Send us your thoughts:
Note: Your name and/or email may be read on the air.


Hello John and panelists,

It was just announced in my neck of the woods (Atlantic Canada) that the Steele Auto Group (23 stores) is buying the Penney Auto Group (10 stores) based in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Rob Steele has been on a buying spree in the last few years.  Besides Steele, I know that other groups are always looking for dealer acquisition opportunities.  Does this speak to the health of auto dealers in North America, or is this going against the flow?

Enjoy your shows.  Keep up the good work!

The fact that dealerships are getting bought up is a sign they're a good investment. We're going to see a lot more consolidation in the automotive retail and wholesale business.

John McElroy

Watching a show on economics, The Changing Face of Greed. Currently it takes 3 to 4 dollars of new debt in China to produce 1 dollar of new GDP. This is clearly not sustainable. Apart from pointing out the fallacy of using GDP alone as an indicator of economic health, I think this fact should add further caution to those companies rushing forward to embrace China as the 'growth' market. 
I have been China cautious for some time, based on the experience of a relative managing a lithium battery factory start up in China a decade ago, and my own understanding of human nature. That being that eventually a centrally imposed hierarchy will inevitably succumb to decentralized individual market forces to at least some extent. 
Do the US corporations think they can predict when to 'get off the wave', i.e., exit the market while successfully isolating themselves from China's national economic debt recovery?
US corporations will ride the wave until the day after the market crashes.

John McElroy

Hi John,
Everything you said on Autoline Daily in purely economic terms is correct about the Australian car market now being open and the population being too small to support car manufacturing. It was also a conservative government decision to stop supporting the car companies that manufacture here.
By the end of this month tens of thousands of people, with families and mortgages, in good paying jobs will be unemployed and many of them will only be able to get low paid casual jobs. Reduced taxes from workers and increase in social security/unemployment benefits, the billions of dollars added to the Australian import bill for cars, well I am not sure it is that smart. Every state in the US that attracts car factories throws millions of dollars at them to set up there. GM and Chrysler survived only because of the net ten billion dollars the US tax payer put in under the Obama administration. I could rattle off state owned or propped up car companies around the world and smaller population countries that manufacture cars. Anyhow it is a sad day for manufacturing in Australia.
Thanks for a great show.
Tom C Melbourne Australia

Hi John,

I can imagine filing an injunction against the Federal government and Automobile companies from adopting an zero emissions vehicles until there is the necessary infrastructure where parking space in the country is also a recharging stall because in cities like San Francisco with high apartment volume, there's simply no where to recharge one's car battery.

Cost of building such an infrastructure would cost tens of $Trillions and as much as 10-15 years to complete meaning the US might not be ready until 2030-2040.

Mike @ San Francisco CA

What safeguards are in place to prevent flood-damaged autos from showing up for sale on auto sales lots? Do the auto manufacturers have safeguards to help prevent this. I would think it would be in their best interests to do this.
Automakers don’t have any way of tracking whether a car was flood damaged, unless it was unsold and on the lot at a new car dealership. However anyone buying a car can go to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to check it out first. The NMVTIS collects information from dealerships, repair facilities, auction houses and others, and will flag a car that was flood damaged. But if you’re buying a used car from an unscrupulous person there’s no way of knowing if it’s in good shape unless you get a professional inspection.

John McElroy

Your host, John McElroy, stated that the United States has a trade deficit with Canada of 30 billion dollars. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, his statement is incredibly wrong. Please read the section entitled “Trade Balance” and you will see that in actual fact the United States has a trade surplus of approximately 12 billion in goods and services with Canada.
A correction of this misinformation should be made “on air” in future. In order to have “intellectual discourse”, the host should have the correct information. Your guests accepted this “misinformation” without seemingly knowing the actual facts and continued their discussion without comment. 
You need to listen to that show again. You heard wrong. I did not say that Canada has a $30 billion trade deficit with the US. I said that Canada has a $30 billion trade deficit with Mexico. You can find that part of the discussion at 18:51 into the program.
John McElroy

At first glance of the images of the Toyota Century, I mistook it for the Russian a ZIL. Then it has a rear somewhat like a Rolls.
What's interesting about it is the fabric interior reminiscent of 30s & 40s Cadillacs. I like tidy (as opposed to Baroque Mercurys) plush fabric interiors also as is my preference in our cars.

Re: Lutz comment on ATW
Bob Lutz made the point that the VTOL's don't have to be necessarily powered by electricity. It's certainly not a requirement for autonomy. It's just that the two seem a natural match. 
This made me think about the inherent simplicity, safety of electric design vs mechanical. For example, take the US VTOL Osprey, still with unacceptable mechanical failures. Until such time as batteries improve substantially, why not replace all the complicated mechanics with electrics, and employ a down sized motor generator on board the main craft body, with a 'boost' battery for take off landing etc? This would be sort of like an EREV architecture.
I'm surprised this hasn't been done already, given the usual priorities afforded the military. 
Tim Beaumont 

Just finished watching "Autonomous Travel Drones". Any thought of changing the name of Autoline to MobilityLine? Maybe Trademark/Copyright the name now so you could change at some point in the future.

