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1-26-2015

Dear Mr. McElroy,

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

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

Any answers you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Byron and Marcia Aldrich
1-26-2015

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

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

AND,

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

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

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

Thank for the auto show coverage!

Noah
1-26-2015

Hi John:

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

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

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

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

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

Fred in Hawaii
1-26-2015

Hi John,

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

Love the show,
Aren
Aren,

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

McElroy
1-26-2015

Should GM Build a Mid-Engine Corvette?

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

Jim in Yakima
1-26-2015

John,

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

Don Bronn
1-26-2015

John, Happy New Year!

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

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

Take care,
Jason Eiler
1-16-2015

Hi John,

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

What's your opinion?

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

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

McElroy
1-16-2015

Hi John,

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

Jay,
Mtn. Home, AR

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

Hi John,

Will you do a report on Tesla at the show?

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

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

Thanks for all you do,

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

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

McElroy
1-16-2015

John,

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

Jim Adcock
1-9-2015

John,

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

Jim Adcock
1-9-2015

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

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

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

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

John McElroy
1-9-2015

Hi John,

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

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

Thanks,
"fltrucker"
1-9-2015

John,

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

Happy New Year!

With best regards,
Irv Walzer
1-9-2015

John,

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

Thanks,
Don Bronn
1-9-2015

Hello Mr. McElroy,

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

Have a good day and a grand New Year.

RH
Bench seats have pretty much disappeared for two reasons:

1. Very few people order them.

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

McElroy
1-9-2015

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

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

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ
1-9-2015

Hi John! Hope you have a great Christmas!

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

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

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

Vincent A. Joy
1-9-2015

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

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

McElroy
1-9-2015

John,

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

HelicopterJay
1-9-2015

John,

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

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

Jim Adcock
Yakima, WA
1-9-2015

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

Ciao,

Victor
Buckeye, AZ
1-9-2015

Hi John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,
Ramón Rivera Notario
1-9-2015

Aaron Bragman is excellent. Have him on again.

Bradley Cross
1-9-2015

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

r-work
1-9-2015

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

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

John Berg
Oakland, CA
12-12-2014

John,

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

Milt
12-12-2014

Hey John,

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

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

Bon appetit.

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

McElroy
12-12-2014

John,

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

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

Vincent A. Joy
Amen, brother!

McElroy
12-12-2014

John,

Why not go to the "short track" format run at many small tracks in the country. Heat races to qualify for the C, B and A main events. With winners of the C and B mains advancing. I agree the races should be shorter. I would also reduce the size of the gas tanks so have more pit stops. I would also limit the number of people over the wall. F1 is insane with no one on the pit crew needing to move more than six inches. I do like the tire rules for F1; NASCAR should have different tires required. And yes they should run in the rain.

Milt
P.S. The Chili Bowl is only a month away. Best "racing" of the year.
Milt,

Thanks for sharing your views. And I agree with the F1 point that the pit crews are too specialized.

McElroy
12-12-2014

No one seems to be addressing the negative impact low gas prices are having on E85 sales. A coworker of mine saw a gas station where E85 was actually more expensive than gasoline.

Chris Harbowy
Amazing. Thanks for the heads-up.

McElroy
12-12-2014

I saw an older episode where you predicted gas below $2; I doubted you.

Why don't you have a spot in your shows where you except some parts of older episodes, such as you predicting the gas price?

Mike Mc Allister
12-12-2014

Any truth to the internet blog rumor that NHTSA is about to recall all Acura TLX's with the 9-speed ZF transmission? Sounds like another potential black eye for Honda.

Joe in San Antonio
Joe,

Wish we could have tracked this down sooner. You were ahead of everyone else on this one.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

Love the show, but you - a car guy - messed up on the Trailblazer’s game snafu. That’s not an Escape blimp. It’s blatantly an Edge (and not the next gen that’s coming out).

Check out the rear lights. 100% Edge. No question.

You’re perfect otherwise!

All the best
Bryan Falchuk
Thanks for catching that, Eagle Eye!

McElroy
12-8-2014

I think that Toyota has to follow KIA and Hyundai's model for moving their Scion brand up market. This means to move Scion up market Toyota's going to have to do more than take a Toyota Camry and put wood on the dashboard. Scion can start by making a hard top convertible version of the FR-S.

Ben Dukoff
12-8-2014

Greetings,

Just wanted to bring to your attention some issues with the new TLX. There seems to be a problem with both the new 8 speed DCT and even the 9 speed. The 9 speed is under recall. The 8 speed DCT is having major issues with jerkiness and going into reverse. Some have had near accidents because of the transmission. You will find this info on the Interweb and TLX forums.

