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5-19-2017


My guess at what is really going on at the Corvette plant.

The recent leak of a new LT5 engine “ENGINE GAS CYL, 6.2L, SIDI, DOHC, VVT, ALUM, GM,”
 
“The Corvette plant will get a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop -- 200,000 square feet more than the current shop”
 
The new paint shop is only part of what they are doing. For 2019 model year the assembly line will start off as 1 line to create the mid-engine chassis and then split into 2 assembly lines. Line A will build a new Cadillac sports car.  Line B will build the Corvette. This line will be longer with more work stations and people working on it so the cars can be built cars faster than on the Cadillac line. So the reason they are closing tours for 18 months is they do not want people to see the new assembly line being built and anything that might say Cadillac.
To design, engineer, and develop a new DOHC engine is going to cost a lot of money. For a md-engine car you’re going to need new transaxle (dual clutch) or maybe 2 transaxles (auto and manual). Could Corvette justify and pay for this high cost driveline by itself? I don't think so. But if they could share the cost with Cadillac, then they could.
 
George Ricci
Great letter!
5-19-2017


John

That was a great historical show on GM fuel cell development.  Floyd and Charlie were priceless.

Regards

Chuck
5-19-2017


Hello, I just finished listening to last weeks AAH and the caller who said that gas prices here in Ontario were already at $5/gallon was wrong. 
 
First, that person must have confused US gallons and imperial gallons. 1 imperial gallon = 4.5L while a US gallon is 3.8L. Lots of us in Canada make that mistake. So at the $1.16/L that he was talking about, an Imperial gallon would cost a little over $5.20. But as Americans, you obviously think in US gallons. Which at that same price would be about $4.40.
 
But thats not all. Then there is the exchange rate, which has been hovering around 1 Canadian dollar equalling 73 cents US. Or to think of it another way: everything in Canada is 27% off to Americans.
 
So, that '$4.40/gal' is actually more like $3.20 if you were to hop the border. Still more than the average price in the US by about 50%. But its nowhere near the 2 to 3 times more that you mentioned in the show.
 
You were right that our gas is more expensive due to taxes and a lack of domestic refining. It would make a lot of sense for there to be a refinery setup out west to send gasoline to the rest of the country instead of sending our crude down to Texas & buying back the gasoline ... but thats a discussion for another time. On thing that we do get from our higher gasoline taxes is better roads, overall, than in the US. I've driven through Michigan, Ohio, and New York a fair bit on my way to states that are even farther afield. And a lot of the roads are just awful. Seems like a lot of them aught to have been repaved at least 5 years ago. And seeing all those bridges with plywood 'concrete catchers' under them isn't the most confidence inspiring either. Our roads here aren't perfect, but a lot of the worst ones get fixed up or replaced in a pretty timely manner, at least as far as I can tell.
 
One other side benefit of higher gas prices: by making mass transit more attractive, it pulls more cars off the roads making the act of driving (on our at least half-decent roads) all the more enjoyable.
 
Take care, and congrats on 20 years of Autoline. I've been watching/listening since a little before Round About started. Sometimes I miss that show, other times I wonder how it managed to last as long as it did.
 
-DG
Davin,

Great, great, great feedback. Thanks so much for sending this.

John McElroy
5-19-2017


Wow! I just finished watching your show # 2114- Fuel Cell technology and found it to be a fascinating topic. Maybe this topic could have been selected to a “one hour long sow?” Thank you, keep it up!
5-19-2017


Hey John,
Been watching your show for coming on 18yrs now. Watch it every chance I get, love the stories, love the people and love the info. I do miss the AUTO EXTREMIST and your dog.
 
You guys did mention at the end of a recent show the news involving the Packard Plant…

1. Packard Plant Redevelopment

2. Packard Plant Project Moving Forward

Thank you for the great show, the great info.
Mike from Delaware.
Mike,

Thanks for the great feedback, much appreciated. And thanks for the links to those stories.

John McElroy
5-19-2017


Hey John. I remember advertisements by oil companies saying that more wear and tear in an engine is done at engine startup than during normal operation. With more and more manufacturers putting stop/start technology in their vehicles, wouldn't that cause the engines to wear faster?



CNews123
Most engine wear comes from cold starts, after most the oil has dropped to the oil pan. A hot start does not cause that much wear. Most stop/start systems don’t engage until after the engine has reached operating temperature.
5-19-2017


John,
 
I would like to see an interview about how the Recovery Industry is and will plan to handle wrecked electric and hybrid vehicles. I remember when autos with hydraulic-backed bumpers were amputating fingers/hands and damaging the recovery workers knees back in the 70’s. Now they have to be concerned with electrocution from the electric power source.  I enjoy your programs.
 
 
Jim Adcock
5-19-2017


Good afternoon,
 
I haven't finished yesterday's Autoline After Hours, but had two topics perhaps for next week.  First, a comment during the Tesla earnings call could use your interpretation.  How big of a deal is this anecdote when considering manufacturing improvements?
 
Tesla’s flagship Model S and Model X have approximately 3 km of wiring within the vehicle, while Tesla’s highly anticipated Model 3 will have roughly half of that at 1.5km of wiring. Model Y on the other hand will only have 100m of wiring, a 95% reduction over Model 3.  
 
Second, the use of data as a revenue stream has been mentioned frequently.  Can you or any of your guests walk through a real example of how the data will be used, value, etc.?  Will the ads be placed in the car or gathered and sold to marketers who will place ads in other venues?  This topic seems to be a primary business driver but hasn't been fully defined yet.
 
Thanks,
Alan
Alan,

Two terrific suggestions. We will take you up on this!