Well, really, all of your shows are great.  But, the VTOL episode of Autoline This Week was really fascinating.  Too bad its only a half hour show.

Always enjoy hearing from Mr. Lutz.  What an amazing guy.  Thanks for a wonderful and thought provoking show.  Looking forward to episode 2, . .
. and 3!

GM Veteran

PS: I am a fan and stockholder of Workhorse.  Their Surefly quadcopter is one of the best designs I've seen, keeping the moving parts overhead and a relatively compact size.  I saw a press release last week announcing they have 22 orders with deposits for their Surefly.  And they don't have a firm production date yet.

I just finished catching up on a couple Autoline After Hours and came across a segment in the preshow where you asked Dave Sullivan what car Ford should drop from its US lineup. He suggested the Focus but John replied something to the effect of "really but it's so close to the Fusion". You can't be serious about that response John, Ford still sells a very high amount of Fusions.
As of August Ford sold 138,489 of them this year which places it ahead of the Toyota Highlander, Chevy Traverse, Chevy Malibu, Ford Edge, ALL GMC models, ALL subcompact crossover SUVs, ALL mid-size pickups, all Jeeps other than the Gand Cherokee etc. When it comes to Ford there's a huge line between mid-sized cars and compact cars.
Small gripe though, love the show.

You make good points. The Fusion still sells in large numbers, but sales are dropping fast, down 27% this year. Focus sales are 111,716 down 13%. My gut feel says Focus will emerge as the stronger of the two, especially on a global basis.

John McElroy

In response to previous letter from 9-22-2017

Mr. McElroy:

Thanks for your fast response. I have gone through many of the sites you mentioned in your e mail. I found #1713 especially informative. I do not remember that show, so must have missed it. As you mentioned, Auto Propane Gas, LPG, LNG and the strides being taken is very exciting.

It is great to see Roush, Ford, Clean Fuels USA (and General Motors mentioned) pursuing these fuels.
Seems to me with the seventeen million vehicles in Europe, and the infrastructure we already have in place in the US, there should be more of a push on these fuels. Why is the US government pushing so strong on electrics, when there is a head start on these?

I feel the oil companies could get on board with this since the gases come out of the ground with petroleum. Refueling pumps could be added to their present stations. 

Not to take any more of your time. It is Monday so after supper I will sit down to Autoweek followed by Autoline.

I would like to see more programs on CNG, LNG, Propane, from you.

Chuck Kerr

Hi John,
I live in San Francisco and unless you work in the city as well, driving can be cheaper than catching mass transit because daily commute can cost as much as $15-20.00 a day or $400 a month, this is where getting something like a Cruze Diesel or a Bolt EV can work.
Thus.. the chatter about how people might not buy cars is insane because services like Uber isn't cost effective when you need to make a daily commute.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

Hello John,
I know that you discussed the disappearing bumper protection before but there must be some Fed. regulations in place.  You look at many new models, ( Lexus, Mazda 3/5/6, Volvo, Hyundai, and more) and I cannot imagine parallel parking these cars without any damage.  The Mazda CUT seems to have leading edges with the metal hood and the tailgates.  The insurance companies and rental car folks must know that these designs will cost big repair bills I bet.  Add in the multi-thousand dollar head and tail lamps and you are set to be jammed at the next minor parking bump.  Thoughts?    Roger Blose 
49 CFR Part 581, “The bumper standard,” prescribes performance requirements for passenger cars (not sport utility vehicles, minivans, or pickups trucks) in low-speed front and rear collisions. It applies to front and rear bumpers on passenger cars to prevent the damage to the car body and safety related equipment at barrier impact speeds of 2½ mph across the full width and 1½ mph on the corners. It used to be a tougher standard (5 mph and 2.5 mph, respectively, with “no damage” allowed) but it turned out that making bumpers that strong cost a lot more to repair if a vehicle was damaged in an accident above those speeds.

John McElroy

John:  Just watched AAH 9/21/17.  I agree with everything you and your guests say about autonomous cars.  However, I feel you are leaving one major factor out.  When the insurance companies finally embrace the safety features of autonomous cars they will drive acceptance at an accelerated rate.  Once the insurance premium for autonomous cars drops to one fourth the cost of regular human driven cars, the tide will turn.  The more people buy autonomous cars, the more the  cost of production will come down.  The whole thing will snowball so fast you will have to re-evaluate your job.  Who will care about Autoline Autonomous Car?  Just kidding.  What do you and your guests feel about the influence of auto insurance companies on the acceptance of autonomous cars in the USA?
The insurance companies have their hair on fire over this one. In the US alone, they collect over $200 billion every year in premiums. But if autonomous and connected cars aren’t going to crash, or at far lower rates, then premiums will plummet. It may come sooner than that. Insurance companies are already looking at only charging you for collision coverage while you’re driving. So if your car is parked, you’re not being charged. One of the biggest barriers to car ownership for young people is the cost of insurance.

