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8-3-2018


Hi,



Love the show. Keep up the good work.



My question, is it possible to import a car that is not sold in the US market? Not a fancy super car, just a regular car. I really like the new Touareg but since it’s not US bound, how can I get my hands on one? 



Thanks and have a great week,

-William
Yes, you can import a car on your own. But you have to jump through some hoops. There is a lot of info about this online, but a good start is the official US Customs website which directly addresses how to do it.
 
John McElroy
8-3-2018


Hi John,
 
Love your show. 
I recently became aware of the vast difference in retention value between two discontinued Japanese cars . The Honda S2000 and the Mazda RX8. 
 
Both are small Japanese sports cars. The difference is the engine.
I guess the rotary is doomed. 
Just my thoughts.
 
Sincerely,
 
Alan in Oregon
Alan,

It’s not just the difference in the engines. It’s the brands. All Hondas hold their value better than Mazdas.

John McElroy
8-3-2018


I want to purchase a good used car for my grandson that will last him his last year in high school to college completion.  So I decided to mine a searchable universe of 43,414 used cars (Carmax) to see what higher mileage cars are on the market thinking they obviously have proven themselves.
Here is what I found:  The highest mileage cars at 129k miles consisted of a  09Scion XB,  084 Runner, '12 Dodge Challenger, '14 Ford Escape, '12 Dodge Avenger and a '10 Jeep Liberty.  What no Camry, Corolla, Accord or Civic?  In luxury brands the highest milage BMW had only 89k miles, Mercedes 74k, Audi 72k with LandRover Volvo etc even lower.
So what information should be drawn Dr. Data?  It seems cheap domestic automobiles that no one seems to buy hold up better amongst some formidable competition!   Am I missing some other explanation that a keen calculating auto analyst might have. 
Love your show
 
Glenn W
Glenn:

First let me say that you are obviously a good grandfather. Your interest in your grandson’s transportation is commendable.

Second, to your point.

First of all, there is no correlation between used cars available on Carmax and quality, reliability and durability. Rather, it simply indicates what is on the market.

If I had, say, a 2012 Dodge Avenger, I’d probably want to get rid of it regardless of how many miles it has on it.

One could make the argument that the reason why there aren’t Camrys, Corollas, Accords, or Civics on the list is simply because people are still driving them. Consequently they aren’t on the market. Or they are simply sold directly by the owner without the middle man.

But let’s look at your list of high-mileage vehicles. Note that there is a 1984 (!) 4Runner on the list, which happens to be a Toyota product. And the second-oldest, the ’09 Scion, is also a Toyota. FCA has more on the list, but in all cases they’re younger.

Good luck in finding a car for your grandson. Were I in your position, I don’t think I’d opt for something that has less than 100,000 miles on it—regardless of make—unless it came with a really, really good warranty.

Thanks for writing.

Cordially,


gary.

Gary S. Vasilash
Editor-in-Chief
Automotive Design + Production

Co-host: “Autoline After Hours”
8-3-2018


John and Gary,
 
If both of you were on the Tesla Board of Directors and each asked Elon Musk a question, what would it be? 
 
Thanks!
 
Barry
My question would be: “From a public statement standpoint, can we start under-promising and over-delivering?”
John McElroy

“When are you going to turn over your manufacturing operations to people who really understand manufacturing?”
Gary S. Vasilash
8-3-2018


Hi John
I saw an article you did about batteries and in that article you touched on the early days of the humvee prototype. This was a 4 wheel drive vehicle produced by Chrysler and general dynamics.This vehicle you showed in the article was kind of boxy and had a 360 motor and had an option of a diesel in the beginning. In the article you said this was in the early 80's. I have a proto type vehicle that was done by Chrysler, general dynamics with paperwork and a certificate of origin that was built in 1976. This looks to be an earlier version of that vehicle. As far as i know this is the only one left. I have boxes and boxes of spare parts and experimental goodyear tires. the vehicle is still running and in incredible condition. i also have all the tops and side curtains that were built for it. I have not found anyone who knows anything about this vehicle ever being built.
 I was involved with off road racing in the early 80's and this vehicle looks to have many of the off road attributes we used in baja back in those days.
I am reaching out to you to see if you have any more knowledge of this vehicle or know any one that was involved with this project that could help with the history of it. I think this is a great piece of the evolution of the military vehicle.
This little explanation you did is the best piece of info that i have got about this vehicle.
I know this is a stretch and I'm sure you are very busy but if you have the time to e mail me or contact me with any info it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you and sorry for rambling. Super excited to have found this.
Thanks
Dana
Dana,
 
Thanks for your email, you seem to truly have a bit of history in your hands! Can you send us some pictures that we could run in Autoline Daily?
 
I don’t have any more info on the prototype I saw than what we reported in Autoline Daily. I took that picture at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan in the early 1980s.
 
I’m not sure how you could find out more info on your vehicle. Anyone who worked on that has since retired. You may want to try contacting chrysler retirees and see if they would get the word out to their members to see if anyone of them worked on it.
 
Best,
John McElroy
8-3-2018


Hello:
 
I am sure you will be reporting if not leading with the Tesla financials released yesterday.
 
One request.  TSLA reported $2.2 billion in cash.  Could you let us know if that includes all those Model 3 deposits they should still have?   Nobody in the media ever seems to tell us.
 
 
Thanks!
 
Shawn
Shawn,

Yes, Tesla’s $2.2 billion in cash includes $942 million in deposit money.

John McElroy
8-3-2018


John,
 
Liked your broadcast today.  FYI most medium duty trucks (class 4-7 have automatics standard) Class 8 are approaching 60%, with some Mfgs north of 80%. Most automatics in class 8 trucks are what they call manual automated transmissions. They are less expensive but have 2 pedals instead of 3 and are very fuel efficient. They shift when the load/road conditions tell it to, maximizing fuel economy and driver comfort. Driver comfort is very important in driver recruitment and retention as you touched on in your recent broadcast touch on turn over and platooning.

Ed
Ed,

Thanks for the feedback! Very useful.

John McElroy
8-3-2018


Hi John

After driving a Model 3 for a month, all Range Anxiety (RA) is gone including my wife who is just my co-pilot. We have made 2 trips to Traverse City and 1 to Newberry with side trip to Grand Marais with no issues. Charging in garage is set to 250 to 275 miles (could go as high as 310), but keep it lower to help with battery life. On last night in Newberry, we stayed at a 1898 B & B and plugged into 120 volt to get a little extra range for trip to Gaylord SuperCharger. Apparently blew a fuse while sleeping & woke up to find we were a couple miles short to make Gaylord, so drove a little slower and made it with 25 miles to spare.

I would like to recommend you find a M3 to drive for a month and get some first hand experience. Jury-rig a 240V, 30A charger at home an see how long it takes for the RA to go away. You will experience the pleasant feeling of one pedal driving and Adaptive Cruse control that auto sets to the speed limit. In 9,500 miles, I have only used the brake pedal a few times. Maybe Sandy M can put one of his M3's back together?