John McElroy
5-19-2017


You started by speculating that the Corvette plant was being closed to tours because maybe the Corvette is going mid-engine.  You followed that with a discussion of hybrid supercars. It seems to me a real possibility is that the new Corvette could retain the front engine but add hybrid power.  That change would be sufficient to close the factory to tours.
 
Neil G
Neil,

The new ‘Vette could be a hybrid. But you wouldn’t need 18 months to retool the plant for that. That much of a shutdown implies something much bigger is on the way.
5-19-2017


Autoline After Hours has many times discussed the pros and cons of using hydrogen fuel cells to propel vehicles. Fueling infrastructure is one of the major limiting factors for the broad use of hydrogen. Also the amount of conversion energy required to separate hydrogen from water and natural gas as well as on board storage are often mentioned. An article in a recent SAE International newsletter presented a unique method for on demand hydrogen generation developed by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for use in aircraft.
 
Forget ICE and liquid or compressed gas fuels. Let’s move on to fuel cell electrics using activated aluminum powder and water as the fuel source. Imagine going to the dealer, maybe auto parts stores or big box stores for do-it yourselfers, to purchase the aluminum powder (in a reusable cartridge) and using your garden hose to fill your plastic water tank. Wow, would this be a traumatic change in the status quo of the automotive world as we know it or what.
 
This scenario may be one to consider for discussion during an upcoming broadcast.
5-9-2017


John,
I enjoyed the City of Tommorrow program but was waiting for an in-depth discussion about autonomy and Mass Transit. If I were a Gov't official looking at buses, trains, subway and such, I'd slam on the brakes as I think autonomous vehicles will rewrite the book. 
I'd take a bus to work if I could go to the park and ride lot and hop in a Waymo Pacifica that would only take 4 or 6 people and drop us within feet of our exact destination with no ghost stops along the way like conventional buses must do.
I'd love to hear this discussed in greater depth.
 
Peter Smith
Peter,

We’ve reported a lot on autonomy and will continue to do so in the future.

I completely agree that city transit officials may not want to invest too heavily in mass transit until this move to ride sharing becomes clearer. A bus in combination with an autonomous shuttle for “the final mile” could be a very compelling system.

John McElroy
5-9-2017


Love watching all the shows, found about them about 2 years ago



Anyway not sure how to add it to "you said it" but after watching autoline after hours with Buick Enclave wouldn't it be better for Buick or GM in one of there other trim lines like avenir only as a plug-in to make it easier to meet CAFE laws
Automakers lose money on plug-ins. They pretty much only offer them because the law requires them to do so. GM will sell as many plug-ins as it needs to. Until costs drop dramatically and until consumers buy them in mass quantities, automakers will not have much incentive to offer more plug-in models.
5-9-2017


John, on AAH# 375 when discussing autonomous cars and high speed.
The technology for multiple vehicles to travel at high speeds close together is one thing, however...the laws of physics still apply.
Autonomous vehicles are still at the mercy of tires, traction, road hazards and countless other variables.
It just seems that IF something goes wrong at high speeds, autonomous cars will still crash, especially when tightly grouped together.
  
Rob Michel 
All your points are spot on. Autonomous cars will not be perfect. That does not mean we should not adopt new technology or new ideas. We could also eliminate almost all traffic fatalities by strictly enforcing a national speed limit of 25 mph. But people will not accept that because we are ready to accept a certain amount of risk.
5-9-2017


Two questions for you, and they can be talked about if relevant to the show whenever.
First of all with all the Technologies in newer cars, how do you feel that this will affect the used  car market in a few years?
Do you think that buyers are going to want the possibility of paying to repair or the maintenance to keep the cars up, or will we see an uptick in
Certified pre owned  with extensive warranties and service contracts.
 
Second I know that the auto companies love loyalty to their brands, but how do you think they feel when someone loves their car so much it keeps them from buying a newer version sooner than later?
As an example I love my 2000 Impreza 2.5Rs and have had it since new with no plans to replace yet even with over 200,000 miles on it> is this a good thing for image or rather have bought 3 to 4 cars within that time frame?
 
Thanks again for a great show
Shawn Priest
Fairbanks Alaska
New technology has been pouring into cars in the last decade and it has not affected how people buy used cars. CPO sales are up, but that’s probably got more to do with better marketing than it does with consumers afraid of all the technology in used cars.

Automakers would always prefer to sell more cars. But they also appreciate owners who hold onto their cars because they love them, and who tell all their friends how good the car is. That is the best way to build a brand’s image.
5-9-2017


John,



Long time viewer.. with questions.



1.  GM proposes premium fuel? Do you think this will happen? How will this affect ethanol production?  This could also affect the school bus industry which is considering gasoline as an alternative to diesel.



2. You have referenced truck sales being down as an economic indicator. Could it be that the emission controls legislation caused a disruption to the truck buying cycle?  For example trucking companies pre purchased trucks before the 2007 & 2010 emission updates and this caused truck purchases to sync up. So now there is a purchasing cycle that is not economically driven.



Thanks

Dan Kobussen
Good questions.

High octane fuel will likely become the standard fuel in the next decade or so, since automakers say they need it to meet fuel economy and emission standards. This will definitely help production of ethanol, specifically cellulosic ethanol.

The school bus industry is also very interested in propane (LPG) because it’s so cheap and burns so clean.

My sources in the trucking industry say that the drop in Class 8 sales is just a cyclical downturn not related to new engines with more expensive emission controls.

John McElroy
5-9-2017


Hi John,
 
Can you imagine a day where Amazon has fleets of autonomous vans that deliver merchandise; when the van is 5 minutes from your delivery point, you get a phone call stating that your parcel is ready to be delivered, to press 1 if you're available to pick up or press 2 to pick up at a later time.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
5-9-2017


Next time y'all interview someone from GM, could you ask what's up with this?
 