John McElroy

Autonomous cars: compare them to adopting elevators in tall buildings.

Elevators have no human Operator anymore. We could care less about its manufacturer/brand. They run by themselves. We do not fear them at all now.  There are virtually no elevator accidents.  Elevators accelerate, brake and make strange noises.  etc.

They really are public transportation too.
Tom Krug
Back in 1980, the designer and futurist Syd Mead told me that one day all our mobility would be handled autonomously and seamlessly. He predicted an autonomous car would pick you up when you needed it, would go park itself in a reserved spot, and as you walked into a building, the elevator would be waiting for you, doors open, and automatically take you to the floor you needed.

John McElroy

Dear Mr. McElroy,
.  First let me compliment you on the content of the program.  You have very well informed guests and allow them to share their knowledge with us, the viewers.  I like the way you draw out your guests and allow them to educate us.
I really was fascinated by your last two programs concerning the concept of “Mobility.”  

ATW #2127 - Mobility Part 1: Hardware that Helps

ATW #2128 - Mobility Part 2: The Social Side

I’m not sure I have a good working definition of what the concept entails.  When I first saw the program description I thought it was about providing mobility services for the disabled.  I sure got educated fast.  However, upon further review (to quote the current buzz words) the various concepts discussed on those programs would certainly be a great boon to people with disabilities who cannot drive ordinary vehicles without significant and expensive adaptations to the vehicles.  I have a dear friend who cannot even get into a vehicle without assistive means.  It sounds to me like many of the features of autonomous vehicles and ride sharing would go a long way to assist these people.
Thank you for your wonderful insights into the automotive industry.

Thanks for your feedback and kind words.

You hit the nail on the head. People with disabilities, and the elderly, will be some of the earliest beneficiaries of autonomous cars and mobility services.

John McElroy

In your program on 9.18.17, you mentioned you could get a vehicle report for FREE from NMVTIS.  That is not true.  I will have to purchase it. 

If I am missing something, could you please send me the link that takes me to the correct place in the site.
I have been watching your programs for over 10 years.  I hope to continue to think you sources are reliable.
Many thanks,
There are several services that offer the NMVTIS reports, some charge, some do not. I was able to get a report for free using the CarsForSale service listed on the website.

John McElroy

Mr. McElroy:
I enjoyed your several shows on different fuels/propulsion for cars, i.e. gasoline, electric, ethanol, hydrogen and fuel cell. What I did not see was a discussion on natural gas (CNG).
Did I miss this or was there not a program on CNG?
CNG works on gasoline engines with minimal changes, runs cleaner, is less expensive, United States already has infrastructure in place and we have much more in the ground than oil.
Seems as a country we should be pursuing CNG for fuel instead of ethanol.
I would like to see a program on CNG.
Chuck Kerr
We’ve done a ton of reporting on CNG. Just go to and type CNG into the search bar to get all our coverage.
LPG is even cheaper, both from a fuel cost and conversion cost standpoint. Here’s a show we did on that.
John McElroy

Dear Autoline This Week,
Your show just keeps getting better. "Monitizing Data" 8/20/17 KRCB was great. Exploring the increasing value of data generated by automobiles. Great subject. Seems like everyone wants everything connected to the Internet. Connected catbox tells you 'Your cat is losing weight' regardless of security concerns. Whatever!  I liked how this show describes some important possibilities concerning an automobile.  Telephone companies charge plenty for customer data. The idea that auto data can save motorists money (monitoring driving habit and relaying to insurance companies) is great. Also allowing cities to better manage traffic while collecting 'fees' is also a good thing. It's fine for me to think about such things but better to hear a great host (thanks for clarifying acronyms) talk to influential leaders of the industry.  Thanks again.
Roy Daniels

hello team,

 i would like to know the Genesis brand. Hows that going  as a new brand from Hyundai. 
I know they only have few models and no SUVs...but is the brand and its G class sedans doing well and with sales numbers??

The Genesis brand has a long climb ahead of it. YTD sales in the US market are 13, 336 cars, with 2,877 G90’s and 10,489 G80’s. But the brand is only just getting started. It needs more product, especially CUVs and SUVs, and more dealers.

John McElroy

With newer calculations for CAFE standards now upon us, is this a contributing factor as to why manufactures are cutting passenger cars from their line ups?
I get the small cars will need to be 54.5 and their pricing is more affordable, but if you increase the foot print and gross vehicle weight the target is lower.
David Sprowl
Car companies are cutting some passenger car models from their lineups because people are not buying as many of them. It has nothing to do with fuel economy standards. This is a worldwide trend, even in countries which don’t have fuel economy standards.