Best Regards, Frank
7-27-2018


Hi John
 
I love to watch your show all the time.  I recently bought a model 3 and enjoy it immensely. 
On several occasions  you mentioned that driving an ev that is powered by coal is not better that driving ice car.  You never mention that evs are 90% efficient vs ice car is only 20%.
And if your going to include the source for an ev you have to include the source of an ice car which is gas.  How much pollution is created in getting gas to the gas station.  Are oil spills included in the numbers?  I say this because I am concerned about the environment in light of the massive global heat wave were experiencing lately.  An electric can be charged using renewable energy but a an ice cannot.  We are lucky that we live in a place where 90% of our energy is being generated by green energy.
 
Keep trying
 
Dave
7-27-2018


Why aren't the American Car companies: GM, Ford, plus Tesla?   .. .not just GM & Ford
 
And how long will it take for some of the 400+ Chinese OEMs to consolidate all the electronics as Tesla did and have a huge cost advantage?   
How long will it take the incumbent OEMs to re-architect their electronics as Tesla did and achieve the savings?
 
Or maybe GM, Ford, or Volvo's Chinese operations create a highly cost competitive EV that starts to be imported to the US... and perhaps with high performance AWD powertrains and long range.
GM has already started with a Buick and Cadillac CT6 PHEV imported from China.. 
 
Or if Trump negotiates away all the tariffs including the chicken tax..  how about a full sized 45 mile AER PHEV pickup version made in China at the same price as a conventional version? 
 
Regards,
Dave
7-27-2018


The US automakers should quit whining about tariffs and switch production of parts and automobiles to the US.
 
The tariffs would then not be a factor any many more Americans would be employed as opposed to the predicted loss of jobs.
 
They are whining because they will lose their ability to use cheap foreign labor to pad their profits.
 
Jack
7-27-2018


John,
 
Before the 'shorts' get too excited by the Model 3 stockpiles in California, we must remember that the less mature Telsa production facilities are producing made-to-order vehicles in batches of similar/same vehicles. They then must go to a sorting yard so that vehicles for a certain destination can be batched together for transport.
 
It would be great if you had retired Ford/GM/Chyrsler execs able to give production comparison comments when people get excited by this or that development in the worldwide industry.
 
Peter
7-20-2018


Am about to enjoy your electric Corvette show this evening.  You guys are great!
Anyway,  there's a lot of hype about EVs lately... zero emission BS.  As you know,  we get about half of our electricity from coal fired power plants.  My question is,  about how much coal will this electro Vette consume on average. 
Recently,  the VW I.D. R won the Pike's Peak Hill Climb here in Colorado Springs where all of our electricity is generated by a coal fired power plant.  That VW ran on  100% burnt coal. Hardly "zero emission" vehicle. 
TTYL got to get back to this show... 
7-20-2018


AAH discussion this week - Trade, vehicle electronic architecture
Trade
 
Canada and Mexico are in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Many of these countries also have a trade agreement with China. The US has been way too aggressive on investor-state relations clauses. Australians who are interested in trade issues were rather pleased Trump pulled the US out of the TPP as investor-state clauses were junked in the final agreement. It's not that they are not a good idea, but that some companies used them to force governments to not to change health, environmental and other policies for the benefit of their communities. Investor-state clauses allow companies to seek compensation when a new law/regulation drives up cost or restricts a sale. 
 
Australia has a trade agreement with Hong Kong which has investor-state provisions. A major US tobacco company forced the Australian Govt to arbitration in Hong Hong by buying a small cigarette manufacturer in Hong Kong and using it to challenge our cigarette packaging laws. Trade can't get done if corporate trolls are threatening national budgets with billion dollar compensation packages. I think China influenced the outcome of that arbitration as it did not like where it was going.
 
As per the panel discussion, there are national differences in automotive design tastes. There are also differences in governance. The US is alone in describing itself as a nation of laws - if its legal its OK. No other nation takes such an extreme position as the US.  The rest of the world sees itself as nations of people and territory. Governmental authorities intervene in what is seen as legal abuses. The aim in Australia is a law making mechanism responsive to circumstances.
 
While Trump is leading the way, and while the US is admired for many things, a majority of the world's economy does not want to go down some key long-established US paths. Russia's US Treasury holdings are now down to $15 bn from $130 bn. Putin is using his leverage over Trump to get out from under the US economic yoke. China is sending more money elsewhere and investing surpluses in its Belt & Road and other initiatives. Trump is a big excuse for countries to economically diversify away from the US. 
 
The US can influence foreign governments due to US dollars and banks being central to international trade. The EU and China currencies will surely become reserve currencies as a result of the Trump first policies.
 
Tesla
 
Tesla has a silicon valley funding model. It's valuation is now low at two times revenue. With job cuts and investment delays, it will surely make real profits in Q3 and Q4. As a back up, the delay in Model 3 sales, so as not to hit 200,000 deliveries to Q3, has pushed revenue to this month (Q3).  Q2 will be a bad profit number for Tesla due to managing US deliveries to maximise tax credits for customers. At the Q2 conference call early August, we should expect Tesla to announce a big cash drop from Q1 end to Q2 end, but a significant recovery during July. By opening Model 3 orders to anyone in the US, Tesla is increasing deposits from $1,000 to $2,500 when a car is ordered. These customer loans also improve cash position.
 
The solar factory in New York is leased (hire-purchase???). Tesla Energy has slowed growth this year to ensure cashflow positive growth.
 
Tesla will surely have an outside company finance its factory in China so it won't have to outlay big sums until equipment needs to be installed. Tesla may not need cash for new factories for a year. 
 
Centralised Model 3 electronics and software are stunning. We should expect more circuit board consolidation in the Model Y. Underfloor is not a great place for circuit boards - BMS circuits easily ruined.
 
Alas, no other vehicle manufacturer has adopted the same architecture approach, so there are currently no other manufacturers queuing up to buy it, apart from learn from it - it will take them a decade and several model cycles to adopt a similar electronic architecture. Perhaps, Silicon Valley is the only place where a company could centralise electronic architecture.
 
Perhaps in 10 years, there will be 6 or 7 companies supplying centralised electronics for all BEVs in the world - Tesla, Bosch, Continental, Google, Apple and a couple of Chinese companies. Decentralised ICE electronics will likely stay due to investment required to change architecture.
 
Electronic architecture might be the straw that breaks the ICE commanding position in vehicle sales.
 
Regards
Peter
7-20-2018


I’ve been hearing that many Uber and Lyft drivers who develop a steady customer base drop the ride sharing service and essentially become private chauffeurs for this customer base. As far as I know this is taking place in my home state of Rhode Island but if by chance it does go on nationally, does this have any effect on the auto industry, particularly with regards to everything that’s going on with mobility services?