I've visited GM dealers in the Jax Fl and Brunswick Ga area about 15 times in the last 18 months looking to see and feel either a diesel powered Colorado or Cruze. They never have them and even though they take my number, they never call me when one comes in.
 
On several shows, I continue to hear that the diesel hasn't been incredibly popular but to my point, "how can this really be judged when the dealers simply don't have them"?


If Toyota doesn't release a diesel version of either the Tundra or Tacoma this fall, I will consider ordering one if I ever stumble across one to test it out.


PS, all of my Motörhead friends really are bored with all of the autonomous vehicle chat. We doubt people really care about this as much as John does. And tell him to stop cutting guests off on his show when they chat about diesel stuff. He may hate diesels but we don't and would love to hear their comments as it more represents a greater part of the population. Just my 2 cents. Thanks,

Tom Brouillette
5-9-2017


Love your show and watch daily and weekly all that you produce.  Wanted to say I was not expecting much with todays episode of Autoline After hours but Don Tocco was fabulous.  Really well spoken and just very interesting person to hear from.  Thanks for thinking outside the box and bringing him on.  He was truly fascinating and so great to listen to.  Good questions from you all as well.  Keep up the good work and thanks as always.



Bill Eichenberger

Auto Enthusiast Extraordinaire.
Bill,

We’re glad you liked the show. We were wondering how the audience would react to having a guest who is not a car designer, engineer or executive. But we figured Don Tocco would be interesting enough to carry the show, and he sure did!

John McElroy
5-9-2017


John
 
Last evening I was watching TV and saw what I think may be a newer version of the awful Volvo ads. The ad showed a man sitting in an office switch to a garage and this guy is  then putting a bike on a roof rack on a Volvo . The next scene is the car a Volvo driving out of the garage without the bike or a roof rack. Switch again to another scene and the roof rack is back on the car with a bike on it and they are driving down a road. That’s it no real mention of what the car is or why you should buy it. Just a white line of text on the screen saying Volvo.
 
John, what happened to selling to car telling the viewer about how safe a Volvo is, what a great car it is, anything! These lifestyle ads don’t say anything. I can easily understand why Volvo sales are in the hopper.
 
Michael Gelven
5-9-2017


John,
 
I know it been a while since we have had the chance to touch base but, had to reach out after watching this episode
 
Even though the dialogue was high level, the discussion points really on point.  Personally, I’ve been a proponent for hydrogen since the electrification debate began.  Knowing Joel Ewanick since his Hyundai days, seeing him launch FirstElement was a really encouraging sign that this fueling source had a chance.
 
Additionally, Bryan Pivovar’s explanation of how America could develop a closed loop energy system utilizing solar, wind combined with hydrogens storage capabilities was inspiring.  Now to your point, how do we get the government to recognize and support this technological and ecological opportunity shift?
 
Thanks for continuing the great work.  Hope to connect with you again soon.
 
All the best,
 
Steve
5-9-2017


Just watched your show on tooling problem. The Chrysler guy said they pay 12.50 an hour to start. That's why they have this problem. That is not a living wage for a skilled position even to start. The basic skill level for that type of job demands 20.00 an hour to start . Ask how much those guys make on that show. Top down economics.
4-24-2017


Hi John,
 
    I would like to know how many Auto Manufacturers are offering "Standard Shift" and in what models. It seems that "Stick" is going the way of the Dinosaur.
 
Thank You,Dale
What you’re asking for would take several hours of research. Send us a check and we’d be happy to do it!

What we can tell you is that last year 501,230 manual transmissions were sold in cars and trucks in the U.S., which represented 2.8% of all transmissions.
4-24-2017


John and Gary,
 
As industry insiders, you obviously care about the auto industry and its base in metropolitan Detroit.
  
I write from a country with the opposite problem to the US and Detroit in particular - people are leaving rural areas and small cities of Australia for our 4 largest cities - its all about access to public and private services - our mobility is crap so people move to where it matters less. Another factor may be that our state governments are in the largest city in their state.
 
Detroit/Wayne County is still losing people. One property developer is doing a lot to revive downtown Detroit, but it will suffer until its mobility issues (in the widest context) are much improved.
 
Outer metropolitan Detroit is still growing. The product of the auto city/auto state made it possible to live a very suburban life in neighbourhoods with "people like us". Detroit city was allowed to go bust by the State Govt. 
 
If Michigan is to continue long term with its out-sized role in auto/mobility industry, it needs to be able to show off a city where all the main mobility technologies are available, and are attracting people to live there. 
 
New York is about the only US city where the city centre is a sought after place to live and work. Yet for most of the developed and developing world, city centres are the sought after places to live. 
 
"Detroit" was the name around which the US auto industry was organised. It is a name known to the world as a result. That the name is disowned at home from a political perspective hurts the industry.
 
The Detroit Three and local major suppliers need to pressure the state govt to come up with an integrated Detroit metropolitan strategy that allows the city centre, along with a number of regional centres, in the metro area to thrive. 
 
It would help to have a "Detroit Metropolitan Planning Authority", rather than a "South East Michigan Planning Authority".  There is nothing that shouts more loudly that I hate the biggest city in my state than government refusing to use its name. This hatred rubs off on visitors and the economy.
 
Philadelphia has the same problem. Among other things, its transit authority is called the South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). My cousin, who is a university lecturer there, says it is very destructive to the morale of the city.
 
Regards
Peter Egan
4-24-2017


Hi John, you know what grinds my gears in automotive design is the fact that manufactures re-badge and sell it to different markets. Like take the example of a Opel Insignia as a Buick and the new Chevy Volt as Buick Velite in china. I get so mad that the Opel Insignia is not Opel's design language. I know there is cost saving. But those companies need to separate what is Opel design versus a Buick design and etc. 
 