John McElroy

Hi John,

I just had a thought.  I am very excited by the big movement to EV's. It is fascinating to try to comprehend the myriad changes that this transition will bring to our industry.

Here is one I have not heard discussed.  As sales and production of EV's increase over the next 5-10 years, its possible that ICE vehicles will become more expensive.  With decreased sales come decreased economies of scale.  Transmissions are a good example. They aren't really needed for EV's.  Smaller production volumes of transmissions as sales of ICE vehicles decline may mean higher prices per unit.  As always, those costs will be passed along to the consumer.

As sales and production of EV's increase, economies of scale will make them more affordable.  They may become more affordable than ICE vehicles even sooner than some experts are predicting because ICE vehicles will experience price increases just as EV's become less expensive to own.

What do you think?

GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

I generally agree with you. EVs will reduce manufacturing scale for ICEs. So will ride sharing, since we will need fewer vehicles in the future, but that affects EV scale, too.

At the same time, all EVs are sold at a big loss today. And all those sales are supported by government subsidies. So far, OEMs are willing to eat the losses. Even though battery prices are coming down, as EV sales volume increases, automakers will have to increase prices of EVs so they can make a profit on them. And the consumer will have to pay more for them since subsidies will disappear in the next few years.

John McElroy

Hi guya,

Just wondering if u knew that tesla can extend its range over the air??
Tesla never hid the fact that it could extend range with an OTA command.

John McElroy

Dear Gary, John and Sean,

So once again the 'big fish', this time in Germany, get away with no punishment, and the 'little guys' take the fall. One can only hope that VAG has enough guilt to provide well for them and their families. But, I doubt it. Corporations don't have souls.

Perhaps an even better question would be: why blame the 'cheaters' at all. Why not blame the faulty testing that doesn't reflect reality. Why shouldn't the US government be held accountable for its lack of diligence in promising the consumer on thing, performance and fuel economy, while failing in its regulation of low emissions?

Oh, wait. That would be honest and too responsible. Not to say, provide little work for the legal profession.

Let's blame the other guys. That is the old standby of politicians; tribalism, racism, in-group/out-group.

Just some observations...

Tim Beaumont
The U.S. government gave automakers the benefit of the doubt. It asked them to self-certify, with the EPA doing spot checks, to speed up certification and cut regulatory costs. VW took advantage of this and developed a cheating program that was specifically designed to side-step any government tests.

Blaming the government in this case is misdirected. VW hurt the entire industry.

John McElroy

Maybe you guys n gals knew this already, but it surprised me. I took these pics of a Kia after noticing the DEF cap 'behind' the missing fuel door. It was on 94 at Chelsea, MI. I'm assuming it was a durability fleet car as it was traveling with other Kia M-plated vehicles.
Check it out.



What an eagle eye! Thanks for sending. We’re asking Kia if they care to make a comment on this.

John McElroy

A few weeks ago you had on Steve Bruyn of Foresight Research saying that auto shows were alive and well. Now, with many major brands skipping the Frankfurt Auto Show, Reuters is reporting the death of auto shows. What is going on here?
Neil G
Automakers are starting to skip some of the big auto shows if they have nothing new to unveil. But Steve Bruyn was correct in saying that public attendance at these shows is still going strong.

John McElroy

 Hello John

Subaru has been in the top 5 list the best growth consistently for many years, but I have not heard anything in regards to R&D for autonomy or electrification. Is this growth soon to be doomed?


Great question. Subaru can’t invest in electrification, autonomy and mobility services on its own. But Toyota now owns 16.5% of Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) and that is where Subaru will likely get the technology it needs.

John McElroy

 Seems like Tesla lies about the smaller battery pack in it's cars and installs a larger size but then uses the computer to lie to the owners.

Hello John,
Really enjoy your Autoline Daily broadcasts.
I have a question regarding the episode: The Great Escape? Cali Emissions Going Up - Autoline Daily 2174

You talked about the next generation Chevrolet Cruze production.  You mentioned it would be built in Lordstown, OH.  Can you say who was the source of this information?  Do you have any more information about future Lordstown production?  It sounded like "Auto Forecasts Illusions" was the source.  Maybe I misunderstood.  My apologies.  Any additional information or sources of information about this topic that you are able to provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you kindly for taking the time to read this e-mail.
Best regards,

Rich in Ohio

Here is what Autoforecast Solutions says about the next-gen Chevrolet Cruze:

Start of production: 1/3/2023
End of production: 12/22/2028
Production of the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze at Lordstown will begin January 2023.

I really wasn't all that excited about autonomous vehicles until I heard about the Domino's/Ford pizza delivery.  Now I can order a pizza and not have to worry about tipping the driver!  No more awkward moments of asking the guy if he has change for $1.


