charging of the about 20 total available. Had a Taco in the Delray Beach Marketplace (took about 30 minutes) and returned to Sebring. 
Best Regards, Frank

Thanks for sending these links, especially for recycling of EV batteries. But what this video shows is that this EV battery recycling is still in the research phase and most batteries are going to the landfill. Ironically, that’s not true of lead acid batteries, which are almost 100% recycled, because there is market demand for the lead, which is cheap and easy to extract.

Market demand will be a huge factor in the success of recycling EV batteries. Even if this research is successful it doesn’t guarantee EV batteries will be recycled unless there is enough market demand for the raw materials that result from the process.

Today we have the technical know-how to recycle the plastics used in cars. But almost none of it is recycled because virgin plastic is substantially cheaper. And none of the glass in cars gets recycled, despite decades of research trying to find a solution. Glass is not recycled because of plastic laminates, tinting and defrosting materials embedded in the glass.

John McElroy

I never thought this would happen, but I wonder how soon GM's US market share around 17% will drop below that of FCA which is near 13.5%.  GM had over 48% share in 1962 and it keeps dropping.
GM ditching rather than doing low cost refresh (like FCA with Challenger/Charger/300) on its car lines I feel is a big mistake.  For example, take a look at the dated front of the Impala.  It looks like the front of the Chevy Traverse from 2014!
I don't think GM has thought through the simple fact that lower market share means less revenue.
GM management also thinks they can keep raising prices (new vehicle and leases) on all of their vehicles to maintain margins.
That wont fly either in today's tougher sales environment, especially if they don't update their products!
Yes, another sad chapter in GM's history.  Stay tuned, there will unfortunately be more plant closings to come.
Rob A.
GM finished last year with 17.1% share, versus 12.9% for FCA. Toyota (14.1%) is more likely to catch GM than FCA, but your point is well taken. FCA has done a brilliant job with the old Charger/Challenger/300 which, by the way, get a major refresh later this year.

John McElroy

I saw a thought-provoking piece in this morning's Free Press, John.  It was an opinion piece by Brian Dickerson, and evaluated a road fix proposal advanced by former Michigan politicos Messrs. Emerson and Sikkema, calling for a gradual fuel tax increase.  The idea of using a larger fuel tax as the basis for funding road repair in our state struck me as both sound and fair this morning, as it has all along.
What's your view of the proposed solution?

Taxing fuel will be a loser in the long term. The United States now uses 1/3 less gasoline than it did 20 years ago thanks to fuel efficiency improvements in cars and trucks. Electric cars are going to accelerate that trend, and they don’t pay any fuel tax at all. Ride sharing will also have a big impact. So fuel taxes will have to go up continuously as we use less and less gasoline and diesel. Getting the public to go along with a fuel tax increase is almost impossible, which is why we’re so underfunded today.

The long term solution is a tax on every mile driven by a vehicle. There will be more miles driven in the future and so the more the roads are used, the more funding they’ll generate.

In the short term, Michigan should devote every penny from the sales tax on gasoline to improving roads and bridges. Right now that 6% sales tax on gas mainly goes to schools. Our schools are also underfunded but I believe it will be a lot easier to raise taxes to improve schools than it will be to raise the tax on gasoline.

John McElroy

An interesting read.  I have no idea if he knows what He’s talking about.

Interesting Take on Electric Cars

"As an engineer I love the electric vehicle technology.  However, I
have been troubled for a longtime by the fact that the electrical
energy to keep the batteries charged has to come from the grid and
that means more power generation and a huge increase in the
distribution infrastructure  Whether generated from coal, gas, oil,
wind or sun, installed generation capacity is limited.  A friend sent
me the following that says it very well. You should all take a look
at this short article.

In case you were thinking of buying hybrid or an electric car:

Ever since the advent of electric cars, the REAL cost per mile of
those things has never been discussed. All you ever heard was the mpg
in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity
to run it . This is the first article I've ever seen and tells the
story pretty much as I expected it to.

Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power things
yet they're being shoved down our throats.  Glad somebody finally put
engineering and math to paper.

At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, a BC Hydro
Executive.  I asked him how that renewable thing was doing.  He laughed, then got serious.
If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, he pointed out, you
had to face certain realities.  For example, a home charging system
for a Tesla requires 75 amp service.  The average house is equipped
with 100 amp service.  On our small street (approximately 25 homes),
The electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three
houses with a single Tesla, each.  For even half the homes to have
electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.

This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles.  Our
residential infrastructure cannot bear the load. So as our genius
elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged
to buy these things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems
with expensive, new windmills and solar cells, but we will also have
to renovate our entire delivery system!   This latter "investment"
will not be revealed until we're so far down this dead end road that
it will be presented with an 'OOPS...!' and a shrug.

If you want to argue with a green person over cars that are
eco-friendly, just read the following.  Note: If you ARE a green
person, read it anyway.  It's enlightening.

Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors and
he writes, "For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted
only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.
"Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran
on the battery.  So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the
16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph.  Then add 10
hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5
hours.  In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging
Time) would be 20 mph.
According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of
electricity.  It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.
The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned ,
so I looked up what I pay for electricity.

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16
per kwh. 16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.
$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the
Volt using the battery.  Compare this to a similar size car with a
gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg.  $3.19 per gallon divided by 32
Mpg = $0.10 per mile.

The gasoline powered car costs about $25,000 while the Volt costs
$46,000 plus.  So the American Government wants loyal Americans not to
do the math, but simply pay twice as much for a car, that costs
more than seven times as much to run, and takes three times longer to
drive across the country."

This stupid urban legend has been making the rounds for several years. Did you notice no one signed their name to this?

Does who-ever-this-is live on Mars? He says he pays $1.16 per kwh. Really? Here in Michigan I pay 13 cents per kwh at home and 11 cents per kwh at work, and that includes everything: electricity, delivery charges and taxes. Check your own electric bill, I’ll bet it’s very similar.

So when he claims it costs him $18.56 to charge the battery in a Volt, the real cost is more like $2.08. He says the Volt only got 25 miles range, but it’s rated at 53 and I know owners who get that (at least in warm weather). So the cost per mile is more like 4 cents, not the 74 cents cited.

Also his recharging times cited are with 110-volt outlets. Most EV owners have put 240 v chargers in their garages which cut the time by more than half, and while travelling they have access in many locations to Level III (440 v) that charge far faster.