I feel bad for the Opel designers ( in this example). who cannot think and design what Opel stands for and just copying it from Buick. Just sad
 
That's just my 2 cents. 
What you think of it?
 
Thanks
Abhi from Canada.
4-24-2017


on Oliver Schmidt  
 
I had thought that he was cooperating with US, and even
let US know that he was coming to US?
 
thanks
 
mike
Yes, Schmidt alerted authorities that he was coming to the US. They arrested him and still have him imprisoned saying he is a flight risk. Another reason may be that they’ll use him as a bargaining chip with VW.
4-24-2017


Dear John,
 
I love Autoline and am an avid follower. I have a question that maybe you can answer. I know that there have been tests of seat backs in vehicles that fail in an impact causing them to fall into the back seat. If an infant carrier is there. the infant could be severely injured or killed. I believe that there have been instants where infants have been killed. Have seat manufacturers addressed and fixed this issue? Should there be a recall of vehicles that have defective seat backs?
 
Love your show! Keep up the good work.
 
Bobby
All automakers have to meet crash standards for seat backs. They are tested at 30 mph. Consumer Reports has developed a new test that occurs as 35 mph. But if an accident is severe enough, meaning if a car gets hit at high speed, the seat backs could break. Some safety experts say the standards are not tough enough.
4-24-2017


When I heard the Lincoln gentleman speak of the horizontal, horizon defining description of elegance, I said YES!
 
It's getting back to those 'timeless' visual sensibilities.  It was also kind of funny hearing this after the description of the 'fierce' Infinity grand SUV.
 
But, these things go in cycles of course, but Lincoln is tapping into the yearning of many.
 
r work
4-24-2017


Subject: automotive technicians and poor pay for the knowledge

HI guys
  I don't get to catch much TV but I like this insider program . I have always wanted to bring up the poor pay in the field for the amount of schooling ( that never stops ) and how much our bodies get beat up over our life. The "quick buck" dealers constantly try to find ways to reduce book time and so on.
 Most of the smarter people I know left or are in the process of leaving and what we are left with are poor working part changers but all anyone wants is speed and a quick buck.
 This field wont keep a quality work force with 50 to 80k a year pay when people in the cpu industry make the same or more and don't have to invest 30k+ in tools !
 I would like to know your thoughts on this and while some people will counter this I find they never did it for a living but something has to change because the old grease monkey won't cut it anymore!
 
Thanks for the great show
Tony 
Tony,

You make a great point. Asking techs to buy their own tools is like asking teachers to buy their own supplies and materials.-
4-24-2017


Hey Ford Motor- Shame on you- How dare you ( Ford Motor Co.) insult me with the blah blah blah about your Police Responder Hybrid Sedan being a "pursuit rated " vehicle., I read all of the propaganda and found NO information about how fast it will go, and for how long. Other manufacturers offerings are approaching 140 mph. Although very rarely needed it is welcomed! Speed is a welcomed intimidation  weapon in an officers' arsenal. Maybe a more correct term should be "mop" up vehicle vs. pursuit rated vehicle.. Youngblood ( Retired from the field of law) C'town OH
4-24-2017


John
 
Have you seen the 2018 Sienna snout? Oh I’m sorry I meant the new Philips Electric Razor.
 
jd
Shaves without a cord!
4-24-2017


Hey, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Nikola Motor Company. I went to the site and the truck looks interesting and might be able to save operating cost. They are building a hydrogen network through the Ryder system, not convenient but a start.
I think that Nikola has a technically intriguing idea, but it seems to be a very expensive system. It is a battery-electric Class 8 semi with a giant 320 kwh battery pack that uses a fuel cell as a range extender. Batteries are expensive, and fuel cells are expensive, so this will be one very expensive truck.

Nikola faces a technical challenge and a business challenge. Now it’s up to Nikola’s management to overcome those challenges.

John McElroy
4-24-2017


Hi John



The 2018 Outback looks like a mid-cycle refresh not an entirely new model. Am I correct in this thought?



Thanks I love your shows!





Michael
Michael,

You are absolutely correct. The new Outback represents a mid-cycle refresh.

John McElroy
4-7-2017


John - We were told we would see the Pacifica Hybrid in 4th qtr 2016,  Journalist drove them in Nov.  Chrysler wrapped their building with flying pigs in Nov.  Production started in Dec.  Customers could place orders mid Dec.  By Feb many were being build, but now they are just sitting at the plant and Chrysler won’t ship them.  (Mine was built 2/13 and has been sitting in storage for 6 weeks)  Many of us that have ordered these and have the build sheets are very frustrated at Chrysler for no info on why they won’t ship.  With all your connections is there any way you can find out what’s going on?  Chrysler is going to blow this launch if they don’t start shipping soon.
Check out the Pacifica forum to see the frustration building.



Any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Been a fan for years and love the work you do for all us “enthusiast of the automotive industry”.



Thanks,



Tony
Tony,

You’ve definitely uncovered a launch problem with the Pacifica plug-in. It took me a while to get FCA to put out a statement, but here it is:

“As with all launches, but particularly in the case of this technically advanced vehicle, we are taking great care to ensure that the Pacifica Hybrid comes off the line with the highest quality possible. We will only introduce a vehicle when we are fully satisfied the vehicle meets or exceeds customer expectations.

We have been ramping up the build at the Windsor Assembly Plant, and full retail production will now begin on Friday, April 7. Vehicles will start shipping to dealers on Monday, April 17.”

The fact that they took your order months ago indicates that whatever the glitch is caught them by surprise. I’ve driven the plug-in Pacifica and was astonished at how good it is. Hopefully they’ve got all the bugs ironed out.