John & Gary - this link to an old MIT article from 2013 has puzzled me with so much talk about complete electrification of automobiles.   I tried your website search engine - but found no relevant sessions to this "power grid" topic.
I may have missed this session - but could you please address, or readdress, this issue in one of your up coming After Hours programs - what is its present status?
It would appear that experts from electric power generation/distribution network would be necessary rather than just automotive representatives.  Upgrading existing power systems to accommodate electrical automotive vehicles will definitely raise costs for anyone plugged into that grid.
Really enjoy reviewing your programs.
Best regards,
While we have not done a show specifically about the grid, it has come up in other topics we’ve done. Here’s a link to a show we did earlier this year on fuel cells, with part of the discussion touching on the grid.
John McElroy

Hello Autoline,

After watching the After Hours Episode 389 about FCA being possibly acquired by the Chinese. Is there any possibility a acquisition could be made by a Indian Automaker, such as Mahindra or Tata?

Thank you,

- Kireeti Ghanta
FCA would likely sell to any company that came up with the money to buy it, including Tata or Mahindra. Currently FCA has a market cap of about $22 billion. No doubt they’ll want a premium over that.

Hi John,
I liked the item about lane departure warning systems lessening accident numbers. It occurred to me that the worst driving I see on Chicagoland-area roads is to do with following distances. I’m dumbfounded to see that many people follow far too closely for MY comfort and OUR safety, and seem to have no idea of the influences of speed, spacing, reaction times and grip in weather conditions have on their cars. A one car-length gap at 70mph, even in dry sunny conditions, is just ridiculous! I’m NOT a slow driver, but there’s always someone in a bigger hurry, and I do move over as soon as I safely can. For my own little (admittedly unscientific) survey, I’ve taken to looking at the passing drivers’ faces. They don’t usually look angry, anxious or flustered; just calmly going about their business, totally oblivious that they are literally split-seconds away from disaster!
Except for basic models, many new cars are now fitted with smart cruise, lane departure warning, outside temperature, emergency braking systems, and often rain-sensing wipers. In other words, the information that these systems can already gather, could be used to warn drivers that their following distance is dangerously close, and to increase the space between them and the car in front. I’m NOT advocating government meddling, annoying warning sounds, brake inputs, just a gentle warning to back-off… DUMBASS!
Thank you all for your hard work giving us Autoline programming.
Best regards,
PS – I enjoy your current lineup, but I still miss Peter DeLorenzo’s participation (sometimes)! How about an occasional Autoline Daily or After Hours opinion piece with Peter summarizing his recent rants?

Thanks for your comments, very valid!

Also, great suggestion on getting Peter to do commentaries. I’ll see if I can get him to do it.

John McElroy

Just watched your show on the Auto Shows. From a long time car guy, having run several auto suppliers in my career and most recently a non-auto company, Tecumseh Products, I am thrilled the “SHOWS” seem to be gaining new interest. The consumer interest in shows is really a good barometer of public interest in cars. I lived to go the Auto Show in Detroit as a teenager, and honestly still look forward to the Charity Preview. My son, 17 yrs, is an ardent fan of not just the exotic cars but the Jeeps, the incredible horsepower engines and the efficiencies in power that we never envisioned 30 years ago. Uber, autonomous vehicles, and self-driving technology will never replace the thrill and satisfaction of driving your own car.  I’m all for advancing technology and safety but would caution that there may be a big and growing market of people that just like to drive cars.  I would argue that people don’t buy a Tesla for the fuel economy, they buy it for the driving experience.
Keep up the work your doing promoting the industry, we love it!
Jim Connor  

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

John McElroy

Hi John,
Do you think it would be cheaper to rebuild a Tesla (electric motor, battery and electronics) than a conventional gas alternative like an Audi or Mercedes?
Mike @ San Francisco
No. If you include the battery, rebuilding a Tesla would cost a lot more money. For comparison purposes, a 100 kwh battery pack would cost around $22,000.

What the heck, you have Bob Fascetti on your show and a month later it's announcing he's retiring? What pot did you stir up? Great show by the way.
Looks like they saved the best for last!

RE: ATW #2124


Once again an excellent topic and program. You are the best.

But, I will be opting out.



PS Where is the switch to turn this off in my new Mid-Engine Corvette?
Many people will want to opt-out of allowing car companies to collect data on them in their cars. But most people seem to forget that their smart phones are already collecting tons of data on them. Just about every app on your phone is collecting data on you.

As for how to opt out with a mid-engine ‘Vette: never push the start button.

Good and interesting report on the Dana CVT concept except you left out one very important piece of information:  what is the max practical ratio spread?  Is it competitive with conventional and belt drive CVT's?
Dana claims its CVT will have a ratio spread of up to 8:1. Currently, Subaru claims to have the best spread for a CV T with a 7.03:1 ratio. So that would put the Dana Variglide at the top of the list.

My new Mazda CX-5: "bumpers" front and rear, do not extend beyond the body's sheet-metal. Isn't that Zero "protection." Tell me why.

It’s all about styling.