This is just an anti-EV screed that was probably planted by the Russians to make the US government look bad. None of it is true.

John McElroy

I enjoyed today’s show with Volvo featured and their plans for electric cars.
It occurs to me with all the rush to develop electric cars by all the major car manufacturers an important component is not being addressed. Where is the source of all the electrical energy to power all these vehicles’? The power grid will not support a major influx of vehicles’ without major infrastructure construction. It has been years since a new power plant was constructed and if started tomorrow would probably take 10-15 years before a kW was generated.
How about a show discussing this topic?

We’ve actually covered this before. The electric utilities say they can handle millions of electric cars with the grid as it is.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Hi John,
I heard your article on WWJ 950 on why so many people don't get a motorcycle even though they want to. I fall into this category, I am 64 retired have had ten motorcycles and my wife gets livid when I even look at one. As much as I love motorcycling I too am aware of the risks but anything fun comes with risk but distracted driving has raised the (uncontrollable) risk level to stop my purchase. I think the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) has a very important role to play here that in till now has ignored. If the AMA wants to expand its sport they should go after distracted driving with the same gusto that MAD went after drunk driving and get strict distracted laws passed. I am on the roads everyday and see distracted driving constantly and feel this is a much bigger issue for autos and motorcycles than alcohol or pot and we should have laws with equal severity. The AMA knows the ropes here with its success weakening the helmet laws, With the future of motorcycling on the line they should take no prisoners. While we are at it we need to get rid of post and cable guardrails used on expressways or as I refer to them as cheese-grader guardrails which comes to mind if you hit one on a motorcycle.
Thanks Mike

Great feedback, especially your points about the AMA and post-and-cable guardrails!

Driver distraction is a dead serious issue.

John McElroy

Having grown up a few miles away form the GM tech center, I have always rooted for GM. However, it seems like the company almost never quite gets the right things right.  For example, the new Chevy pickup is good, but not good enough.  It’s the company bread winner and should receive GM’s greatest efforts.  I’m afraid Ram is going to eat Chevy’s lunch, because the people at Ram sought to delight customers with more cohesive style and a great new interior with top level materials.  Chevy’s style is “Meh,” and the dashboard is a warmed over version of the previous model.  Ram’s increasing market share indicates they are on the right track.  Mileage is very close as is the price, so it boils down to decisions during design.  It can also be said of the new Cadillac CT6; the auto press seems underwhelmed.  Why can’t GM hit a home run or even a triple?


I agree. GM’s recent designs are competent, but not scintillating. The new Cadillac XT6 is underwhelming. It’s almost as if they’re playing it safe, instead of playing to win.

John McElroy

To whom it may concern,
I'm writing to bring your attention to a growing trend created by the automotive (and motorcycle)
industries. That of increasing noise pollution in our quiet communities due to "exhaust note". All Americans
deserve quiet, safe, and sane neighborhoods, our urban environments are noisy enough without inconsiderate
vehicle owners going out of their way to make it noisier in worship of their vehicles and need for attention.
The recent marketing tactics of exhaust note, horsepower, and 0 to 60 times by the industry has created a car
culture of Americans who think more of their cars, and perceived freedom to modify their exhausts to get more
of an aggressive sound, than they do of the lives of their fellow Americans. Indeed, these days right off the
showroom floor many high performance vehicles come equipped with loud exhaust systems. Many of these vehicles
can't even be driven to their full potential unless by breaking the law. And many owners are happy to do so.
They blast through our communities showing off their horsepower, 0 to 60 times, and exhaust note. Companies
like Borla and Magnaflow prosper by making our communities noisier. And of course that is the bottom line,
profit. Never mind if these products destroy the quality of life of other Americans as long as one can profit.
I wrote "perceived freedom" because it is in fact against the law in many states to modify exhaust systems for
a louder vehicle. But law enforcement are too busy dealing with more pressing duties and it's too
difficult to do field tests on suspect vehicles. Would't it make more sense if the American people that are
addicted to and worship their cars be polite and police themselves? Why should civility, respect, and consideration be imposed by law enforcement in the greatest country on earth?Do we love our country in the sense that
we would set aside selfish behavior for the sake of others, or do we love our country because we can be
selfish and treat other Americans lives like they don't matter just as long as we can do whatever we want?
Thank you for your time and consideration in reading my communication.

John and Sean,
Just finished watching Autoline This Week - Wards 10 Best Engines. During the show the topic of who had the most efficient electric car came up. The correct answer is the Hyundai Ioniq (136 combined), Tesla 3 Long Range (130 combined)m Hyundai Kona (120 combined), and Chevy Bolt (119 combined). Here is a link that will show the comparison.  
George, thanks for sending!

John McElroy

Went to use my spare FOB that I keep in my garage to move my 2014 Dodge Journey to clean the snow.  The battery was dead on the FOB so the vehicle could not be started. There should be a key slot to use in cases like this like they have for the door. I will never by another vehicle that has a push button FOB start.  Also the car makers call them FOB's but when I leave the vehicle with the car running the message on the instrument panel states "The Key has Left The Vehicle", why?.  Very sad, I have been driving for over 60 years but these car makers have to much time on there hands to make something simple complicated not to mention expensive, it cost me over $200.00 for an extra FOB when I brought the car.  Dominick
Did you consult your owner’s manual or look for a YouTube video about how to solve this problem? There is a key hidden in the fob you can remove to unlock the driver’s door, and if you push the Start button with the fob the engine will start, even with a dead fob.

John McElroy

It's to bad the Toyota Supra is under-powered and automatic only. How can Mr.Toyoda say it's a sports car without rowing the gears?