John McElroy
4-7-2017


After Hours #368:



Pieter Hogeveen said that the new Alfa is aware of the poor perceptions Alfa had in the past and that they
already working to avoid repeating that unfortunate history.  They are working to assure a better experience f
or today’s newer [and less jaded ] buyers.



I loved the GTV and the Duettos when they were new [and I was much younger].  I did not, however
put any mechanic’s children through college by way of keeping Spica duel injection  alive.



Mr. Hogeveen's claims that the old perceptions of Alfa will be swept away by new favorable experiences
[presumably with more reliable, better engineered and assembled cars, and good dealer service] appear somewhat optomistic.  To be taken not with a grain [65mg], but a kilogram [1000mg] of salt.



Like the crush of a disappointing romance [take your pick:  female, auto, motorcycle, airplane], the
omens do not auger well for the Alfa.



I swear that Marchionne fellow is a Jonah.



When I hear a story about a fault ridden Alfa Giulia from a car guy by the name of Mike Monticello.  [You will remember his byline from Road and Track], I shudder.



On a different note:



John, you said something like the Ridgeline was the truck for non truck-guys last week, yet I seem to
remember these words escaping your mouth when it was introduced:  "I love it !”



Perhaps even a truck guy can love a truck built for non truck guys.



Best,



mike
4-7-2017


Just wanted you to know that I enjoy the show. Great perspective.



I met Mr. McElroy many years ago when he gave a presentation in Santa Fe for the world executives of Webasto Sunroofs, which was part of the Magna group at the time.



Thanks for the informative presentation!



Bob Jacobs
4-7-2017


Yes, I do agree that America used to be the best tool & die makers.  Well, we used to be the best industry manufacturers too, but that's a bigger issue.
 
My father worked at Packard Motor Car Compay for 20 years (1936 to 1956).  Once this auto giant collapsed he went to work for Don Prior, Inc. an experimental gear machining group in Oak Park, MI.(Meyers & Capitol).  He did a variety of gear tool processes and eventually became their main Q/A inspector.  However, the company folded in the early 1990's.  WHY?  Because Detroit Auto, the Big-3, were offshoring this work to cheaper European and possibly Asian operations.
 
I say one has to lay blame to the current offshoring process that American businessmen have dumped onto the once capable American skill trades.  You're seeing it accelerate to blue collar manufacturing and even white collar engineering, using the two-fer from China, India or Russia to replace higher but better qualified American engineers.  I mean go to Cleveland, OH, once a capital of machine shop tool industry, and see the destitution.
 
The problem here in the USA is the ambitious and destructive American businessman.  Business is business is their going motto and they can get away with economic murder with it.  Making personal wealth for the Ford family is more important than making an economic viable and thriving tool & die industry.
 
So I don't believe the American tool & die industry will come back.  For one, we don't even make the machines that make the things, like we use to do.  I think maybe Bridgeport Milling Machines may still be around.  And look at GM selling off all that tooling to foreign buyers when the Ypsilanti Hydra-Matic transmission plant closed doors.  Again, another auto management decision to use cheaper slave labor from the "Global Economy", which Detroit does not seem to be part of anymore.
 
I'm seeing a raping of America ability over the past few decades.  We used to do the work and it was abandoned by those Harvard MBA Genius types who strolled into Detroit to make their fortunes at the cost of destroying Detroit's economy.  And it did through cost reduction methods (see Ford).  Detroit City didn't go bankrupt because black men were in political control.  It started with with the offshoring of local quality work by Big-3 managements.
 
I have 45 years of Detroit Auto experience and have done a large amount of innovative work for Ford, GM and Chrysler plus many of their suppliers.  I know and see the truth of what is happening from in the inside.  And its just very disturbing to those Americans who want to advance skilled trades and science engineering.  Slave labor rules and runs this process anymore.  Ask anyone with a fancy MBA what their objective is.
 
But nobody tells our story of struggle and abandonment.  We don't have a Sales and Marketing group to feed advertising money.

Al
Al,

I completely agree with everything you say here. The Big Three only have themselves to blame for offshoring so much tool & die work. I remember talking to some tool & die companies from Ohio about a decade ago who were very bitter about this. In fact, one of them said, “God bless Honda because they believe in local tooling sources and they’re the only ones keeping us alive right now.” They hated the Big Three.

The good news is GM, Ford and FCA finally got the wakeup call. They along with Toyota and Honda are dead serious about reviving the US tool industry. In fact, we just shot one of my Autoline television programs all about this which will be on our website on April 13 and can be seen on Detroit Public Television on April 16.

It’ll take years to turn this around but you’ve got to start sometime. You’ll be hearing more about this effort.

John
3-29-2017


Hello Autoline - love the show. I moved out to California to work for Tesla and I have been tuning in more and more to get your take on the industry. You guys are pretty fair to Tesla. I hope someday they can be allowed to sell in Michigan.



Here's a suggestion: I would love to see Peter de Lorenzo of the auto extremist blog.



Also, to give feedback on your live recordings, I off course never take in the show via live format.



Thanks and keep up the good work!



John
John,

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. We hope the state of Michigan wakes up and allows Tesla sell to all the people who want to buy them.

Did you see Peter DeLorenzo in the Autoline This Week episode?

Best,
John McElroy
3-29-2017


Guys, I’m a big fan, been watching the daily show for over 5 years, but enough about the Demon, why such a strong (daily) focus on a limited edition – keep the big picture in mind – as you say global industry
 
Adam Romanski
3-29-2017


John,
 
It seems Pres. Trump is well practiced in the “start high and negotiate down “ philosophy of business.  In  respect to proposing an import tax he’ll probably propose a higher amount planning to eventually negotiate a lower import tax, if he’s planning to call for an  import tax at all.  I think the automotive shareholders and the Wall Street money people would weigh In on the tax idea also.
 