Often talked about North America preference for sedans, and European for estates, wagons. But, why? How will this affect makers global production?
Thx, Tim
Estates are more popular in Europe than in any other major market. But it’s not as if they dominate sales in Europe, far from it. As in the rest of the world, CUVs and SUVs are the fastest growing segments. Automakers will continue to come out with new estate models as long as sales hold up, but fewer automakers are going this route and are turning to CUVs instead.

What happens if HCCI Sky-Activ X engine is a big hit for Mazda? Will that affect plant need analysis of John?
Even if Mazda’s semi-HCCI engine is successful, it’s unlikely to significantly boost sales. Mazda’s sales problems have little to do with the engines it offers or the fuel efficiency of its vehicles.

RE: Continental’s Wild New Wheel Concept

Hi all:
  I have to be he umpteenth person to point this out but everything new is really old. I've found in my years of doing drafting/3D design work that all engineering is built on the shoulders of others. As James Burke points out in his series "Connections" the things of life are small "inventions" woven together.  In the late '50s and early '60s Porsche tried their own take on the disk brake. 

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

John McElroy

Could it be sedans are not flying off dealer lots is because Tesla has 500,000 customers standing in line?  I have 250,000 miles on my 2010 Prius.  I'm not on the Tesla list yet, just waiting to see what happens.

Interesting theory. Through July, U.S. car sales are off by 300,000 vehicles.

Hey John,
We traded emails around the time our autonomous driving platform launch. I'm enjoying Autoline. Just fyi in case you might be interested in this as a panel for your show: Bob Lutz keynoting at this next month in Plymouth. I know Lutz has gotten enough press for several lifetimes but might be interesting to hear the whole "lion in winter" at a geeky system/software event. Also there will be Mentor CEO Wally Rhines, who himself has spent most of his life around the chip design industry. (Here's his recollection on working on one of the first microprocessors at TI back in the 1970s
Anyway, a lifetime car guy riffing with a lifetime chip guy
on Autoline could be cool. 
Just an idea from a former Michigander in Japan for a year. 
You were great at the Design Automation Conference a few years back btw. 

This is a pretty good suggestion, but we already have Bob Lutz scheduled for a shoot at the end of this month for Autoline This Week, all about passenger drones.

So we wouldn’t want to have him on again so soon. But we’ll keep this suggestion in mind for the future, because it’s a good one.

John McElroy

John and Sean,
I just drove a pre-production Honda Clarity Electric car. They are using the same car to make the Hydrogen, Electric, and Plug-In Hybrid (out by the end of the year) version of the car. Using the same car is a big problem for the electric version as there is not enough space for batteries. The batteries are placed down the center tunnel and into part of the truck. Truck space is the same as the Hydrogen version. They did not disclosing a kWh number for the battery, but did say the range would be 89 miles. They claimed that that was not an optimistic number but a real life number that most people will be easily able to achieve. Also they said that when your range dropped to zero, you can drive an addition 15 mile before it would totally quit.
You can not buy the car, you can only lease it. Three year lease at $269 a month, $1999 at signing, 20,000 miles a year. The electric version has 10 less horsepower than the Hydrogen version.  
I think they are going to have a hard time selling this car with the Bolt and Tesla 3 having twice the range and the styling of the car is nothing to get excited about.
George from Sunnyvale

Great feedback, thanks for sending this. We truly appreciate the feedback we get from our viewers, especially when they scoop us!

John, Gary, Sean,

I sat in a Bolt EV the other day. Very nice, great reviews, but .... what a shame it does not have electric seats. I think it is a bit a of a marketing mistake. I believe most buyers are probably looking at a second vehicle primarily for urban use with occasional long hauls, and would pay for the amenity. I would.

Regards, Tim (2017 Tesla Model S P100D, 2001 Audi Allroad, 2018 Subaru Forester XT Touring)

*In response to previous viewer mail from 8-4-2017*

May I disagree with my auto guru on this one as it seems Hyundai was nearly first to the CUV game.  They supplied 'late to the game' BMW with their X3 didn't they?  They started the mini CUV with the Kia Sportage too.

In comparos, Hyundai often gets the 'value' prize, which doesn't necessarily mean favorite.  Either their CUVs Santa Fe and Verazono (or whatever) have become invisible or maybe it's a canary in the mine.


John and Gary,

Long time listener here! Big fan! Loved the recent podcast with Larry Dominique. Listening to his take on mobility reminded me of Amazon's strategy of integration. It used to be that Amazon predominately used UPS and USPS to deliver and distribute goods. However in Minneapolis (where I live) it is more typical to see goods delivered by an Amazon truck directly from their distribution center. It continues with the development of Prime Air, Amazon Restaurants, etc.

PSA seems similar, through a Free to Move (PSA Prime) membership I can access car sharing, leasing, public transit, etc. PSA is the gatekeeper like Amazon, and eventually they become the provider of the content as the customer builds a relationship with them. I think it is fascinating and they may be ahead of other car makers in this respect.