Hi John, I watched the Sandy Munro's Tesla Deep Dive After Hours and it was difficult to stay attentive throughout the show.  It seemed to me that Sandy was a bit agitated with the American Auto Manufacturers that they have a ton of BS engineers, but they are just not as good as Tesla's.  I can say that GM has engineers looking into the best solutions for electric propulsion and that their designs will be turning heads with great reliability durability and efficiency in the new vehicles they are working on.  It almost appears that you all have drank the kool aid and are now in lock step with Tesla. I guess that all car companies should close up shop because there is no better company than Tesla.  I also wonder why Autoline did not cover the battery fire on a Model S that happened on December 19.  When a GM Volt caught on fire, a month later after a crash test, the government made GM recall and fix all Volts for this problem.  That news was fully reported.  I guess that it is OK to let customers do the testing of vehicles for Tesla, and if someone looses their life while driving in autopilot well that was the drivers fault for not following directions.  I cannot defend companies like GM for their bone headed moves that turn the public against them, but they still design and build great cars that stand the test of time.  The same is true for Ford and FCA.  I would like to know how some of Sandy's people loved the Model 3 so much they went out and purchased one of their own.  I thought that you had to put down a $1000 deposit and then wait a year or longer before you get your car.  What is going to happen to the money people put down for a $30,000 Model 3?  We all know that these cars will never be built.  The big problem with sales of the Bolt is the bow tie on the grill.  Just about every review I have seen on the Bolt is that it is a very good car.  By the way, the report you had the other day on Nisan testing paint using a weatherometer was a good one only that GM has been doing this since the 70s.    Oh well, keep it coming, I still watch everyday.
We agree with you that GM makes superb cars and trucks. But when it comes to electrics nobody is even close to Tesla. As much as I like the Bolt, the Model 3 is a more interesting car. Having said that, the Bolt’s I drove have cost about $40,000, while the Model 3’s I’ve driven were about $50,000, so they should be nicer.

You no longer have to wait a year to get a Tesla. Some people are now getting theirs in weeks. And we will probably see Tesla Model 3’s priced under $40,000 sometime this year.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John, having David Welch on the program with Sandy Munro was perfect. With Sandy coverning the mechanical side and David bring the financial expertise  they were a perfect match.

Chuck Genrich
Thanks Chuck, we agree. David adds a lot to the discussion and that’s why we asked him to join us for that show with Sandy.

John McElroy

Yes, assuming GM is killing the Cruze completely, closing both plants in Ohio and Mexico is yet another GM poor decision.
GM could have made the station wagon Cruze and brought back a sporty Cruze to goose sales.  They did make a diesel Cruze that was a nice effort but too expensive so with low gas prices and VW DieselGate it never gained traction.
That new Regal station wagon looks great, but the dealers do not seem to be promoting it much and it is very expensive, dealers seem to be only pushing pickups and SUVs.  Don't understand why GM is purposely not promoting their cars including Impala.  I guess GM wants to squeeze a few more bucks out of their customers.
GM continues to stumble rather than being aggressive with better marketing and pricing instead they go the Hare Kari route and fall on their sword again giving up more market share.
I have been in the Auto Industry for almost 40 years and the Cruze is by far the best small car GM has ever made.
So Sad.

Dear Mr. JOHN MCELROY :   Hi there, how are you?   First, please let me say how Shocked, Stunned, Honored and Humbled I was to actually receive and email from a great, famous, and important auto journalist like you!!!!  I tried to send you a reply yesterday, but I don't know if the DAMN thing went through!!! (I am pretty much computer illiterate, and can't even spell Lincoln!!!,)    Anyway, I was so very pleased you found it amusing, because I was afraid you might be insulted, and I certainly didn't mean it that way!!!  OF COURSE!!! I watched your show yesterday with Mr. Sandy Munro, and it was a GREAT SHOW!!!  WHAT A GREAT WAY TO KICK OFF "AFTER HOURS " FOR 2019!!!  THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR DEVOTING YOUR WHOLE SHOW TO HIM!!!!  INTERESTING, FASCINATING, INTELLIGENT, DOWN TO EARTH, PLAINSPEAKING, SHOOT FROM THE HIP GUY!!!   I look forward to seeing him again on future shows!!!


Much more detail on the Volvo ozone conversion radiator coating story.  
I thought this was interesting at the time and then never heard much
more about it.

Turns out there is more to the story.  Still, . . . not sure why all
automakers aren't using this today.  In climate improvement, every
little bit helps!

GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

As the story says, the Premair catalyst/radiator added cost with not a lot of benefit. If it was truly a cheap solution to reducing pollution all automakers would be doing it.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John, Gary,
Great show to kick the year off. Important to listen to to the mics go dead. 
The Chinese are coming as Sandy said, but President Xi has hobbled innovation by having the Chinese Communist Party look over everybody's shoulder via the web. Why take risks when they could land you in gaol for life.
Best discussion of Tesla I've seen so far. Would love to see more of Sandy's insights into Tesla. In the meantime, American ingenuity is expressed via Youtuber 'Rich Rebuilds' - learn a lot about Teslas from his vids. Rich has another defining American quality that is a key to success - optimism in the face of adversity and bureaucracy, while not being full of yourself. I bet he is a guest on your show one day.

Thanks for your feedback once again. We’ll see if we can track down this Rich fellow.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

The episode #477 was a brilliant discussion and greatly appreciated having Sandy on the show again. I have only one comment, Tesla Super Chargers... I do not see how any manufacture from the Big 3 or Germany will hinder Tesla sales until there is a national charging network that can support them.
Taycan and e-tron are great cars but if you had one today, try to drive it from Detroit to LA. 

Best Regards,

You’re absolutely right, Tesla has a major charging advantage right now. But in 3-4 years this will probably change.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

DEAR MR. JOHN MCELROY: HOW ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOUR BOYS, SHAMUS+AMOS?(OPPS! SEAN!!)  HOPE YOUR HOLIDAYS WENT WELL!!  RESPECTS AND CONDOLENCES OF YOUR LOSING BATTLE WITH THE COMB-OVER(GARY'S AIN'T GOING ANY BETTER!!!).   I wanted to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU LET SEAN GIVE US ON DAILY, THAT SANDY MONROE WOULD BE YOUR FIRST GUEST ON AFTER HOURS NEW YEAR'S SHOW!!!  THAT GUY IS ONE INTERESTING AND FASCINATING SON ON A GUN!!!  HOPE HE'S ON THE WHOLE HOUR!!!  I GUARRANTEE YOU I WILL NOT MISS THAT SHOW!!!! Also, liked your interview with the Lincholn Lady, Joy Falotico.  Two things that bothered me though 1) while I love Jean Jennings and Paul Brian(gotta admit I love Lauren Fix a little more than Paul!!) was he wearing flesh-colored panty hose or no sox??  Sonny Cricket he ain't!!!  2) I know you must of had a lot more questions for Joy and did have to "share" her with your panel, but I assume your getting mail from every truck nut in the country who's HEAD EXPLODED when they heard the hybrid Aviators's gonna have 600 lb/ft. of torque!!!  I'm sure they're all begging you to find out at the Detroit Car Show how long it will take for this powertrain to "trickle down" to the Navigator, Expedition, but ESPECIALLY the pick-up trucks!!!   I'm guessing it will be exclusive to the Aviator for 1 year, then the big SUV's, then the Raptor before the mainstream trucks, but I think that will be one THE MAJOR STORIES FROM THE DETROIT 2019 AUTO SHOW!!!!  THANK SO MUCH FOR ALLOWING MY COMMENTS TO REACH YOUR SITE!!!   CHAS, Plainville, Ct.(yeah, just as boring as it sounds,sorry Mr Musk!!!)