Jim Adcock
3-29-2017


Hello Sean/John,
 
On Autoline Daily episode 2065 (March 14, 2017), you have mentioned that heavy trucks sales are sliding downward in US and Canada. Does this have anything to do with the use of glider kits in the trucking industry?
 
Jason
Jason,

We don’t have hard data but it’s unlikely that gliders (new trucks that use older, rebuilt powertrains) fully account for the massive drop in heavy truck sales in the US and Canada. Even so, you raise a good point. No doubt they’ve had an impact.

John McElroy
3-29-2017


You mentioned that the Chrysler 300 is based on an Daimler \ Chrysler era platform.  That implies that modern day "mid-priced" platforms are much better than a 2001 MB platform.  It seems that with minor updating the difference between each generation of any platform would be less and less.  Would the average driver notice a significant difference between an updated old platform and new?  Twenty years in the future will new platforms be much better than current?
 
Neil G
Neil,

Great question!

Keeping an existing platform and updating it can be a very good strategy for an automaker. The average car buyer will probably not notice the difference. But safety and fuel economy regulations keep getting tougher and that means automakers have to band-aid their old platform to make it stronger and lighter. At some point you hit a crossover point where it’s better and cheaper to go with a clean sheet and incorporate all your lessons-learned in the new platform. In 20 years, you can be sure that platforms will be superior to the ones we have today.

John McElroy
3-29-2017


Hi John,
 
    I have a question. Is it possible that we will ever see Jim Hall or Jason Vines on AAH in the near future. I miss seeing Jim "The Man that Knew to Much" and Jason "Mr. Controversy" himself.
 
    Also will Mr. Bob Lutz be making another visit soon. I bought and read all of his books recently,one after another,because they are so hard to put down and I have some questions for him.
 
    I have to say that I totally look forward to every Thursday at 3 PM as to me as every year passes the show's just keep getting better and better. I do wish that our PBS station [ WVIZ ] carried Autoline this Week although I do watch it through your website.
 
    Thank for wonderful programing,Dale leonard,Cleveland,Ohio
Dale,

Though none of them are on the schedule right now, we will definitely have them all back on the show at some point.

John McElroy
3-29-2017


John
 
Just heard a quick blurb on a Consumer Reports podcast about the new Giulia they purchased the 280 HP version and love to drive it.  Raved about the handling and the power. Then the kicker came along, in a couple of weeks of ownership it has been back to the dealer 4 times. I guess FCA hasn’t quite got the assembly quality down yet. It might have made sense for them to spend extra time making sure that the vehicles were put together at a level equal to the competition. Secondly the highly qualified and vetted dealers should be checking the cars over thoroughly before delivery. How can they ever rebuild a brand image tarnished by poor assembly quality and poor service with a start like this?
 
What a shame the initial execution isn’t up to the design and handling of this beautiful car.
 
Michael Gelven
Michael,

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

John McElroy
3-29-2017


John,  As always, I enjoyed your insight today on the prediction  by the IEA of surging oil prices in  the next  three years.  Indeed gas prices have been low,  good,  and stable for a while now, leading to increased sales of larger , more profitable trucks and SUVs  for the American Market.   These are what Americans  want to buy !!   But if gas prices surge in a few years, the Big Three will suffer.   And we will face increasing dependence on foreign oil,  if we haven’t  invested in new wells of our own.   Which brings me to my question…..whatever happened to our plans for energy independence with renewable ethanol ??   There was a big push a number of years ago to produce  ethanol from biomass,  switch grass, wood chips, etc.,     but that seems to have all fallen by the wayside.  I know the oil companies make money from producing gasoline and NOT  from making  ethanol,  but our country  and our auto industry need an energy policy  to keep fuel costs reasonable  and independent of world markets.        E-85  ready cars are here, but E-85 production does not seem  to be in line with probable future needs.       Rex
Rex,

US ethanol production for gasoline is running at record levels. But it's still corn based ethanol. We need cellulosic ethanol and it's been very slow in coming. The EPA is still counting on it to reduce CO2 emissions.

John McElroy
3-29-2017


Hello – I am a huge fan of your site and podcasts, and wanted to ask you to help me out with a request I have (I would be very surprised if you’ve gotten this one before).
 
I have loved cars since I can remember, and now that I am retiring this June, was hoping to visit Detroit. Because of its connection to the auto business, it’s a city I always wanted to visit. Living in the Boston area, there just aren’t enough car sites to check out (though we do have Assembly Square Mall in Somerville, MA, named after an old Ford/Edsel plant closed in the late 50’s).
 
I wanted your advice on what would be a nice itinerary. I’d like to see assembly plants, museums, historic sites, interesting corporate headquarters buildings (currently in use or not), and any off the beaten track attractions. Sort of like a car lover’s trip to Detroit tour.
 
I will probably travel alone as I can’t seem to convince my wife or any of my friends to come along, and could spend up to 4-7 days, depending on how much there is to see. Was thinking of the dream cruise weekend, but not sure if that would be too crowded for a first time visit.
 
Thanks in advance for your help,
Eric Wilker
Erik,

Here’s what we would recommend.

Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. Even though the official date for 2017 is August 19th, there will be plenty of action every evening on Woodward starting a week before that.

Henry Ford museum.

Piquette plant museum.

Ford Rouge Plant tour (tickets available at the Henry Ford museum).

Stahl’s Automobile Collection

Depending on your schedule, you could consider attending the Eyes on Design event on June 18, or the Concours d”Elegance at St. Johns on the last weekend in July.

There’s plenty more to do, but this should start you on your planning!