Alexander
Alexander,

Thanks for writing about this. I think a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers would like to cut the company out and get the full fare from their rides. I think we could even see peer-to-peer services pop up that would enable this, maybe through something like Craig’s list. And this could affect car companies that will offer their own ride sharing services, because it could pull some potential customers away from them.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


First, great show. I love your entire roster of shows. I have been
watching for years. And Lord willing, I will watch until your last show.
Now, I have not yet heard of a car maker that failed because they made
bad vehicles. What killed those companies was bad "back room" business or
"the business of running the business". Even making truly innovative
vehicles has never saved a car company run poorly.
It is not a mistake to admit you were wrong about the Model 3 was
actually profitable. However, it is a mistake to think it is going to
save Tesla. "Wall Street" will not continue to dump money on Tesla
without a return. Especially, when it becomes obvious that Tesla will not
be the last man standing during the transition to BEVs. And that
transition is not going to the be the "all-consuming tsunami" they think
its going, or want it, to be. 
DocWolph
7-20-2018


Hello:
 
Interesting segment on the Tesla tear-down, as they all have been.  But a question.
 
Is the "30% Margin" just on what the estimated cost of parts is, or does that include an estimate for labor and amortized tooling?
 
It seems to me that if I am analyzing the stock that is all the difference in the world.  30% "off the line" margin probably works.  But if that is just parts, I am guessing 1/3 to 1/2 of that margin gets eaten by labor alone.  Then tooling costs, R&D, etc. eat more than the rest.
 
Curious if you know?


Thanks!


Shawn
Shawn,

Munro’s profit estimate of the Tesla Model 3 includes all parts and materials, labor and amortized tooling. It does not include R&D, general, sales or administrative costs.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


I think the Tesla Fremont Factory is nearing peak production. If you google the Fremont Assembly GM and Toyota had a Production Output of 1,072 vehicles daily. According to the Bloomberg Tesla Model 3 Tracker Tesla is building 5,168 divide that by 7 that's 738 Cars per day, now if you add 2000 Model S and X per week. 2000/7 = 285 Model S and X's per day. 738 + 285 = 1,023 Total Tesla Cars per day. No wonder Tesla built that tent anyway just a thought.
 
What do you guys think?
Your math is good. Most assembly plants make about 1,000 vehicles a day. You can get more with overtime and more lines, but unless Tesla has something up its sleeve, it’s probably close to max production.

Elon keeps bragging that Tesla is going to out-manufacture the traditional automakers. So far the results have been embarrassing for Elon and Tesla. But with new designs there could still be a way to dramatically improve car assembly. Will Tesla be able to do it, or will we have to wait for someone else? Right now it looks like we’re going to be waiting a while.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Autoline used to be my favorite show since it was only radio. 
For at least a solid year the show has lacked "auto" content. 
No excitement about new vehicles, just endless analist types that drone on about electric-limited use-on demand curbside rental-self driving drone mobiles. 
Your show is digging its own grave by killing enthusiam for driving. 
I live for driving but watching "Autoline" makes me want to step in front of a bus.






Byron
Byron,
 
Take a look at these links and see if we’re getting our mojo back.

Autoline Daily #2391

Autoline Daily #2392
  
John McElroy
7-20-2018


PSA sold Panhard to Auverland in 2006, the new Panhard (formerly Auverland) was acquired by Renault Trucks Defense (subsidiary of Volvo Group) in 2012. The Arquus name was adopted May 24. Among their vehicles are military versions of the Ford Ranger (Acmat Trigger) and Everest (Acmat Trapper), replacing an older model based on the Nissan Frontier. The Panhard models (some formerly Peugeots) seem to have been dropped following the acquisition by Volvo in 2012, but the Auverland armoured 4x4 developed before the acquisition of Panhard remains as the Dagger.

Andrew
7-20-2018


Good afternoon,



First off great show really enjoy it I’ve been listening to you guys for a few years now and used to wake up early on Sundays when I was in middle school to watch you guys in the morning on speed tv. Now I’m in college working towards a mechanical engineering degree and want to get into the auto industry and really considering San Diego and been juggling places and leaning towards Detroit and the surrounding are but was wondering what advice or ideas do you guys have regarding this and something to look for when considering where the industry is going.



Thanks for your advice



Isaiah Lopez
Isaiah,

Your timing is good. The auto industry is desperate to hire young engineers.

I would suggest that you also get some electronics and coding as part of your mechanical engineering degree as you will greatly increase your chances of getting hired quickly.

I don’t think it matters whether you get a degree in San Diego or Michigan, but schools in traditional automotive areas are more likely to know the kind of curriculum the automakers are after.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


John:

Why do you suppose Martin Tripp is having difficulty finding legal representation in his fight with Tesla. Does he not have a case? Seems like it would be a great opportunity for some hot-shot legal type to make a name for himself in this David & Goliath saga!

Ron
Ron, I think you answered your own question.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Hi,
 
Musk reports that during the Model S and X development and manufacturing, a subcontractor failed to deliver seats in a timely fashion. So Musk now makes his own seats.
 
Recently Sandy Munro did a tear-down analysis of the Model 3. Would Lear share a similar analysis of the Tesla, in-house built, Model 3 seats?
 
Thanks,
Bob Wilson
7-20-2018


When we had Matt Simoncini, then CEO of Lear, on the show, he said Tesla was crazy to build its own seats. He said they offered to build them for Tesla, pointing out they could do it far cheaper. But I doubt that Lear would provide the kind of tear-down analysis that Munro does. It would be the kiss of death for a supplier to go public with that kind of analysis of a potential OEM client.
 
John McElroy
7-20-2018


John, on your diatribe on tariffs and fair trade (on yesterday's AAH show), might I suggest, that this could be a commentary on one of Autoline Daily shows.  You reflected my thoughts on the subject and projected it so much more eloquently than I could of had on the automotive/industrial business complexes.  A level playing field is what we need in the U.S., the world, and besides needing; deserving.  The segment, I refer, is in or around minute 50 of the broadcast.
 
Chuck
Chuck,

Thanks for your feedback and I will take you up on your suggestion to do an editorial on Autoline Daily.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Dear John,
 
I could see Paul's point, but I thoroughly appreciated the points you made.  Mr. Sergio seems confident of work arounds too.
 
It is good the tax reform is in place to help absorb the tariff consequences.  Also, tariffs were the first federal tax imposed on foreign goods to promote domestic development and it is more fair than a value added tax on everything.
The fear is that the domestics will raise prices to match the higher prices foreign prices as they did when Japanese imports were limited around 81.  Then mortgage rates went to 12-15%.
 
I drove an MG Magnette through the 70s.  Quite enjoyable.  It was also a good thing to have been supplied the workshop manual and parts diagrams with the car.  Gorgeous illustrations and instructions for the novice.
 
r-work
R,

Thanks for the feedback, and what a great looking car!