I thought the TLX would be my next car. Not sure now – at least not the 2015.

Regards,
R. Byerley
12-8-2014

John,

Love your shows, and listen to them daily on my drives as a field rep for Toyota. Keep up the great work!

So I've given it away who I'm biased towards, but then I also thought qualified to comment on your Scion question from the recent show. I've been with Toyota for over 15 years, so saw some great times for Scion when the brand was hot with the fresh products. Now, of course, they're all stale, except for the FR-S...so where to go from here?

From what I've seen, the original tuner crowd that we marketed to has really gone further underground. The young buyers nowadays don't seem too interested in modifying their rides, which was a pillar of Scion when we launched it. The 18-25 year old crowd mostly has designs on nicer cars - I see them eyeing VWs, sport hatches, and luxury brands. So will we capture them again with a new lineup on Scions? Maybe, maybe not. The upcoming iA and iM models are really solid, especially the M, the small 4-door that I believe Mazda will be building for us down in Mexico. An offshoot of the Mazda 3 platform, it should do extremely well with a price point around $15K. And that's really where I believe we should take Scion. Right now, we have no competition in the sub-compact arena. The Yaris isn't a player at $18K and up, as it butts right up against the Corolla, so we give away tons of sales to the Versa and Accent. Bringing out some solid cars in that price range would be the way I'd go. Problem is, as you know, Scion isn't a volume brand...at least it hasn't been up until now, with all production coming out of Japan.

Dealers need to the fresh products ASAP to get re-engaged with Scion. So 2015 will be interesting for sure to see how the brand evolves.

Have a great weekend!
007.1
Great insight, thanks for sending.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

I agree with your suggestions. With the long NASCAR races I've learned to do projects around the house and check in on progress of the race. The other problem is there are tooooooo many commercials during the race. As to the pre-race shows I skip those and the talking-heads that are just blowing to fill the time slot, often repetitiously. The racing without wings I agree to. That's one reason I enjoy watching the NASCAR Modifieds. I feel those drivers are really working to stay in the race they're running.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I really enjoy your shows.

Jim Adcock
Yakima, WA
12-8-2014

John:

I’m becoming very confused, if not pretty ticked off by now. Both you “Autoline” and “AutoWeek” magazine recently did pieces on 3D printing and how cool it is without explaining that you must have a 3D solid model and the skills to produce that model before you can really take control of what you are printing. So the idea of making 1/18th scale parts for models is absolutely correct but without the skills of CAD/3D solid modeling you’re at the mercy of others that have those skills. I sent both you and AutoWeek a note about the importance of these steps, and that even 3D scanning will not go straight to 3D printing without the post-processing in a CADD interface. To date I have heard nothing back. My letter didn’t make it into the AutoWeek OpEd area, or even your Autoline “Viewers Mail”. Please let me know if this is too esoteric or hard to understand? How can I help?

Sincerely yours:
Rick Glesner
Chair of Engineering Graphics/Mechanical Design
Community College of Denver
12-8-2014

Duncan Aldred talked about selling $70,000 Denali’s. That is more money than my first house in the late 70’s, and almost as my next house in the late 80’s. Is there any statistics on the inflation adjusted prices for GMC premium vehicles of the past? What would a top of the line 1980 Jimmy cost in today’s dollars?

Neil Gridley
A 2-door 1980 Jimmy 4x4 had a base price of about $8,000. In today’s money that's about $23,000.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

I know that you guys and gals in auto media get special pre-event access to auto shows, along with full press kits, and that you likely only look at new models and concepts, but I wondered if you were struck by the inferior cheapness of the Nissan section (at the LA Auto Show) in the same way I was. Maybe they got lazy with nothing new to debut. Or maybe part of the display kit was still somewhere on a train, truck, or boat.

Unlike nearly every other manufacturer/brand, Nissan lacked any of those little interactive (or even just plain static words) information stands beside ANY of its displayed vehicles. Sure they had a large multi-media wall presentation, and a revolving car, and a spokesperson/model, a walk-up desk, and lotsa staff walking around, but the public was left to guess at any information that wasn't disclosed by a nameplate or the stupid process below.

I was offended practically to the point of being insulted by the penny-pinching after first bothering to spend all the money on a display at all. What they did do -- once for each model, was glue a large two-page window sticker to the inside passenger's windshield.

When you came to a model, if you didn't see a windshield sticker, you had to go looking around for a similar vehicle and find out what you could from that sticker on the other similar car.