Thanks for your letter, I really got a good laugh from it. Time for me to see a hair stylist!

You’ve got good instincts about that hybrid powertrain making its way to the F-series. Let’s see if they uses NAIAS to make the announcement or keep their powder dry for another day.

John McElroy

Let's face it the dealership model is broken, on both ends, and it's about time that this antiquated model of getting cars to people is put out of its misery.
Of course it won't go without kicking and screaming. They are deeply dug in politically. Just look at Texas, all the branch water & whiskey, cigar smoking, good ole' boys, that call
the shots, but even they will eventually succumb to a superior model, which is direct sales, as in Tesla, who were  virtually forced into, what will turn out to be, the new paradigm for selling cars.
You guys joke about the big rings and watches, salesmen, but then have them on your show to talk about the direction of car sales in the future, as inside experts.
Having car salespeople on the show is like going to talk the buggy whip manufacturers and asking them about the new fangled horseless carriages that are all the rage.
Bottom line: Dealers have  few defenders and no defense.
Merry Christmas.
I guess it's ok to say that again, though I never stopped saying it in the first place.

Little Bob
Little Bob,

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

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

How does it make sense to stop Cruze production?  Weren’t sales still above 100k per year?
Meanwhile, GM is still buying back stock at a time it is laying off employee to save money.
Is this just a pre-emptive move to gain a stronger position before the next UAW negotiations?   How does this make sense in the big picture ?
“The scope of the stock buybacks dwarfs the estimated $5 billion, GM expects to save with its plans to close manufacturing plants in North America, critics have noted.”
Cruze sales will probably be around 150,000 this year, down 20%. But you only need one shift to make that, and the Lordstown plant can’t be profitable on one shift—not selling entry level cars, that is.

GM stock stinks, and buybacks are considered a way to return shareholder value, theoretically boosting the share price over time. I don’t agree with this approach, but that’s the theory. GM could possibly face a hostile take-over if it didn’t do this.

No question GM’s move will give it enormous bargaining power against the UAW in next year’s contract negotiations. But that’s not why it’s making these moves.

GM needs about 12 assembly plants to make all the vehicles it sells in North America. It has 17 plants. Three of those 17 assembly plants are now “unallocated.” Clearly there’s room for two more to go on the chopping block.

Buckle up, this is just the first indication of the massive disruption about to hit the auto industry. Ford will drop the next bombshell.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

I think "the tortoises are winning" comments in the Free Press article pretty much sums it up with GM and Ford.
Big Question is Which companies have been taking the long term view which as you know is 10 years or more and which companies have been taking the short term view?
VW, and the Japanese continue to invest some in cars and keep bringing out new models..I just saw the new Toyota Supra and VW Passat while GM and Ford give up more market share by dumping their cars except expensive ones like the Lincoln Continental with suicide doors at +$100K.
Yes, GM upper management could look at what Rick Wagoner did after 9/11 with the "Let's get GM Rolling Again" lower price program and not want to do that but those were different times.  
I would lower car prices, make them affordable for the many people who dont make a lot of money with some who live paycheck to paycheck and need newer wheels and they could still make money on these cars rather than shut down plants and yes go after rental and fleet car business such as police and governments...these are good cars for the most part, yes the Taurus Ford 500 has gotten below average reliability ratings but the other GM and Ford cars with some refresh could do fine with better pricing.
GM and Ford have been making money, so there should be no valid reasons to do what they are doing and YES they need to watch what they are spending on autonomous development and not just keeping throwing money at this...
Just giving up market will eventually put both companies out of business or they will be bought by other car makers such as VW for Ford.  Maybe a Chinese car maker with GM.  US government wont bail out GM next time with fewer US plants.

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

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Can you discuss potential modern roles for gasoline turbine engines in autos? Possibly as hybrid range extenders? Is the problem a general lack of thermal efficiency?
Greensboro, NC

Gasoline engines will be around for decades to come. But they will get electrified for greater efficiency and they will be used for range extenders.

The problem with gasoline engines is their CO2 emissions. If not for that, not many people would be talking about EVs.

John McElroy

Hello John,
I should have mentioned in my previous email how much I enjoy your Autoline shows. I am fascinated by the auto industry because I love cars and I see the immense power auto technology has to shape our society.
One more thing about my question that you might find interesting.
My curiosity is about any potential efficiency and packaging advantages that might be associated with turbine versus piston-based EV range extender solutions. I know that turbines were looked at and found unsuitable for direct-drive solutions long ago so I was wondering if the range-extender application might bring them back.
Again, thanks so much to you and Sean for your entertaining and informative shows.
Gas turbine engines offer a lot of promise. My first interview as a reporter was with Sam Williams of Williams Research which makes gas turbine engines for cruise missiles. In 1978 he assured me that gas turbine engines for automobiles would be ready for production in 1982. Well, that came and went.

The problem with these engines is their cost. They use very expensive materials that can withstand high temperatures, and even though many have experimented with ceramic parts to bring the cost down, no one has achieved that yet.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Sean, John, Gary,

Do you suppose Rivian has US military contracts?