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Hi,



Being a French car enthusiast, I've watched this week episode of AAH with great interest.  Mr Nelson is truly an expert. Great show.



My email is just a little note on how to pronounce "Panhard". I'm French speaking (I live in Québec, Canada), so I know that phonetic is always a problem when you try to learn another language than you own, in my case… well it is English! :)



So, let's talk pronunciation. First, in English, we use many French words, one of which is "rendez-vous": this is the first part of my "exposé"! ;-)



Replace the "r" with a "p" and you get "pendez-vous".
Remove the "dez-vous" and you get "pen": remember, do not pronounce the "n", and you get the first part of "Panhard"!



Then, for the "hard" part that is not so hard! ;-) Simply pronounce "hard" like "haar", and that's it! :-)



"Pen haar" ! LOL



Keep up the good work!



Regards,



Raynald
Raynald,

Thanks for the language lesson!

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Panhard et Levassor remained as the defense subsidiary of PSA until near the turn of the century when it was acquired by French military/paramilitary 4x4 manufacturer Auverland, which then changed it's name and logotype to Panhard. Quite recently the new Panhard merged with the French operations of Volvo Trucks Defense (Renault Trucks Defense, including the former Berliet) and another French military vehicle manufacturer Acmat to form Arquus Defense under the Volvo Group. They've dropped the Panhard name (not really important for defense sales), and since it hasn't been used for road vehicles for decades, trademark laws allow anyone to use it. The same goes for all of the other companies Peugeot acquired from Chrysler Europe (incl. the Rootes Group) — Simca, Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Clement, etc., even Talbot (which they used as late as the '90s for cheap Peugeots).

Andrew
Andrew,

Awesome details, thanks for sending. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website.

John McElroy
7-20-2018


Hi John,

I enjoyed your AAH last week.  RE the discussion on hydrogen: I think your statement that the auto executives believing that hydrogen to be the long-term path forward for passenger cars is troubling. I'm sure I've regaled you before on why hydrogen will *never* be more viable than electric cars.  The scenario you discussed on the show proves the point.  Hydrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is at best 50% efficient meaning you only get about 50% of the electrical energy out as hydrogen.  Further, electrolysis of water generates hydrogen at atmospheric pressure.  To store hydrogen on-board a vehicle requires significant pressurization (i.e. 10,000 PSI).  Compressors that can go from atmospheric to 10k PSI are both electricity hogs (your eyes would pop out of your head) and cost millions of dollars.  Today, you can build a gas station for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  An equivalent hydrogen station may cost 8 figures.  A station owner would need to sell a LOT of candy bars and Faygo to make their money back.  

In short, generating and distributing hydrogen takes far more electricity (and cost) than would be needed for electric vehicles and you can't even charge at home or at work. That's a worse deal for everyone.  This isn't my opinion - it's what the math shows.  For all of the prospective benefits of hydrogen, you can't beat the physics (and economics) involved.  It would ultimately be an exercise of making pennies out of gold. 

Is there any exec who is willing to come on your show and answer why these engineering issues aren't insurmountable hinderances? 

thanks!

Doug
7-20-2018


Hi John,

Really enjoyed Ask Autoline #7.  You mentioned that you hate to see animals suffer; that’s very compassionate of you.  Most of us pay professionals to inflict suffering and death to animals three times a day.  Please kindly consider not contributing to that.  Your body will thank you too.  Check out this great resource

I must bring the topic back to the automotive industry.  I wish more premium models (or higher trims of mainstream models) were available with synthetic-leather.  Maybe that’s something you could forward to the auto execs.

Thanks for reading. 
Cheers,

JP
7-11-2018


Hello:

I have been enjoying your show daily on YT for a few years now, don't even remember how I found the channel.  This is the first topic I have felt the desire to do more than a comment.

It would be great if you did some *real* discussion on these autonomous vehicles.  I say this because you are not being journalists, you are acting as cheerleaders.  The biggest case would be both delivery vehicles and vehicles with "no controls."

As anyone who has been a courier or even delivered pizza knows (and I have done both) even modern  GPS is an "estimate" much of the time.  The real address might be several yards to several dozen yards away if in the country.  Then there is the idea of where do you want to park the car when you get there?  (e.g.: top of driveway, further down, etc,)  Or simply what space do you want when you get to the shopping center.  Or how to navigate around an accident.

Now, we have an efficient way to do this, its is called a steering wheel and pedals.  I have to say that your show NEVER brings this up, just a bit of "ooohs" and "ahhhs!"  As journalists, these are really questions you should be asking.  You similarly buy into every "mobility" claim without questioning, not as bad as on autonomy but pretty bad.  However, I will keep this email to one subject.

Could we see some serious discussion here?  On one of the longer format shows where you do a more "roundtable" format?

As to the daily news, keep it up as it is great.

Thanks!

Shawn
Shawn,

Yes I am a cheerleader for AVs and I have been since I wrote my first article about them in 1987. Why? Because in the United States alone roughly 40,000 people get killed every year in motor vehicle accidents and 2.2 million people are injured badly enough to be hospitalised. Car accidents are the number one cause of closed head injuries which disable people for life. And +90% of those accidents are caused by human error.

Let's see... since I wrote my first article on AVs over 1.2 million people have been killed in the US due to drive error. On a global basis that number is 31 million.

AVs don't rely only on GPS. As you point out it's not accurate enough. They use radar, lidar, video cameras, and hi-res maps. They know where they are to the inch, even on snow covered roads in the dead of night.

Today's conventional cars can not be used by children. Or the elderly. Or the blind. Or most people with physical disabilities. And they shouldn't be used by people with substance abuse problems. AVs promise to provide mobility to all segments of society.

Conventional cars are not going away. But they are going to be enhanced with AV-like technology. Toyota calls it "Guardian" because it will act like a guardian angel and prevent you from crashing into anything.

This is why I'm not interested in having a debate about whether we should stick with today's technology rather than move forward.

John McElroy
7-11-2018


Hi John:

Thank you for the time for a personal reply.  However, I am not asking for a debate.  I am asking for shall we say some more journalism.

Here is an example.  Cruise control has been on cars for almost 50 years now. But you should still not use it in the rain or snow.  Now, if a 50 year old tech that is more simple than a full AV has such a limitation, how on earth will a full AV work in rain or snow without possibly killing the driver?  (I was almost killed using cruise in the rain, BTW.)  Could we have more of such discussion on the show?

More simply, I will paraphrase Bob Lutz.  He says to be skeptical about idealized presentations of developing technology. (as said in "Car Guys and Bean peopleCounters.)  Maybe ask him next time he is on? 

We will always move forward, but please as an auto journalist don't just automatically buy what the manufacturers are selling.  The same people have said we will be off gasoline in 20 years for over 30 years now.