But NOTHING at all ANYWHERE about power, transmission, colors, trims, levels, final assembly, countries of origin, or price range. Just one vehicle sticker per model line. I just GUESS they were all 2015s -- we haven't crossed the January 20th threshold for production 2016 vehicles. But who knows.

To me, surely a stupidly expensive but informationally unfriendly way to try to sell cars.

Pete
12-8-2014

Hi John and crew,

In pecking order would the Ford Mondeo Vignale be more a Fusion or a MKS, and are there any plans to bring over the gorgeous station wagon (the Taurus wagon did quite well). Thank you and have a great day.

Mike from Philly
The Mondeo Vignale is closer to the MKZ in terms of pricing than to the Fusion. We’d guess there is zero chance of the Mondeo wagon ever being sold in the US market.

McElroy
12-8-2014

I was enthralled with After Hours this week. The hour was gone before you knew it. Lauren Fix was refreshing in your mix as well.

I'd sure like to make the scene at Mr. Pardo's studio some time too!

Getting to hear some of the 'off the record' after show chit chat is always interesting, but today I was glad you folks cut it off as this guy has more years in the profession and couldn't really speak frankly about a number of things, and I was hoping he would watch himself, which he did.

And again, the Murano looks like Pikachu.

rwork
Thanks for the kind words. Camilo was great, wasn’t he? One of the most interesting discussions about design that we’ve ever had on the show.

McElroy
12-8-2014

John,

Just like Petrol car, Diesel car, Electric car, Natural Gas car, why not call the Fuel-cell car a Hydrogen car.

Is it not the fuel it is using ....! It is just miss-leading that automakers want to make it sound like as though it runs on electricity without needing to charge. Time to get real.

Looking forward to getting my comments read :)

Thanks,
Ash
12-8-2014

John,

I recently heard an investment advocate make the statement that people using a car-sharing service such as Uber have no insurance coverage when they rent a vehicle. Unless they secure their own coverage they are liable for any damages or loss should they become involved in an accident. I wonder how many people using this car-sharing service will have to suffer financial loss before this fact becomes common knowledge?

Jim
Yakima, WA
Jim,

This comes right off Uber’s website. In case of an accident, it sounds like they’ve got you covered.

If you’re taking a ride requested through UberBLACK, UberSUV, or uberTAXI, your livery or taxi transportation provider carries a commercial insurance policy in at least the minimum amount required by local regulations. If you didn’t get his or her insurance information at the time of the accident, please reach out to us so we can connect you.

If you’re taking a ride requested through uberX, some transportation providers are rideshare drivers providing transportation with their personal vehicles. Rideshare providers carry personal insurance policies. However, there’s a commercial insurance policy for ridesharing with $1 million of coverage per incident. This policy covers drivers’ liability from the time a driver accepts your trip request through the app until the completion of your trip. This policy is expressly primary to the driver’s personal auto policy. An additional insurance policy covers drivers when they are logged into the Uber app but have not yet accepted a trip request.

There is also uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UI/UIM) of $1 million per incident for bodily injury, in case another motorist causes an accident and doesn’t carry adequate insurance. So, for example, injuries caused by a hit-and-run accident would be covered by the UI/UIM.
12-2-2014

John,

In case I neglected to send you this prediction: The Left (i.e.> Democrats & Assorted Think Tanks & Eco-Fascistas) will start using low gasoline prices as a lever to get Congress to raise gasoline taxes. 60 Minutes has already sent out a "Stalking Horse" in the form of a segment on infrastructure and the need to raise more revenue. Of course they neglected to mention that the Highway Trust Fund has been repeatedly "raided" to secure funding for the Left's pet rail projects, among other things. They also failed to mention the huge cost overruns caused by the Eco-Fascistas delaying tactics on almost all infrastructure projects. Typical of 60 Minutes Reports.

You heard it here first!

Regards,
Vincent A. Joy
12-2-2014

Hi John,

Concerning the comparison of the Lexus “Spindle grill” to that of the 1961 Plymouth (One of Exner’s last designs); I consider both atrocious!

The Lexus looks as if it is a giant vacuum cleaner or mouth wishing to suck whatever comes its way along the road. UGLY!!!

The Plymouth’s front was no beauty either. It was one of Exner’s flops. I doubt though that Lexus’ designers ever laid eyes on the Plymouth. Must have come from some-one’s nightmares.

Regards,
GK from TO
12-2-2014

John,

I love the show and have admired your work for years. I’ve recently joined the industry and now have an even greater appreciation for your depth of knowledge.

With regards to the Morgan Stanley Autonomous Vehicle report, I was just curious does the MS report take into account the possible negative effects of AVs?