Rivian has not said anything about military contracts and I think it’s doubtful its vehicles would meet military specs.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John:  I enjoy your commentary on WWJ 950 and I respect your opinions, I heard you several years ago at a Siemens/LMS mini conference at the Hotel next to Fairlane Mall.
I do think GM and Ford are taking big risks spending all this money on autonomous vehicles and they should stay in cars.   Like fishing, best to keep several lines in the water with not just Pickups and SUVs.  It is a war of attrition they should realize other Auto makers like the Japanese, Koreans, European automakers ain't going anywhere.  there are a lot of working people out there who have an old vehicle who don't make the big bucks who want a new or newer car with average US fleet over 12 years still getting older who could swing a $20K new vehicle. 
I dont have all the answers, I know the rules on CAFE are different for cars than SUVs/Trucks and with Trump as president increases with CAFE are being delayed but Trump will be gong in 2 or 6 years.
Yes, GM and Ford need to watch their costs, OK GM is pushing for layoffs yet I think they will still be making Cruzes in Mexico yet they asked the US government to not have to pay tariffs on the Envision from China and now they want the tax credits on electric vehicles extended.  Maybe it is a UAW/Unifor 2019 negotiating tactic am not sure what they are thinking.
In any case, GM looks real bad right now....I dont think Mary Barra's $22 MIllion salary looks all that good either when Toyota/Honda CEOs make less.  Yes, executive pay here in the US is high and I guess you gotta pay for good talent but it has not been all that long since GM took over $8 billlion from US taxpayers and GM also gets millions in tax breaks with the Old and New GM being able to carry forward tax losses, I dont hear many people talk about that?
I agree GM should watch what they spend.... they need to look at everything including the $500 million they spend on Automonous/Electric vehicles, CEO/excecutive pay and they should be willing to put some money into vehicle refresh and better marketing....and I am hearing GM is making a big push on electric powertrains, they need to also keep working on traditional gasoline powered engines. How about Mazda with their CI gasoline engines, do you see Mazda making any breakthroughs with that technology? 
PS   I want to correct myself on car sales, looks like FCA Challenger/Charger car sales are holding so not going up a lot but that is good in this environment especially with these cars getting long in the tooth. I think this is due to their slick marketing promoting high horse power engines etc. while GM/Ford car sales slipping due to little marketing and self inflicted wounds, pretty much saying they are getting out of the car business.
I remember the last guy who ran Oldsmobile, who when GM said they were killing all the Olds models he said that "They shot out the horse I was riding on!"
I think I heard that on the old JP McCarthy radio program on WJR....

Thanks for your letter, I really like hearing back from our viewers. And as for Mazda’s CI engine, yes I think this could be something of a breakthrough that will make the ICE more viable than most people expected.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

On Autoline After Hours I was listening to the discussion about Tesla cars and the model 3 and there was a couple topics you did not get into. One is the high cost of insurance. The model S and X are considered luxury cars and luxury cars have higher insurance rates than regular cars. When you get into an accident with most cars you can take them to the repair shop of your choice. But with Tesla’s you have to go to a Tesla approved shops and of course they charge more. Relatively minor accident damage that would cost 3 to 5 thousand on most cars costs several times more on a Tesla.  If you look at several of the sites that sell totaled cars you can find Tesla’s with that look easy to repair, but they are totaled.  Some insurance companies announced that they would increase their rates on Tesla’s vehicles based on a report that claimed “abnormally high claim frequencies” from Tesla owners.
If you are looking at buy a used Tesla and you want to find out the warranty repair history and if any recall repairs have be completed on the car you are looking at, Tesla will NOT provide you with this information.
If you buy a Tesla with a salvaged title, Tesla will NOT sell you any parts and will not provide you any information about the car


Really enjoyed last week’s program with Henry talking about his adventures in the Tesla. 
Can you have him back in the Spring to tell us how he did with it after a Michigan winter?

Great idea. We’ll have him back to get an update.

John McElroy

All these brands of midsize trucks are very different from one another, which makes me think there is more potential for this segment.


Hi John, love the show. Is there Any update on the proposed Ford/VW deal? Ford is in bad shape, dated products, bland styling and a limited portfolio. Unless you want 1 of the 2000 variants of the f150 they sell.
We’re getting very close to a VW-Ford announcement, but nothing yet.

Don’t give up on Ford. In 2019 alone it will launch the new Mustang GT 350, the Ranger pickup, the Bronco SUV, a new Escape, and a new Explorer. I think there might be a new Transit Connect as well. And Lincoln is getting the new Nautilus and Aviator.

By the end of 2020 Ford will have revamped almost everything and will have the freshest lineup in the industry.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Thanks for the many years of great and thoughtful reporting. 
I've been fascinated by the Carlos Ghosn scandal and all the conspiracy theories floating around, especially this most recent one in the AP
My question is, how do such large companies find themselves being controlled by much smaller ones, like the renault-nissan alliance? 
We saw the same thing a few years back when Porsche was attempting to control Volkswagen. And now especially within FCA. The smaller company controls the larger company where all the revenue is generated.
Is it possible that we'll see something like this again in the future at companies like FCA?
Thanks again,
Renault controls Nissan because Nissan was almost bankrupt when Renault bought a controlling interest in it.

Porsche tried to take control of VW because it’s then CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, suffered delusions of grandeur and thought he could manipulate the stock to take over the parent company. He avoided going to jail but was forced to resign.

Fiat controls Chrysler because the Obama Administration was going to shut Chrysler down unless someone took it over. But the Fiat brand doesn’t make any money and it’s highly likely it will not survive in the long run.

John McElroy

Love the YouTube channel. It’s the one that I don’t miss any of the episodes.
I recently came across the following info on EV, Oil, ICE impact. I would love to see/hear what John the following infothinks about this info. It has an explanation for the dropping car sales that I haven’t heard put forward by anyone in the industry. How credible is this analysis?

Thank you,

I think these gentlemen are myopically optimistic about EVs. ICE passenger cars will go to zero by 2025? There will be 1 billion EVs by 2032? C’mon, this is ludicrous (and I don’t mean Tesla’s performance mode). I’m not a betting man, but I’d bet $1 million that they turn out to be wrong.

Pass car sales are not dropping because customers are waiting for their EV equivalents. No one is waiting. Total sales are up this year because customers are buying CUVs, SUVs and pickups instead.

John McElroy


In your latest after hours there was a remark about Teslas being built in the Netherlands. That is true, they are assembled in their 'factory' in Tilburg. A city about 20 miles from where I live. The Tesla body, electric engines and battery pack are shipped separately to Tilburg and put together again on the assembly line before they do the final quality checks. All to avoid import charges, like you mentioned on the show. They quietly expanded the capacity last year for the arrival of the model 3. As a new owner you can choose to pick up your car from the plant. By the way Tesla's European headquarters are located in Amsterdam.