Have a nice day,

Shawn
7-11-2018


So each Monday you report Formula1, Indy Car & NASCAR race results.  I record the races to watch at my leisure.  Each Monday I forget to not watch your show and each Monday you ruin my race viewing.  Please don't start reporting MotoGP race results (worlds best racing).  Thanks for listening.
Richie B.
Sorry Richie,

As motorsports enthusiasts we definitely sympathize!

John McElroy
7-11-2018


John:

I loved the segment about graphene!  I live in a very hot and humid climate - and I like cars that cool my backside first before cooling down the 100+ cubic feet of space I am piloting. 



Can graphene be bonded to a the material via 3D printers?
I also graphene being used in medical situations - such as cooling the skin immediately after radiation or laser treatment.  Surgeons would use it to control inflammation.



Loved that show!
7-11-2018


John:
I ran across this article from Forbes, and it gives me hope for the longevity of the internal combustion engine. 

I also visited their website 
I just love innovative concepts that are outside the box. Looks like it's getting a growing interest.
This has the makings of a great AAH guest segment. 
Thanks,
Brad
7-11-2018


During last week's AAH there was a discussion of Tesla's response to Consumer Report's downgrade. One thing that was not address is why did Tesla not already know their braking distance was subpar? I have to assume they do little, if any, comparison testing. Do they do any field testing?
 
On another note, in the same show much was made about the long line of people waiting for a Tesla Model 3. I could attribute that to the failure of Tesla to right size their production capability. If a legacy manufacturer had a long line of people waiting for a model the media would be out with pitchforks. Any time a legacy manufacturer sees a big uptick in sales they adjust their production to ensure there are enough for all prospective buyers. 

--
Chuck
7-11-2018


I had a two hour drive from Columbus to Cincinnati so I decided to listen to AAH#422 podcast en route. In informal discussion a guest of the program indicated that people would get used to riding in driver-less cars by exposure in geo-fenced areas like the "blue lot bus" at airport parking.  I laughed.  That comment came at almost three quarters of the way in the pod cast.  In that period of time I had several audio drop outs.  The blue tooth link filed once entirely requiring a restart of the program.  The podcast failed to resume when restarting the vehicle after getting gas.  In short, rather than an uneventful ride in the autonomous airport bus,  I will have to own a vehicle or two with rock solid dependable infotainment systems and experience no glitches before I get into a driver-less car!   It was a good show!
Glenn
7-11-2018


John,
    I was reading a car magazine while my wife watched TV when I thought I heard a comment saying there were medical dangers from driving a Tesla. The TV said these include:

• diarrhea, headache, nausea,
• vomiting and abdominal pain

I was surprised, because I thought the cars were pretty good.
Then I realized they were talking about the psoriasis drug "Otezla".   
Maybe Elon should sue the drug company for using a name that is too similar!
 
Kevin
7-11-2018


Fiat 500x vs. Jeep Renegade

Are these not the same platform?
 
I know CR pans them all, but why doesn't the 500x sale closer to the Jeep version?
 
another subject:  Will battery replacements or repair costs come down (from a 10 year old Prius) with all this electrification?
rwork,

Yes, the Fiat 500x and Jeep Renegade are built on the same platform and I think the difference in sales (41,906 YTD for Renegade vs 2,711 YTD for 500x) is due to 3 factors: Awareness, Appeal and Price. What percentage of the average customer even knows the Fiat 500x exists? I don't see many Fiat ads and when I do, the 500 (car) is almost always the main focus. Plus, how far would the average person have to drive to find a dealership that sells Fiat? Not only can that contribute to awareness, but proximity to a dealership can also influence a purchase. And while I personally like the styling of the 500x better, the Renegade seems to have a broader appeal. Maybe it has something to do with the iconic 7-slot grille? In fact, there are two people in our office in their 20's, both a man and woman, that really like the Renegade and have considered it for purchase. And then there's the issue of price. The starting price of the 500x is about $1,500 more than the Renegade. So, why would someone want to spend more for a vehicle that's built on the same platform? They have the same engines, same transmissions and the Jeep has better 4-wheel drive options. Not that everyone will go off-road, but many like to think they could if they wanted to.

On the subject of electrification, battery replacement costs are already coming down, at least in the case of nickel-metal hydride batteries, like those in a 10 year old Prius. There are a number of options for customers to choose from. There's brand new units. There's remanufactured units that take used cells, which are still good, and pair them other used cells of identical, or nearly identical, voltages. These are then made into a pack and they're actually quite reliable. And there's even a process for bringing a bad pack back to life. A special machine is used to completely drain the pack and slowly recharge it. I'm told this works about 80 -85% of the time. I admit I don't know about replacement or replacement costs for lithium-ion batteries. When it comes to repair cost, I don't necessarily think it's coming down. But as more independent repair shops learn how to fix electrified vehicles, people will have more options of where to get their vehicle repaired, which can lead to lower repair costs because not everyone will charge the same rates.

Thanks for the questions,
Sean McElroy
7-11-2018


Thank You!

I have forwarded your battery advice to my wife who is pushing toward 200k mi with no interest in buying a replacement.

At least the Renegade has been a volume seller out of that batch.  Kind of like the appeal of the Suzuki Samurai 30 years ago, except this is safer.

rwork
7-11-2018


Hi John and Sean:
 
I Just saw your Driving Impression of the new Nissan Kicks and I want more!  Have at least one Driving Impression a week on Daily and make them about 5 minutes long with more analysis and comparison to the class leader.
 
Good work
Pat
7-11-2018


John,
I am confused by some of your comments regarding  EVs. You have said that the electric car makers, i.e. Tesla, do not recycle the batteries or repurpose them. A Tesla spokesperson has said they do indeed recycle them. Also You have said the Battery is the highest cost component of the vehicle. While I don’t disagree with this, I would contend that with an ICE vehicle the engine would be the most expensive part. On par with a lithium ion battery. As a caparison, comparing a model 3 with a BMW 3 series. While the OEM’s have got the cost down on manufacturing engines, to sell a engine to the public would run in the thousands. As an example The YouTube channel “Autovlog” Bought a New 2017 Mercedes AMG Paid $80,000+, had it for 7 weeks, got it vapour locked, destroying the engine. The retail cost to replace the engine $71.000.
 
Regards Wayne
7-11-2018


I like the photos of the Blazer.  The front is an improvement over the bulbous look of the last several years that the Traverse has toned down but still retains to a degree.
 
The problem with the Equinox design is it is too short in length and too tall for the side sculpture that looks fine on the Malibu.  And it still has that bulbous front.
 
I hope the Blazer has a camera to watch out for the toddlers that might walk in front.
7-11-2018


Hi John,



Saw you mentioning Tesla’s assembly operation in Tilburg, the Netherlands on Ask Autoline yesterday. You wondered what exactly they do there. I had a tour of the plant when I picked up my Tesla a few years ago. 



Tesla ships the assembled car body, the wheels, battery and rear drive unit/subframe/axle assembly seperately from the United States and basically lift up the body from a steel cart and assemble them to “legally” form the final assembled car.