John McElroy
3-29-2017


Hi John,
 
Your definition of an alliteration to justify the 37 Seconds reviews was wrong according to my wife.  An alliteration has the same letter or sound for all the words in the alliteration.  That being true, you should change the reviews to Sixty-Seven Seconds.
 
Still watching even when enjoying the winter from sunny warm Arizona.
 
Al Jadczak
3-29-2017


I agree that cars need more legroom. I am 6 foot and in the 92% of people who can fit in 100% of car seats and I am feeling like more and more car companies are making airplane seats for coach passengers instead of car customers. Not only is legroom shrinking but the seats are getting narrower the side bolsters larger and more "Sporty" and the dead pedals are getting smaller and in weirder places as we are switching to more FWD/AWD platforms making my legs go right and my body pinched in straight. 
 
You should do a show on this and compare car seats from 10, 15 and 20 years ago to the iron maiden's of today! 
Cheers,
Don
3-29-2017


Hi!

On Autoline After Hours #367 Bonus Footage you mentioned Tesla does not do trade-ins.

Well in fact they do, they value your car (based on mileage and condition) and you pay the difference for the new one.

The old car is reconditioned and sold as CPO - Certified Pre-Owned.



Thanks!
You’re correct that Tesla takes trade-ins of used Teslas. But if you want to trade in a different make, you’re out of luck, they won’t take it.
3-29-2017


Hi John,
 
Do you think GM might be making a critical mistake in light of Johnson Controls on AAH of 48-volt mild hybrid modules selling for as little as $2,500 and the possibility of the Bolt being the starting a new generation of electric vehicles.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
No, GM like all other OEMs must deal with the CARB ZEV mandate and only a BEV will allow them to do that.
3-13-2017


John,



Sorry to gush, but I just have to say 'kudos" on your excellent "The Future Is Closing In" show from CES!



Not to minimize your own formidable expertise, it's your willingness to allow other smart, well-informed voices to be "the stars of the show" that makes Autoline such compelling television - both for committed enthusiasts, and for anyone else interested in the future of transportation. Your typical integration of pertinent graphics and video is also greatly appreciated.



Thanks again,



Andy Morrill
3-13-2017


John,
 
The idea that hybrid battery packs must be replaced after several years usage at a cost of several thousand dollars seems to defeat any cost savings of hybrid power.  I wouldn’t by a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle that knowingly was going to require it’s engine to be replaced in a few years of usage.
 
Jim Adcock
3-13-2017


Mr. Elroy,
 
   You really made some great comments about Auto Shows in general. I attended this year's Auto Show They may as well  have just unveiled the Edsel. Nothing really new except for technology There was a lack of real concept cars. No displays like the GM Futurerama either. Cadillac is bringing back the hardtop.A retread idea. I could careless about Autonomous Cars.Where are the cars of the future?
   I want something different like a revamped version of the Chrysler Turbine Car, a hovercraft or anything moving closer to the Jetson's Cartoon. The Edsel was going to be something new but had four pneumatic tires,an engine,transmission and a steering wheel It has been over a hundred years an I see no movement forward. What are your thoughts?
 
Sincerely.
 
Andrew
I think autonomous cars are the future. They represent a staggering technological breakthrough and will have as much of an impact on society and the landscape as the first horseless carriages did a century ago. But they are still a decade away from appearing in showrooms and so automakers are not bringing them to auto shows—at least not yet.

In the meantime, I agree with you. Automakers need to bring back concept cars to delight and excite the public about automobiles and the industry that makes them.

John McElroy
3-13-2017


John

I'm a regular viewer of after hours and find it quite informative.  Especially the panel yesterday the women on were terrific with facts and opinions.  Great show.

Regards

Chuck

Left coast viewer lol
Chuck,

Thanks for your comments. We love having Alissa and Stephanie on the show because they’re so knowledgeable!

John McElroy
3-13-2017


John,
 
Have enjoyed the shows this week and look forward to catching up on yesterday's Autoline After Hours.  While I expected a 30 minute advertisement, the Amelia Island show discussion was fascinating, informative and intriguing.  I'm taking a friend to the show largely based on his interview, so marketing works!  We'll be part of the Hamburger Saturday crowd....
 
Have a great weekend and thanks again for making a great show.
 
Alan
3-13-2017


John,
 
Great show today/yesterday. Wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying the show the last few months. Please keep up the great work!
 
Eric
Thanks for the great feedback, much appreciated!
3-13-2017


John,
 
Why is it that the diesel engine suffers from a seemingly endless string of troubles when  it is such a long-lived, durable engine?  Is this a drive by electric car devotees to eliminate a competitor?
 
Jim Adcock
Jim,

The engines are pretty much bullet-proof. The problem is that VW cheated on its emissions system and it looks like FCA may have tried to skirt the rules. Other than that, there really aren’t any problems with diesels.
3-13-2017


I agree. The "Auto Show" is going away, sooner than later. We attended the Chicago auto show just to be thoroughly disappointed. No Tesla. Mainly just production vehicles that I could see at my local dealer.



A new addition is the carnival like rides, i.e. Small tracks/simulated off road that you get driven around, whoopee (not), with long lines too.



This (2017 Chicago) is probably the LAST auto show I will attend unless things change drastically.



Brett
3-13-2017


Nice to see Peter Delorenzo back on Autoline in any capacity. I miss his ability to break through the clutter and I love his unique vision on the industry.  I know things change over time and for good reason but it's nice to hear him. Speaking of seeing people from the past. Where is Jim Hall and his brother these days?  Keep up the good work.
 
Gavin Smith
Gavin,

Glad you like having Peter back, so do we.

Jim Hall is an analyst at General Motors, while Bob is a designer at Geely. Since they work at car companies they can’t come on Autoline to talk about what’s going on in the auto industry. But if any of that changes in the future we’d invite them back in a flash.