John and Sean:  Thanks for getting back to me.
I forgot to mention that besides giving up most the rental car business to companies like Hyundai/Kia and others, GM and Ford are also abandoning the Police persuit sedan business to Dodge Charger.
Yes, fleet sales are not as lucrative as retail but how many more countries and market segment can be abandoned by GM and Ford?
What will happen when pickup and SUV markets become saturated and less lucrative?

You ask a great question that no one wants to deal with: What will happen when pickup and SUV markets become saturated and less lucrative?

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Hey guys. Great show as always.
With the release of the Hyundai Palisade I was blown away by the looks of the car - both the interior and exterior - continuing the generally high design standard that Hyundai has achieved in recent years. That said, I think the excellence of the Palisade's design was marred by that horrible Hyundai logo, which looks like a dated leftover from the '90s. I can't help but think if Hyundai invested in a new logo there'd only be an upside, since I doubt there is much brand equity in the current one. Do you agree? Are there any other manufacturer's logos or wordmarks you think also don't do the brands justice?
Love tuning in every Thursday!
- Mattia, Los Angeles, CA

You raise a good point. It may be time for Hyundai to update its logo. Almost all automakers have updated their logo over the years.

And while we’re talking about it, Kia should do the same.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Yes, it was helpful to hear that discussion about the name last week.  I too would have thought Comanche would be a logical successor to that light duty truck of the 80s that competed with the Ranger and S10.
I am really surprised you don't remember the Gladiator as it was sold for at least ten years through the 60s into the 70s and advertised as such.  But, using that name indicates they will not do a bigger Jeep pickup off the RAM platform or future Wagoneer.  Check out that wikipedia piece on the model.
In some ways, the new Jeep makes the Ridgeline seem more appealing.

Hi John
In your last show,  I saw where you finally got to drive a Model 3. Did you get a chance to experience the adaptive speed and steering control. 
I was recently was driving to Sebring raceway in autopilot doing speed limit of 45 and at a hairpin turn, it slowed to 25 and stayed in its lane. A 1st time passenger was amazed.
Here is a video link I just found of the Model 3 on a racetrack. Don't know the driver,  but if you click on the small down arrow on YouTube video for notes, you will see improvements in lap times from a previous setup. 
Merry Christmas, Frank
PS. Just saw a chart of Tesla  stock price (Up) vs the other US manufacturers (all Down). It would be interesting to hear Bob Lutz's forecast now? My guess it may be a touchy subject, so likely not a good topic as all other manufacturers are closing lines and it is hurting their employees. Sad to see and to think GM could have been the EV leader if they would have continued with improvements on the EV1.
Next time we have Bob Lutz on After Hours, we’ll ask him!

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John, in reference to your Autoline insight on electrical trolley cars possibly being the future.
I'd like to make the comment..."kinda" However, i think stringing more electrical lines overhead has too many limitations and too many issues.
I think it might be something closer to subway's or metro rail. 
Power grids embedded in the roadway (think slot car tracks) 
possibly more viable option.
what do you think 
Rob Michel
The program in Germany is a test. Stringing up wires is the fastest and cheapest way to conduct this test.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John love all your shows! Long time listener/viewer, first time reaching out.
I just started reading The Reckoning by David Halberstam: have you read it and what did you think of it?
That's all for now!
Lincoln CA
The Reckoning is a great book, but it describes an industry that is now very different from when it was written. As a historical record it's extremely worth reading, with excellent insights. But I wouldn't use it to draw too many parallels to today.

John McElroy

Working for an auto supplier here in Michigan I have to write you, as I see potential dead ends for the US auto manufacturers especially GM and Ford at the present time.
Both companies are abandoning cars and taking big gambles on Autonomous vehicles and I see too many issues with getting this going in the next 10 or 15 years including the possibilities of vehicles getting hacked especially if vehicles are to talk to one another or to other things....and there are special situations such as when the power goes out and traffic signals no longer work or when roads are closed such as when there is an accident, lets say an autonomous vehicle is supposed to go a special way lets say the wrong way.  So spending $500 mill by GM and $300 mill by Ford as you said is draining to say the least.
That being said, seeing GM and Ford abandon cars is another case of Monkey See Monkey do which we both have seen around this town too long, Ford drops the Taurus GM drops the Impala and LaCrosse...Ford stops building the Focus here in the US, only build in China.  GM shutting down Cruze production at Lordstown, making them only in Mexico.   Remember Ford and GM buying then ditching the 2 Swedish Automakers Volvo and Saab.  Monkey see monkey do.  I could go on an on on this phenomenon...
All the while Toyota comes out with their new Corolla.
And look at muscle car sales, FCA sales of Challenger and Charger up 30% this year since they actually market these cars.   Where are the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Corvette ads?....sales of those cars down 30%....Impala is available is V6 and V8 6.2L 455 HP engine.  Those FCA cars are old designs but doing some marketing, hey I was with my 20 year old son at the Pontiac drag racing during dream cruise and there were a ton of people my son loved the drifting he wants a new sports car and will buy one soon.  What about GM, they pulled out of the Dream Cruise which I know is just here in Detroit and when did you last see a Regal or Lacrosse daughter had a 2013 lease on a Regal with leather and fast turbo engine that was a nice car.
No one knows about these great vehicles...maybe some of us baby boomers but we are getting old.
Bottom line, I dont know what these guys and gals are doing...Ford buys a scooter company which is cool but Lime and Byrd or Bird aint making money!
What these companies are doing or not doing is nuts, I still dont understand GM ditching Opel, which was a big mistake.   There must be other companies making money in Europe?  Yes, a very tough market with union issues etc. but cmon Opel provided GM with engineering expertise and if GM supposedly is working on electrics which are getting big in Europe why kill the Volt when they should updated it maybe with hatchback or SUV look to it. If they want to push gas thirsty Navigators, Escalades and GMC Yukon Denalis why not high output engines in cars like FCA is doing.  Would be good halo cars even if people cant afford the insurance to get them in the showroom?
Gas prices will go back up eventually, the Cruze is the best small car GM has ever made.  So they want to kill it or make it in Mexico
And yes, I heard you talking about how making cars in Mexico vs. the US Mexico has lower tariffs shipping to Europe than the US gets....I did not that so these things are more complicated than meets the eye.  I wonder if Pres. Trump knows this and yes US pickup makers get protection with big tariff...
WOW, I dont get the way, I enjoy listening to your Automotive Insight driving to work in the morning.  Lots of good information.
PS and about Ford buying the old train station how about a train from Chicago through Detroit to Toronto Montreal and Quebec city.
Better yet how about an Auto train like the one Amtrak has on the east coast for all those Snowbirds to go south through Cincinnati to Atlanta to Orlando....get all those cars off I-75 even if it takes a couple of days better on a train than driving.
Time for some imagination people...yes it takes money...
Thanks for your letter and all the points you raise. We going to publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy

Wondering if you might consider discussing this on After Hours?
Now GM is killing sedans/cars.  When they are done the domestics have officially given up on "cars" as most of what is left is selling on memories from the 1960s.  But maybe the 1960s are where they need to look deeper.
Find a Falcon sales brochure from 1963.  Off the Falcon platform Ford sold:
2-door sedan
4-door sedan
2-door hardtop (pillarless coupe)
Small Van
Why can they not base say a sedan, hatch, small truck, etc off an SUV platform today and serve what is still 1/3 of the market? 
Just a thought, would love to hear the panel discuss.
It’s amazing how many body styles Ford built off the Falcon chassis, which, by the way, is what the original Mustang was built off.

And they do that today. Ford makes the Focus sedan and hatchback, Escape/Kuga, C-Max and Transit Connect off the same architecture.

But look at what’s happened to the body styles you list here:

2-door sedans and hardtops now represent a mere sliver of the market
Convertibles have almost disappeared
Wagons have miniscule sales
Ranchero styles simply vanished because barely anyone bought them.

Automakers can and do build multiple body styles from one architecture, but they are not going to invest in body styles where they have little or no chance of making any money.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Dear Autoline,
Great show. It gives a fantastic view of the US and international auto market.
I come from Denmark (Scandinavia). Here, Norway, Holland, Germany and so forth the electric market is beginning to start up.
I’ve been in the electric car market (on sellers and buyers sides) for 8 years now and I still see extreme poor knowledge from the importer side in terms of vehicle performance and climate/environmental pros and cons. But especially on charging standards and solutions. 
All by one (almost) are years behind knowledge wise. Talking for instance infrastructure requirements, charging box capabilities, charging rates, availability and access solutions.
Not do you know much about the EVs out there, but charging is a huge black hole.
There are several charging operators out there and how do you interact with the DSOs etc?
I could be very interesting to get a international perspective on that - wouldn’t mind to join.
Kindest regards 

Thanks for your letter. Very interesting and informative.

You’re right. There is very little knowledge on the sales side about charging. But it goes beyond sales people at dealerships. I was talking to a senior public relations executive at Jaguar about the need for more Level III chargers and he asked me, “What’s a Level III charger?”

The entire industry has a long way to go.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Hey John
I thought I’d send you a quick email on my thoughts on this terrible situation at GM. The reasons in my opinion for this shutdown are multifaceted and are primarily at the doorstep of the current administration’s poorly executed policies in regard to trade and taxes:
1. $700 million in tariffs on steel (if the numbers I have seen bandied about are close to accurate). Why would GM want to see their costs increase by $700 million a year with a tariff that is probably illegal and only increases the disparity in manufacturing costs above what it already was.
2. A corporate tax reduction that was rushed through and failed to correct the inequities with the advantage the manufacturers have with moving manufacturing offshore. Give the manufacturers a giant ongoing windfall without ever addressing some very basic tax loopholes that incentivize offshore production. Not a great investment of the taxes paid by the line workers at GM and other manufacturers.  
3. A claim that turned out to be an outright lie during the campaign that new factories would be coming into these areas without taking any action to promote the actual actions whether by legislative or other means to promote new manufacturing within the US.
What a shame to see our middle-class being pushed down by greed and stupidity, this is not new it has been a long term mistake and it continues at an increasing pace by the current administration.

Thanks for sending your letter. We very much appreciate getting input from our viewers and we’re going to publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.


Based on your report earlier in the week about Nissan dismissing and prosecuting Mr. Ghosn, did Nissan do something underhanded or just threw the book at him?

I’m curious if I need to add Nissan to my do not buy list along with the cheater diesel empire. 

Thanks for an awesome show as usual!

Here’s my take on why Carlos Ghosn was thrown in the slammer.
Nissan wants a rebalance in the power structure of the so-called “Alliance.” As the larger, more profitable, technologically superior “partner” it wants more say.
The French haven’t been listening.
So Nissan took a hostage: Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Charged on some tediously-technical, financial reporting, whatever.
Probably some branch of the Japanese government, perhaps MITI, is also hovering behind the scenes.
What they want: get Nissan equal equity (more if possible).
If agreed, then Carlos goes free (but probably banned from Japan for life).
If no agreement?
Then the flawed marriage simply fails over time.

John McElroy

It is not surprising that automakers are dropping cars. New cars are terrible regarding usability. Visibility is horrible and trunk openings are so small making the trunks almost unusable. That is the reason that our last new car was a 2012 Ford Escape. It has great visibility and a big tailgate that opens wide to a big and usable storage area. 
Our other car is a 2003 Lincoln Town Car. It has great visibility and a large trunk with a large opening. It is a very practical and comfortable car. 
We are both in our 70"s and these things are important to us.  
Thanks for you great shows and keep up to good work.
Bobby and June

Caught you on the radio, on NPR question on Trump v. GM. Direct from the horses mouth, huh.
I wonder sometimes how it feels to be in the eye of the storm, having a front row seat to view the unprecedented automobile disruption unfolding before your very eyes.

Little Bob

Sometimes it feels very uncomfortable knowing what’s about to hit the auto industry and having to talk about it publicly. Some people think you’re callous and uncaring for calling it like it is. But the public is far better off knowing the truth and preparing for it, rather than getting blindsided.

This disruption is far from over. In fact, it’s barely just begun.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Hi John,
How does this kind of stuff happen as I remember when Ghosn was considered as being a wonder-boy of sorts; but I guess it was done by cooking the books and appears Ghosn might be getting essentially a life sentence because 10 years in prison has to be a killer.
Mike @ San Francisco


Just watched your short segment discussing Borgwarner become a parts supplier for EVs.  Your comment on suppliers like Borgwarner are making it much easier for start-ups is something I hadn't thought of.  How about an AAH episode with Borgwarner to discuss in more detail on what they are doing for OEMs and start-ups?