 

This way they circumvent the EU import tariffs on their vehicles. I reckon you will see more of these operations in the short term at other carmakers (before factories are set up) as they adjust to higher tariffs. BTW, I do hope Trump succeeds at getting global car tariffs to 0%, if only so we can enjoy more US/imported cars in the EU.



Keep up the good work, really enjoy your show!



Ron
Ron,

Thanks for sending this, very informative and helpful.

John McElroy
7-11-2018


A car is not any better than sum of it parts suppliers OEM... Take VW of Mexico vs. Wolfsburg, AG...  Mexico Versions of new 2019 Jetta MK 7 are descibed (generously) as soft; by many car tester blog's... Compare  the new Jetta's Mk 7's side by side; Euro version's are better quality windows glass, seat material, carpet, dash plastics and mechanical's even down to the tension of the spring in a shoulder harnes return or seat back adjustment...  [ I have personally experienced these faults: (1.) Shoulder harness return spring weak in 2012 MK 6 Jetta's  (2.) Small Recall on 2015 Mk 6 Jetta's seat back spring falling off or jamming ] The OEM suppliers of North America just are not the same quality... !!  Thxs J. Bond
7-11-2018


Do think the Tesla 3 should maybe be renamed the Tesla Tucker?
7-11-2018


Hi,
 
A couple times lately you have been saying that Acura manufacturing is mostly outside the U.S. and they would be severely harmed by tariffs.  i had thought that the reverse was true.  I had trouble finding a way to find where each model is manufactured, but I found an Automotive News that stated that everything but the RLX is manufactured in the U.S. which is what I had thought.
 
"The brand made waves when it was launched in 1986 as the first Japanese luxury marque. When Acura debuted, all its vehicles were assembled in Japan. Today, only the flagship RLX is built there.”
 
Also, I saw an article about a new kind of Wankel engine that are being developed for UAVs that I thought was pretty interesting.  I wonder if there would be any automotive applications for this type of engine.
 
Thanks for all the awesome automotive coverage and keep up the great work!
 
Sincerely,
 
Jeff
6-25-2018


John & Team,

As a Canadian, I thought it might be worth finding out what vehicles are made on this side of the border.  Hope you folks enjoy the 25% tariff!

Love the shows.  Please keep up the great work.

Marcus
6-25-2018


John,

I love your shows and latest information you provide daily.
But regarding your today’s Ask Autoline #7.
Again, you are wrong
(1) Japan has 0 (zero) import tariffs for any automobiles and parts.
The reason American cars do not sell in Japan is American do not produce suitable car/suv to the market.
Trump is considering much higher tariffs for auto parts too.
(2) Ratio of Import Units
Toyota currently import about 25% of their US sales (not 50%) include Lexus.
Honda import only 10% of their US sales include Acura.
Nissan about 20% include Infiniti.

Please recheck the facts before you broadcast.

Thank you,

Jin
Jin,

I think your numbers are wrong. You're not counting Toyota's, Honda's or Nissan's that are made in Canada and Mexico as imports. If you do then Toyota imports over 50% of its vehicles into the US market and Honda imports over 40%. And those vehicles would absolutely be hit by Trump's tariffs, which was the topic on Ask Autoline.

John McElroy
6-25-2018


These Toyotas were spotted in Va. by my brother, who said they look brand new. Looking at the springs, it appears they have the optional 'Taliban’ suspension package,(ability to handle a rocket launcher and 9 guys in the bed. ; ~ }

Diesel engines and, for some reason, snorkels?

 Any idea if this truck, or variant, is available in the US? Could it be some upfitter here for foreign contractors?
How interesting! These are Toyota Land Cruiser 70 pickup trucks, which date back to 1984 and are still being produced today in Japan, Portugal and Venezuela. And you can option them out like the ones in the pictures you sent. They're not on sale in the U.S., but I did find an article from 2016 about a guy in Pennsylvania that was selling a pair on eBay. In the write up for the eBay listing he said he went through all the hoops to make them legal in the U.S. and an importer would be going back for more trucks. Since Pennsylvania and Virginia are so close, I'm willing to bet the trucks your brother spotted were those original eBay trucks or another set from the same importer.

Cheers,
Sean McElroy
6-25-2018


“What does it say about us when we need a pizza company to fix our roads?” Should be obvious! Without incentive Government will fail. Free market innovations succeeds because there IS an incentive for Dominoes to fix potholes! Where is the “Thank You” from the anti-capitalism groups? No surprise this news got very little coverage.
6-25-2018


Could Dr Data check and see if Accord hybrid sales went way up between April and May? Camry and Accord sales seem pretty close.
Yes, Accord hybrid sales did shoot up.

April, 2018: 626 =2.8% of Accord sales
May, 2017 1,976 =5.9%
May, 2018 2,591 =9.1%

John McElroy
6-20-2018


John and Sean,
I have argued that A/V's are going to have problems until the nations road network is ready for these cars. Depending on visual cues for these cars to steer and navigate is full of problems from weather conditions to lack of uniformity in road markings. The following paragraph is my idea to solve the problem. Let me know what you think.
 
I wonder if the use of an existing technology could be used in place of painted lines for A/V’s to follow. Its a technology that has been around for years. Its called Sensormatic passive tagging. Its the system used to prevent shop lifting in stores. When you walk past the RF stand/post near the exit door in stores it energizes any tag not removed or desensored at the cash register and sets off the alarm you hear. Why couldn’t cars have RF broadcasters in the front of the car to energize a sensor in the pavement that would provide navigation and steering data for the car to use? The sensors could be mass produced and could be designed not to be affected by weather conditions such as snow, ice, dirt and rain. It would eliminate having to use visual scans and could easily be standardized for all roads and cars. Here is a link to the company that produces this system
 
Thanks for reading
Fred
Fred,

Keep in mind that Waymo already has 7 million miles of AV testing on real-world roads that don’t have any provisions for AVs. We’re not going to need road infrastructure investments to make AVs a reality, though getting rid of potholes would help.

John McElroy
6-20-2018


John, I liked embarrassing questions to GM exec concerning how you increase market share by abandoning markets, and others which were answered with typical corporate speak.
Left column GM speak Right column reality.
Cyclical Downturn. Peak Car
Scale Balancing. Abandoned Markets
Insignificant Percentage. Anything we don't do well. 
Thanks for putting out my other comments on Tesla, clearly we have a different view.
Nice plaid jacket, takes one back to the mid 60's.


Little Bob
6-20-2018


John,
 
Tesla is now bringing out an EV with major technology upgrades every 2 years. If GM makes little change to a platform for 15 years, its EVs will be well out of date. The 8 year cycle with a refresh at 4 years must be under pressure for a reduction.  
 