Thanks for the great podcasting!


Good insights. We love it when we can learn from our viewers!

Do you think the Hyundai slump is due to Mr Kim and his threats to the South Koreans?
No, Hyundai’s main problem is that it missed the sudden shift to CUVs and it’s making too many passenger cars.

It sounds like the interviews for today's AAH have already happened. But if they have not, here is my question for the CARB representative.
Premium gasoline in California is 91 octane. The rest of the country has 92 or 93 octane. This is a problem as the auto companies have to tune for 91 octane. Now the auto companies are asking for higher octane fuel so they can make more efficient engines to meet the ever increasing fuel mileage regulations. There needs to be ONE standard for the all the US. What is CARB position on this? 
George from Sunnyvale

Thanks for sending in your question. You guessed right. This week’s After Hours was recorded. We were at an industry conference with access to a lot of interesting people, so we took advantage of that. Next week, we’ll be back to our live webcast.

John McElroy

Hi John,
I found Robert Davis' comments of how Mazda thinks there will be room for internal combustion engines; but when countries around the world will only accept 'zero emissions' one has to wonder what type of future these engines can really have as it's 23 years.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
Countries may be bold about banning ICEs in the future. But the politicians talking about banning them will not be in office when it has to be enforced. Let’s see what actually happens.

Hey Guys. Really enjoyed your interview yesterday with Robert Davis. WOW! Mazda has the right focus-------the whole environment not just individual pieces. Referencing the need for premium fuel to allow for the next batch of improvements to the ICE, have we forgotten about DIESEL fuel? Thirty percent more energy than GGE and  a super high cetane rating just to mention a few benefits. Let's not condemn the DIESEL . It may be a piece  of Mazda and Mr. Davis' view of what's needed to help in that " whole environment solution" ! Thanks and keep up your fantastic interviews and diversity. Youngblood Cleveland OH

Hi John,
The next biggest thing in the auto business is the design and development of better high-density batteries.
This article which I just read made me think of what Sandy Munro said just a couple of weeks ago about how Boron will play a critical role in the next generation of high capacity battery technology.
Mike @ San Francisco, CA

Having just watched a Tesla Model 3 test drive on USA I was struck by my first impression. And you know what they say about first impressions. From a visual standpoint I would easily opt for the Model 3 over a Bolt. If I am what I drive, the Model 3 has a stronger positive statement. Several weeks ago, on Autoline After Hours, David Welch stated that he finds all SUVs/Crossovers boring. I think that will be the case for many with the Bolt. I would like to see some comprehensive price information on both cars. In my experience, most buyers do not buy the base vehicle and I think that is the Bolt and Model 3 pricing that I have seen. I will be interested in the average price paid after six months of sales. I think that it is going to be closer to 45K than 35K which is going to put the final cost somewhere in the 37-38K region. I am also waiting for some substantial real world test drive reviews and especially your impressions after both cars have been on the road for several months.

On a second note, what happens when EVs become far more numerous? Without a big uptick in charging stations are we going to see confrontations about who gets to plug in next? I have a friend in Atlanta who does not drive her Leaf to work due to a concern about charging station availability due to the number of EVs where she parks. What will people do, run outside to see if a station is available, somewhat like recharging the parking meter every two hours.

Chuck Genrich

Hello all,

Just wanted to thank you for your excellent programming in the Autoline family of podcasts.  I listen to it through Apple podcasts.  Very informative and enlightening.

I have been an auto parts advisor for 16 years at a Big 3 dealer.  It is good to hear an unbiased view of what is happening in the larger automotive industry in North America and throughout the world.  I believe that our dealers continue to live in the 1970's and are incredibly resistant to change.  New technologies and new methods are not being embraced by the good ol' boys, and I believe that no dealer or company is too big to fall if massive change takes place.   We need global and local leadership in the industry, and I do not believe we are getting it nor will we get it in time.

And going through your older podcasts, I agree with you -- this is China's century for gain in many industries, including automotive.

More to come.  Regards.

Joel Scott

(In response to a previous letter from 7-21-17)

Yea me too as far a Chinese auto companies. Oddly enough there is a group of suits offing 40K/acre to farmers in Noblesville, IN. They are trying to piece together 2200 Acres for a "Major economic development" few things take that kind of space and the politicos are tight lipped. Great Wall has suggested interest in a US facility.

D Sprowl

There is a high level of trust by consumers regarding their privacy when using "smart" network connected devices. For those who don't care whether their physical location away from home can be determined, who have no information that they discussing or things that they do that they don't mind strangers knowing, this may not be a problem.

That trust is not justified by reality.  The technology that they trust is being used to rob unoccupied homes, steal identities (1/4 of all American adults have experienced some level of identity theft in the past 10 years) and corporate information. 