For example, I would think the logical first place for AVs is to replace professional drivers. I say this for a few reasons:

These vehicles have consistent, predictable, steady routes and pace (especially in trucking). These industries would be able offset the short-term financial hit of being early adopters by the savings in payroll reduction. So all of those pesky humans (who incur costs and have needs like benefits and salaries) could be replaced by a fleet of AVs.
So if the trucking industry were to go all in on AVs then it is safe to assume we would see unemployment rise. In response, states and possibly the federal government would have to fund some retraining initiatives or risk adding to the list of the chronically unemployed.

Thanks for the time and I hope I get to meet you at NAAS this year.

Regards,
Harsha Vemulapalli
There is no doubt that the trucking industry is keenly interested in autonomous trucks. And that will definitely displace truck drivers, though the impact would be spread out over several decades. That being said, trucking companies in the US complain that their Number One problem is finding and retaining drivers. There is an acute shortage right now. It is expensive to get a commercial carrier license, and many applicants cannot pass the drug test.

The issue you raise is an important one to consider. Though autonomous vehicles will provide an enormous benefit to society, some people will need to look for a new line of work.

McElroy
12-2-2014

John & Co,

I would like to add my voice to the crescendo of negative opinion condemning electronic peripherals! Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

I do not want to play X-Box with multiple gamers, while doing 75 mph on the interstate at 6 AM on the way to work. It interferes with my checking my Amazon orders, iTunes downloads, and text messages, while drinking my coffee and watching for the left lane sleeper doing 50 upfront and the guy behind in the jacked up pickup doing 85 weaving in and out of 'slow traffic'....

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
11-24-2014

When I bought my Hyundai 3 years ago, I said "give me the stripped-down model", because I could see their infotainment system was already behind the curve and a waste of money. And I tested a lot of cars. They all were clunky and out-dated tech when compared with my phone or tablet, no matter what the system.

Just give me a port and a place to dock my smart phone. Is this so hard for them to understand? Apparently, it is, as we are still getting antiquated tech and, believe it or not, we aren't even getting buttons and knobs like we should.

Why are car-makers so obtuse about these things? They can never keep up. GIVE ME A PORT!

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ
Ken,

You’re going to get your ports! Automakers had hoped to continue selling $2,000 infotainment systems but are finally coming to the realization that it’s ticking off car buyers like you.

The problem is that it takes about three years to develop a car. Everything has to be validated and sourced by Job One. But even before the first car rolls down the line, the consumer electronics industry is already onto the next generation.

What automakers hope to do now is give you a port and put more capability in the cloud. They still want to control any info that relates to operating the car, but turn the rest over to independent info providers.

McElroy
11-24-2014

I just watched your segment on factory installed do it all stereo systems and a brief mention of an apple and android system. I have an older truck that didn't have the blue tooth or the navigation system. I fixed this by ordering a pure android radio off of ebay. It was as easy as installing any other aftermarket stereo. It has built in Bluetooth navigation backup camera and all the bells and whistles of a modern stereo and all the features of my android phone to include ease of use. This makes it easy for everyone. If you know how to use your phone then you would have no problem using your stereo and all its features. I think if your going to do a story about the complaints of the factory installed integration that you should put a little more interest in the systems that are out there, factory or not, that work with little to no problems to give those that are watching an idea of what is working.

Chris
Chris,

Great feedback. Thanks for sending this. We can’t cover it all and it really helps when our vast viewer base chimes in with story suggestions and other information.

McElroy
11-24-2014

I agree with the comments on the program dated 11/23/14 regarding the electronic peripherals.

I purchased a 2010 Silverado 2500 HD to pull a fifth wheel trailer and one module. The On Star system failed within the first twelve months. GM has replaced the antenna and one module. I have gone through numerous diagnostic tests and downloads where I had to leave the vehicle running for at least ten minutes. The last two months the diagnostic OnStar report has advised of a problem that requires further test and downloads. In addition the CDMA system will not work in 2015. GM still will not tell me what the solution will be nor how much it will cost. I have been programming computers since 1963. I have built a home theater system that is the envy everyone who sees and hears it. I have no ‘12:00’ flashing electronics in my home. OnStar just plain stinks.

I will never subscribe to any of those interface systems again.

Harry Plath
11-24-2014

Dear John and company,

You are the greatest!!!

I would love a special on hydrogen fuel cell cars. Reviewing all the cars and Technology. Thanks for all the education on cars and the automotive industry.

Jordan Grancell
11-21-2014

Dear John, Gary & Drew,

I think Volkswagen performs poorly in the US (although I believe they do much better in Canada), for two reasons:

1) Perception of poor reliability with poor and expensive service, and

2) Watered down 'US' models, and lack of the halo performance variants available in Europe.