John McElroy
3-3-2017


Hi guys!  I have a quick question that I'm hoping that you can help with:
 
Are you aware of any head to head comparisons between the various traction/stability controls offered by automakers?  Are they essentially the same?  Are they developed by OEMs or suppliers?  So many vehicles offer tracking/stability control but it's hard to tell what value they add to a purchase.
 
I love the Afterhours podcast - thank you!
 
Brad
Brad,

We’re not aware of any head to head comparisons of these systems. Even though automakers purchase the hardware from suppliers, they typically calibrate it to their own needs and tastes. On mass market vehicles you probably won’t find a lot of difference from one automaker to another. But with performance cars it’s a different story. Development engineers with Corvette, Porsche, etc. take great pride in how they calibrate their systems and always provide a variety of different settings (track, comfort, etc.) that the driver can choose from.
3-3-2017


Hi John,
 
I actually did the math for my sister who thought about buying a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and it made sense when the price of gas was over $5.00 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area; but once the price started to fall, it made absolutely no sense and bought a Lexus LS430 instead.
 
My nephew who bought a Cadillac ELR on Ebay actually had the chance to buy a Cadillac CTS-V; but with traffic being so heavy in the bay area, his conclusion was that he would never have a chance to test the 556 hp supercharged V8.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
3-3-2017


Good AAH show last week on seats. Do you know about the Bose seat for class 8 trucks. Fascinating application. 

Kip
Kip,

Thanks for sending, we had not seen this.

John McElroy
3-3-2017


John I have to be the umpteenth person to point out the thin and rotating seats in early ‘60s Chrysler Imperials (and others I’m willing to bet)
 
Rick Glesner
Rick,

Thanks for sending this. I knew that GM had swivel seats in the 1960’s but was not aware that the Imperial had a front passenger seat that would turn and face backwards.

John McElroy
3-3-2017


John,
I recall Opel being considered important given the engineering and small car expertise in Germany.
So, if Diesels and small cars are dying.. and they can engineer small cars in Korea, India, or even the US (when the actually want to do it well) maybe the perceived need for the German Russelsheim staff is reduced.
Plus, key Diesel technology might be from Delphi or Bosch anyway.
 
Do they have an inflexible high cost workforce combined with factories that need major upgrading?
How damaged is the Opel brand?   Is it repairable and at what cost?    Do they really care about 6 percent market share in Europe?
Could they sell into the UK market with some other source of vehicles besides Opel?
 
Overall, I guess the questions are how valuable are their assets: staff, factories, brand vs how big the deficiencies/liabilities of their staff, factories, brand in the Opel/Vauxhaul markets.
 
But it is a big problem in that even when the market is doing somewhat well they still can't turn a profit.

Dave
Dave,

GM has lost money on Opel for nearly two decades. And with Brexit it sees no hope of ever generating decent profit returns. That’s why it’s interested in dumping it. GM management is coming under pressure to do more about boosting its stock price. GM stock shot up 5% on just the news that it might dump Opel. This may be the real motivation to get rid of it.

Europe is a massive market, and in an industry that depends almost entirely on scale, it’s hard to see how GM can exit such a large market and remain one of the largest automakers in the world. This will become even more obvious with the move to EVs. Scale will be critical to lowering costs.

The real puzzle is why was Ford able to turn its European operations around and post a billion dollar profit, while GM can’t seem to find a way to get Opel back on its feet.

John
3-3-2017


Hi guys

Great show

Regarding autonomous vehicles.

Who will insure them

If the car is driving in autonomous mode and gets in a accident where its at fault (This will happen).

Who pays

Its  not the fault of the owner of the car.

Does liability revert back to the manufacturer.

Auto company's will not carry this liability.

How will it be handled

Thanks and keep up the good work

Don
Don,

If an autonomous car gets in an accident it will be the fault of the car company and any suppliers that contributed to the autonomous technology.

Since autonomous cars should get in far fewer accidents automakers will happily shoulder the insurance burden, or better stated, they will buy insurance for any eventuality.

We are going to see a migration from personal liability to product liability.

John McElroy
3-3-2017


John,
 
It has been said “Love may make the world go ‘round, but it is money that greases the axel.” If the automotive world can successfully get the driving public off of a “Mideast oil diet”, then that would truly give horizon to “world peace.”  There are of course several barriers to new technology.  I like algae fuel, but so far way too expensive at the pump.  Hydrogen looks exciting, but  no infrastructure. Same for propane, and charging stations. The question that still begs for an answer – “What is the most economically feasible?”
 
Regards,
David Sprowl
David,

First off, U.S. oil imports from OPEC have fallen 70% in the last 6 years. Total oil imports are down 25%.

Ethanol, natural gas and propane are available in significant quantities but have a weak distribution system. Also, vehicles require expensive fuel tanks and delivery systems to use CNG and LPG.

Electricity for EVs is currently the best alternative based on what you’re asking. Electricity is produced with natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar and wind. No other energy is produced from such a wide variety of sources.

Hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas. There are other ways to make it but natural gas reforming is the method of choice right now.

John McElroy
3-3-2017


Hello John,



What do you think of this report? New delinquent US car loans at 8-year peak: NY Fed survey What does it say about auto industry?



thank you,

Venkata pavan raja
These alarmist articles pop up every year or so. Total auto loan delinquencies are a very small percentage of all outstanding auto loans. Yes, they are on the rise but certainly have not risen to the point to set off any alarm bells with the U.S. Federal Reserve, nor with the credit rating agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
3-3-2017


Hi John,
 
One thing great about an auto show is that you can get into cars and sit in them especially if you're in the market, now with smartphones, you can take pictures and make personal notes about each car before possibly going to a dealership; this is one thing you never can do when visiting a webpage.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autoline.tv