Love Hightower's analysis of Africa based on your interview. Despite the geopolitical issues, western carmakers should attack the market. The irony is, the more successful the automakers are with production in Africa, the more money customers will have to buy the vehicles, but the industrialisation will reduce the birthrate and the market - something the world needs. Africa is on a path to be 50% of the worlds population in 50 years if it does not develop - displacing people from the rest of the world.
 
Regards
Peter
6-20-2018


*In response to viewer mail below*

Hi John - 
 
Glad to hear that the show is getting positive feedback! I have also enjoyed listening to the full show and excerpts on your podcasts.
 
Interesting document of automotive history. I believe I said on the show that BMW’s were initially assembled in South Africa by a private entrepreneur, and that company was later bought-out by BMW. This is was my short-hand reference to the same Praetor Assemblers in the city of Rosslyn, Gauteng Province, South Africa, mentioned in Mr. Fourie’s document. From Fourie's document, it appears that the only vehicles that Datsun assembled for BMW (from 1968-1970) were models from the Glas Automotive Company of Dingolfing, Germany, that BMW acquired in 1966. I visited BMW of South Africa’s Rosslyn plant a few years ago. The Nissan plant was close by and also in Rosslyn. The document helps explain how they ended up in the same city. 
 
Thanks for sharing?
 
Best,
 
ETH
 
Edward T. Hightower
6-20-2018


Hello John,
 
I enjoyed your panel discussion with Edward Hightower about his book Motoring Africa.  It was interesting to me hearing his version of how BMW started in South Africa.  BMW conveniently omit that they initially had their cars assembled by the Datsun (now Nissan) operation. 
 
I have been compiling an article that traces the history of automobile assembly and manufacture in South Africa.  It is in draft form and I do not mind you sharing it with Edward Hightower but I ask both of you to ensure that the distribution goes no further and not be published in any form.
 
May I also draw your attention to the LINKS page of the Society of Automotive Historians where we attempt to have a comprehensive listing of sites that embrace auto history. 

Autoline is most informative and I tip my hat at what you have accomplished.  Congratulations.
 
Kind regards,
 
Louis F. Fourie
President
Society of Automotive Historians
6-20-2018


Just finished watching the last video that discussed the problem of increasing gas taxes to repair infrastructure. Please discuss the option of putting the road tax on the tire. The tire size and load rating allows one to calculate the damage done to the road over it’s lifespan.
Love the show!
 
Ken
6-20-2018


Thought you guys should know, there are currently big problems with the Honda 1.5T engine as used in the new 5th gen CRV.
 
The engine has a problem with excessive gas dilution in the oil, it's thought that cold weather and short trips exacerbate the issue. This is a big problem!
 
Why am I telling you? Honda was forced to stop selling the CRV in China by regulators a couple of months ago. Initially a simple software upgrade for the ECU was rejected by Chinese regulators, but now a full update has been issued that includes replacing various equipment & modules, a full lifetime engine warranty, and other considerations for 130,000 owners.
 
Here is a link to todays news

The official Chinese announcement
 
These same issue affects a significant amounts of US and Canadian sold 2017 and 2018 CRVs and I would hope a recall is coming soon.
 
A forum for CRV owners has a posting with 100+ pages of complaints and speculation about this problem.
 
Honda needs to step up to the plate for US & Canadian owners of 5th gen CRV's and acknowledge and pledge to repair and warranty powertrains, the same as they've done in China.
 
Thanks, and sorry for the long post,
Andrew
6-20-2018


John,
Great show with Steve Miller. I wish I could have sent questions in real time.
 
I've read Steve Millers book in the past and the impression given was that he was a level headed realist that had to deal with a ton of long festering problems at places like Delphi.   
 
It’s interesting that even his son bought a Tesla. But aren’t most cars a fashion statement to some degree?
Gary was touching on the main point... Tesla has designed a better car that happens to be electric (vs an alternative fuel vehicle that has a lot of compromises).  
 
As far as the 450k model 3 reservations... what matters is who still has $1000 deposit with Tesla. I deferred my model 3 order to wait for AWD but I still left my deposit with them.  You don’t fully configure if you are waiting for the small battery or AWD. The right question is how many $1k deposits Tesla still has, more than number configured.
 
My impression is that Steve is one of elder statesman of the US auto industry so it’s so interesting to hear his view about trading some variable cost for lowered capex and more Mfg flexibility. I do wonder about how much his credibility does play into negotiations with OEMs... would the OEMs have more confidence that he will deliver at a fair price?

Regards,

Dave
6-20-2018


John,
 
Mobility services must cut the number of today's style vehicles if they are to work. But costs are not that great for vehicle ownership, and social factors drive ownership especially when they have a child.
 
Like many people, a car/truck (I currently have a medium aged Hyundai Tuscon) is one of the first assets I choose to own even though I only do 3,000 km per year due to living next to a rail line. It is probably worth US$8,000. Its function and appearance are little changed from new. It probably cost me US$1,800 per year for rego, insurance, maintenance, fuel. I'm paying an average of US$1/mile. Marginal cost of travel is US$0.16/mile as other costs are essentially yearly due to low miles. Only in the least developed, or most crowded world, is owning and operating second-hand car not in the reach of virtually every adult.
 
Humans like the freedom of owning stuff - for many a vehicle will be the most expensive item they get to own as houses cost 10 to 20 times more. If you say you will give someone a lift, if its your own car it will generally have no payments directly associated with the trip - gas, rego, etc are paid for at other times. 
 
If you give someone a lift in an Uber/Taxi, there is a cost at the end of the trip that has to paid at the end of the trip and it costs many times the marginal cost of travel in a vehicle you own. Social factors will drive car ownership. 
 
While the demand is for high-riding (better views of neighbourhood and road) spacious vehicles - a long term trend, new vehicle types will come out of China and India that will serve as first, second, third, household vehicles. 
 
The crowded cities of India, China and Europe, will spawn cheap electric two-wheelers and micro four-wheelers (about the size of a Renault Twizzy) - mainly assembled in Asia. The two-wheelers will cost from $200 to $1,500 new. The four-wheelers will cost from $1,000 to $10,000 new. The EU is about to apply anti-dumping measures to cheap electric two-wheelers from China. In a decade, these vehicles will be all over the world. If made in largely automated plants, they can be economically made in developed countries. 
 
In Australia, the biggest barrier to vehicle ownership is the huge number of regulated hours of supervised driving before being allowed to drive unsupervised. Kids will learn to drive if the cost and time for learning come down - and mum and dad can be replaced as teachers. There will be demand for big reductions once driver assistance features get better - I don't mean automation. A recent Edmunds comparison of Tesla and GM automation found automation systems are very primitive compared to humans, I think we are many years away from autonomous vehicles. In the US, poor line marking of roads is a major barrier to automation.
 
Regards
Peter
6-1-2018


Hi John,
 
Here's another reason why NASCAR is essentially on life support.. with less viewers as Comcast packaging of channels makes it more difficult for viewers to watch races; it's not like yesteryear where NASCAR races were always on non-cable channels.. every change Comcast makes is costing sponsors $Millions and some just won't pay and why 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson is looking for sponsors.
 