I loved my 1976 VW Scirroco 5 speed manual, but would think twice about buying another VW today.

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
11-21-2014

Hi! Love the Autoline shows, keep up the good work! I have a question:

When a new car model is launched, is the mid-cycle refresh content already established well in advance? Do OEM’s willingly reserve some design or technology features for this refresh so they know they still have some excitement left to inject later, or do they simply react to customer feedback after the car goes on sale?

Thanks!

Jean-François
Québec, Canada
We're glad you like the Autoline shows!

Developing a new car typically takes around three years. Including suppliers, there are probably 1,000 engineers and technical people involved. And there are thousands of parts they have to develop. Automakers don't save cool technology for a later date. Otherwise competitors will beat them to the market. But sometimes not everything can be ready for the launch date.

Once the new car is launched they will start planning immediately for its mid cycle refresh. And they will plan to do modifications, improvements, and add new technology that couldn't be incorporated in time for Job One. And they will also respond to customer feed back or other issues from the field.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Love your shows, website, etc. Just wanted to say how much I think Gary V. is a wonderful addition to your After Hours show. Great improvement and I’ll leave it at that. Sean is really doing a nice job these days as well. He has come a long way and gets better every show he is a part of. Thanks as always for the great daily and weekly insights. Keep up the good work.

Bill Eichenberger
Thanks for the great feedback. This is what keeps us coming into work at the crack of dawn everyday.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Regarding connected cars and security/Reliability ....

I have to ask:

What consumer benefit is there to having the airbags be anything but a stand-alone system?
What consumer benefit is there to having the multimedia be anything but a stand-alone system?
What consumer benefit is there to having the autonomy be anything but a stand-alone system?

Shouldn't these be sealed systems?

Either are engineers are making Rube Goldberg machines for giggles.... or is it just OEMs' data gathering for marketing purposes... and creating security/Reliability risks in the process?

NMR
11-21-2014

Hey John,

I was just watching Woodward Live and you mentioned your affection for half tracks. Back when I was a young man and that’s been a while. My Father bought one. The Family was in heavy construction and he purchased a WW II Studebaker half track that was outfitted with a Quickway Crane. It was a half track Truck Crane. It was cool. It was a single passenger because the right side of the cab had been modified as a cradle for the boom of the crane. I remember that the hood was amour platted steel about 1/2” thick. It was a chore to check the oil. It was hinged in the middle so it was winged, but it probably weighed 50 or 60 pounds. The really cool part was the transmission. It was a four speed, but the shift pattern was unique. Third was where fourth usually was and fourth gear was in the usual third gear location. This put the shift lever near the dash in high gear so there was more room for a passenger riding in the middle. I thought it was cool, but you can imagine my trying to figure it out the first time that I drove it. You’d shift from second to what you thought would be third to lug the engine. It was mentioned on the show that the tracks would be tearing up the street. These tracks were rubber pads, very similar to some of our heavy equipment of today. We used to drive it around just as if it were rubber tired. You never worried about getting a flat. Boy, when you think back on some of the stuff we used to do in the old days, huh? It would probably get us put in jail today, but back then it was just another day in the office. Thanks for the nostalgic moment when you mentioned “half tracks”, thought I’d share some of the trivia of yesteryear.

John Gonia
Great story. Wish I had a half track when I was a kid... or even now!

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Great web site! I especially enjoy the Autoline Daily production. Just wish I had the time to watch the Autoline Weekly and Autoline After Hours shows.

Many years ago (late 1970's) I recall reading an article, I think it was in the SAE magazine, about what happens to the "rubber" that gets worn off of tires. While shopping for tires recently, I got to thinking about this again. Did a short web search, but there doesn't seem to be much information about this issue. However, I did find this short article.

Thought this might be a good subject for a technical segment.

Also, in researching tires, I noticed that tire manufacturers are using more "natural" ingredients in their compounds. An example is the new Michelin Premier A/S that uses sunflower oil. And I've read that some tire manufacturers are using walnuts in their compounds.

Thanks,
Rick
Thanks for the link, interesting article.

John McElroy
11-21-2014

Hello Mr. McElroy,

Have you heard of these car buying services? The Car Haggler, Shawn Spiegel (thecarhaggler.com). A new “Concierge” service for people who want to buy a car but hate the dealership negotiation experience.

Not sure where he gets his deal thru? Carsdirect.com, TrueCar, Costco, etc? So far as a USAA member, which they use TrueCar, they have been unbeatable on 4 transactions in the last few years.

Have a good day,

Guy Martineau,
Tampa, FL

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