Thanks for your continuing excellence on auto news!

Larry K.

Were you eavesdropping on our latest editorial meeting? We’re working on doing exactly what you say, get B-W’s EV expert on the show, going over the ABC’s of designing EV powertrains and where they see the market going.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

How about doing a segment, maybe on AAH about the likely effects of Brexit on the British auto industry. There are a lot of vehicles, and parts going back and forth across the channel, and around the world from the UK. I'm curious about what is likely to happen.

Kit Gerhart

Not a bad suggestion, but right now the Brexit issue is in such a state of flux that we really need to get some indication of where it’s going before we can talk about the impact on the industry.

No doubt we’ll cover it in an upcoming show when we have a clearer idea of what’s going on.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Hi John, love your show and have been watching for years. I've never communicated before - by cyber terms I'd be referred to as a "lurker". LOL
What does it take to get Mazda USA to sell the sharp looking Mazda 6 wagon/estate in North America???  To make the request even more interesting, the manual transmission version of the vehicle! Recently you stated that all or most of your vehicles were stick shifts. Well, there are a lot of us 3 pedal types out there too, even though I guess we don't make our voices heard enough to the corporate automotive marketing and sales folks. You have an educated audience, we're not ignorant of the fact that the drive train might have to be certified by the EPA to sell on our shores (although I believe it would be the same as the sedan that IS sold here already), and that the body might have to also conform to North American crash standards, and the supply chain would then have to accommodate spare parts specific to the wagon/estate. Other manufacturers (Buick, Volvo, Volkswagen etc.) have seen fit to offer wagons, why can't Mazda as the product already exists overseas? There is even a Facebook page entitled "Mazda 6 Station Wagon for Canada & the USA" with supporters who wish to buy this vehicle. It's like a ready, pre-sold market of car buyers saying to Mazda "take my money". I'd order the Soul Red Crystal Metallic hued Grand Touring version, with ventilated seats, and moon roof to go with the manual transmission.
Another sore point, why do many manufacturers that even offer manuals assume that we want the "poverty" version of a vehicle if one chooses a gearbox? In other words, choosing to shift yourself precludes the ability to get desirable options such as moon roofs etc. We do indeed want it all, just the additional ability to develop a synergy with the vehicle through ratio choice! We will not be relegated to 2nd or apparently 3rd class status for our driving enthusiasm!
Thank you and keep up the great work!
Save the stick shift!

I’m with you. I wish Mazda would sell the Mazda 6 wagon in North America. But the sad reality is outside of us, few people are interested in wagons. That could change, in fact I think wagons could make a resurgence. But right now everyone who sells wagons in the US only sells a handful.

As for manuals, it’s the same story. Very few people buy them. Some automakers believe only people looking for the lowest price want a stick. Others only offer manuals on their high performance cars, where there are still a few of us who will buy them.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

Why did the side view of the car, in you daily episode 2475, instantly remind me of a early 2000's Chevy Monte Carlo SS??
WOW!! and all the designers they have.
Love ya, keep up the good work.

First I would like to say how much I enjoy your daily videos.  They are really informative and hit the spot for automotive junkies like myself.  My question is in regards to the second and third lives of BEVs.  Not many people want to buy a car with high miles.  It has been proven that ICE vehicles can last well over 300k miles if desired.  The same can't be said about BEVs.  Is this the elephant in the room nobody is talking about or is there a plan in place?  At what point will a BEV be deemed unfit for use and recycled?
Thank you for your time.

So far EV batteries have proven to be quite resilient. Same goes for the li-on batteries in hybrids. Automakers are deliberately limiting the amount of discharge they allow, so the batteries will last a long time. In fact, automakers believe the batteries could outlast the cars and are looking at repurposing them as electric storage units for homes and utilities.

But so far this is all conjecture because we’re going to have to wait another decade or so to see if their projections prove to be true.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

John, Gary,
OEMs have reasonable strategies in play for a SAAR of 16 million. Getting rid of unprofitable vehicles (small cars) helps maintain profitability. Ford is going to import the Ecosport from India. Other manufacturers also see India as a place to sustain small vehicle design, supplier relationships and manufacturing know-how. 
Indian Railways runs over 9,000 freight trains per day which help subsidize more than 20,000 passenger trains per day, and pay its 1.3 million employees - 1 in every 1,000 of the country's population. 
India's PPP GDP is 4 times its nominal GDP which hides industrialization (dollar value of industrial output appears small) which is 26% of its GDP. 
Its PPP GDP is predicted to exceed the US in 25 years. Its GDP growth rate is ~6.5% - very similar to China. India is driving its economy at what we could call break-neck pace as it sees China as a serious strategic threat. 
The really profitable sector of those 9,000 freight trains per day is hauling coal and iron ore across the country from mines to industrial centres. This speaks to deep industrialization, if not large compared to China.
India will contribute to world auto industry growth, and will certainly help the large OEMs sustain small vehicle know-how and volumes.
India is much more friendly to foreign auto investors than China. Its probably more bureaucratic, but its legal system is modeled on the UK system.
Unlike Gary, I don't have its auto industry stats to hand. The growth rate is as important as the gross number.
Peter Egan

Ok, I live in a large city (Jacksonville fl). There is an enormous Safty issue among almost every manufacturer. This is an issue of the way every manufacturer approaches the daytime driving lights as a feature for safety. 
The problem shows it’s ugly face as the sun goes down. Most drivers see their dash lights on, can see adequately due to their “daytime running lights” on, and yet, unless they actually hit the switch, they DO NOT HAVE ANY TAILLIGHTS!  Traffic approaches these vehicles in the dark and cannot see them. The driver is totally unaware of this danger. As I drive up beside these cars, they clearly have bright dash lights wrongly giving the impression that they have their lights on. 
  If y’all get anyone’s ears at the NTSB or any other agency that cares, please bring this to their attention. If investigated, I’m sure it would dig up many fatalities due to this unnoticed flaw. 

Love your show and thanks,


You raise a fantastic point. We’ll start asking around to find out if anything is being done about this.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.

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