Mike
6-1-2018


John,

Tesla is now bringing out an EV with major technology upgrades every 2 years. If GM makes little change to a platform for 15 years, its EVs will be well out of date. The 8 year cycle with a refresh at 4 years must be under pressure for a reduction.  

Love Hightower's analysis of the Africa based on your interview. Despite the geopolitical issues, western carmakers should attack the market. The irony is, the more successful the automakers are with production in Africa, the more money customers will have to buy the vehicles, but the industrialisation will reduce the birthrate and the market - something the world needs. Africa is on a path to be 50% of the worlds population in 50 years if it does not develop - displacing people from the rest of the world.

Regards
Peter
Peter,

GM is talking about the underlying structure of the car not changing. Not the technology that gets bolted onto it, such as batteries, motors, computers, etc. The body styling will also get updated regularly.

Tesla already used the kind of layout GM is talking about, which ironically GM pioneered with its HyWire prototype.

John McElroy
6-1-2018


Exclusive Info from Tesla CEO Elon Musk on CR's Model 3 Braking Results ...

John,
So..A more simple powertrain/body/chassis architecture, many things software upgradeable..and upgradeable quickly with OTA updates, and a laser focused CEO that is flattening the org to speed decision making and fix problems rapidly.
 
Think you’ll probably continue to talk about Tesla regularly? 
 
PS. What’s the projected multi year cost to American Consumers of the proposed switch to premium only fuel?  
And how much EV charging infrastructure would this pay for?
 
 
And..I hope Ford is working on an eRaptor PHEV and not some lame, doomed to be a sales flop overpriced f150 PHEV with 15 miles electric range.   It should be a performance AWD PHEV with better efficiency, performance, handling, tow, payload, nvh, with ePTO.
When will the other non-Tesla OEMs cut their teams lose to create more very compelling PEVs?  It does seem like jag truly is trying with the iPace.
--
Regards,
Dave
Thanks for sending the CR link. Very good podcast.

We had Charlie Freese in here yesterday, he runs GM’s fuel cell efforts. He made an interesting comment on electrification: everyone loses money on their PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs. The trick, as a manufacturer, is to not be too early with this technology but also not to be too late. I think right now most OEMs see this as too early. But in a few years that’s going to change.

John McElroy
6-1-2018


Yes that is an interesting comment.  
It would be very interesting to learn from Sandy Munro whether the losses are from  simply not having the volumes to recover the fixed costs invested.. or not recovering fixed costs AND not covering their variable mfg costs. 
 
I get the impression right now that GM is probably generating cash from each sale of a Bolt EV ( revenue minus mfg costs positive) but they don’t expect the volumes to be high enough to recover their capex fixed costs for the program.  This is what frustrates some finance savvy folks is that if the problem is not covering the fixed costs then why not try to actually advertise and boost sales volumes to finally recover the cost?   I have never seen a Bolt EV commercial on TV nor a Volt commercial past the 1st year 2011 in our area despite it being EV friendly. 
 
I wonder if there are other inputs to the financial analysis that create a catch 22.  Maybe with fixed advertising budgets they look the marginal corporate profit for a shift to the Bolt EV and with  the cost of mainstream TV advertising it is better to hawk trucks and SUVs? 
 
Also, I wonder how much outsourced to the supply base affects this.  When Tesla and VW do more in house, does this change the ROI for advanced technology ?
 
It may be good for incumbents of the existing technology but It’s a problem for society when the structure of an industry is such that there are impediments to the development and deployment of new beneficial technologies.   
You’ve never seen a Tesla ad, either.

Today much more advertising spend is digital. More money is going to car buying sites. I was doing a search for a Fiesta and got ads popping up for the Leaf and later for the Prius. I imagine Chevy is doing the same thing with the Bolt.

With only 0.6% market share no automaker is going to spend millions on tv ads for their EVs.

Besides, consumers will find what they want. Ford launched the Ecosport in January with zero advertising or marketing and no media coverage. Yet it found thousands of buyers instantly.

John McElroy
6-1-2018


My name is Maurice Pharand and I live at my summer cottage where mice are a common problem.  I was planning on buying a new car this fall, (but in the process of doing some research) I came across several legal class actions regarding electrical problems caused by rodents chewing on the electrical wiring inside car engines.  Apparently, this has been an ongoing problem since 2006.  Do you know what the car manufacture are currently doing to alleviate this problem or invite representatives from the various manufactures to advise us accordingly?
 
Here is a website that further explains the potential problems.
 
Cheers
 
Maurice Pharand
This is not a new problem. Rodents and other small animals have been nesting in cars ever since cars appeared over 100 years ago. In winter time, many like to snuggle up in a warm engine compartment.

While mice chewing on wiring harnesses attracts media attention, this is not a widespread problem. It should not prevent you from buying a new car.

John McElroy
6-1-2018


Hi,
 
  I'm a big fan of your show and especially the interview skills of John McElroy.  A skilled interviewer like him is rare, and he certainly stands out and makes the show enjoyable.
 
  I was particularly impressed with your recent show #2211, the interview with Rande Somma: so much that I have ordered his book.
 
  The whole subject of the short-term view of CEOs and board of directors completely reminded me of the Nortel Networks story, which was a big deal here in Ottawa (I'm a radio frequency design engineer who used to work at Nortel, here in Ottawa).
 
   In my opinion, the former CEO, John Roth, had no incentive to put Nortel on the correct and healthy long-term path: rather, his stock option incentives were all geared to the short-term goal of raising the stock price over the period of a few years to 'cash in', which he did.  All of the industry 'hype' at that time (2000) was around optical networks, and it was that 'frenzied' bubble, and his decision to throw Nortel's resources in that direction that drove the stock price up.  When the bubble burst, Nortel fell and never recovered, and I feel that if he and the board of directors had done their jobs, they should have seen this coming.  Instead, Roth ended up with enormous bonuses on his way out the door to retirement.
 
  I'm up in Ottawa, but luckily we get your show on PBS on cable tv.
 
thanks again, and I look forward to more great shows...

Paul
6-1-2018


Ford built the model T.  Depending on the model it averaged 134 inches in length, was 69 inches width and was 73 inches tall.  It had a 100 inch wheel base and approximately 60 inch track front and rear.  It was designated a CAR.
Ford builds the EcoSport.  It is 161 inches long, 70 inches wide and 65 inches tall. It has a 99 inch wheel base and approximately 59 inch track.  It is called a CROSSOVER and or an “SUV”.



I contend that Ford is still in the CAR business.  The top hat of the EcoSport "SUV" is actually not so different to the Model T, A CAR.  In today's vernacular the model T would be a truck since it was body on frame.

 
Whats in a name anyway.
 
Regards

Glenn

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