Anyone who says you that they can collect information from vehicles while assuring individual privacy is misleading you through very careful phrasing. What they are talking about is stripping identification from data at some point after it has been collected. 

Automotive data cannot be anonymous from the point of collection.  The example of a dealer being able to advise an owner that a battery is failing based on information remotely transmitted from that vehicle perfectly illustrates that the data collection process is not anonymous, and there is no intention of making it so.  

The customer permission that is being spoken of will be buried in contractural details that few if any consumers will ever read. The software will be licensed, not sold. This is no different from other software licenses. If you use the software, you agree to its operation and any changes that the publisher wishes to make. If you do not agree to the whole, the entire software will be disabled, as far as you know. 

Regardless of whether the data is collected by wifi, cellular data or at dealerships through the dataport, the identity of the origin is easily determined. All radio transmission contains an ID number that is tied to the vehicle, the ODBII port provides a similar number.  All these are tied to the VIN number, which is connected to the owner through state vehicle registration- public information.

This is no more anonymous than the video scanning of license plates at stop lights and  on toll roads to issue tickets for violations.

Unless the companies that collect information have public transparent processes, they cannot be trusted to anonymize data as part the intake process. 

The concern should be about purchasers being unable to purchase a new vehicle without an active data collection system and unable to examine, block and scrub data unrelated to the mechanical operation of the vehicle at the vehicle.  

Vehicular data systems need to be operated and testable like smartphones by their owners.  If not, there is no way to assure data and personal privacy.

Personal cellular devices can be configured to disable GPS and restrict access to data within the device by the owner and the effectiveness determined using 3rd party software and network probes. All that must be involuntarily publically revealed about the device identity is the IMEI and the called number, and this can be mechanically disabled if desired when not actively transmitting.  All other information requires cooperation of the cellular carrier. The audio and IP traffic can be encrypted and/or tunneled by the device owner.  

Vehicle autonomous operation should not depend on a system transmitting anything other than a low power laser, acoustic or radar signal, and containing information other than a VIN-type number. For public open road operation signals should be transmitted by the individual vehicle or an area traffic management system,  not in response to interrogation.  

It has already been demonstrated that vehicles that can be "updated" remotely can be hacked to change their operation. There is no assurance that the data collection system cannot be hacked to transmit information without the knowledge and consent of the owner. 

Given the Dieselgate, Takata and NSA scandals, the auto industry and the government have a long way to go before they can be trusted with realtime data collection and customer monitoring.



GM China E100 EV - is perfect local transport at the right price - the start of a local transport revolution.

Finally, we have an EV that ticks all the boxes for local travel. At $5300 it is a steal. I assume the non-subsidised price would be about $15,000. While battery size was not given, I expect it will be about 25 kWh.

I expect a very wide variety of local travel options will develop from walking and cycling to electrified everything from electric-assisted cycling, scooters and motorbikes of every type, three-wheel and four-wheel cars, fully autonomous 3 and 4 wheelers, various local and regional geo-fenced hire of everything from bikes to cars many of which will be autonomous. We will also have buses and autonomous buses doing local services.

Then we will have longer distance options with a smaller set of vehicles with the addition of trains and planes. Hyper loop is just maglev in a low-pressure tube. The US north-east corridor is prime country for deep underground 400 kmh maglev - the cost will be far cheaper than the ground-level Amtrak upgrade proposals - and fully weatherproof.


Peter Egan

Been following your show since it was radio only.
I still feel the missing item on your panel is a regular car person. You only cover industry point of view and the show position is industry centered so there is no counter-point.
I grew up the son of a mechanic/car dealer. We only spoke "car", so I see this show from the perspective of a car person, not industry insider.

The most recent show talked about monetizing data without really asking the person spending $40,000+ for that car if it is ok to use that data for possible compensation.  It used to be that I could step into any car in the dark and before the starter disengaged I had the radio and climate set and was on my way. Now I spend 20 min in a airport parking garage just trying to learn basics so I can drive away.

The industry is so busy adding features that they have not bothered to ask buyers if they want them.

I drove a friends 2017 Buick yesterday and could not wait to get rid of it because of the endless stream of warnings as I drove down a standard local 4 lane road.

Autoline needs a "regular guy" point of view.


With the new management team at Ford, do you thing Ranger production will be pulled forward, like the original Ranger was.

It’s unlikely Ford will pull the Ranger program for North America ahead. It has to retool the Wayne Assembly Plant which is still building Focus’s and C-Max’s and has committed to building them there for at least another year. Of course, those plans were set under the old regime. The new team could decide differently, but so far there’s been no indication of that.

Mr. McElroy,
   So Autonomous Vehicles are almost infallible, as you told me in a previous email? I chuckled when I saw the story about an Autonomous Volvo tangling with a kangaroo in Australia. I am in Quality Control at Roush and will always question Autonomous Vehicles as there will be a situation where the car will not be able to react to. It only takes once for your parachute not to open while sky diving. To me, Autonomous Vehicles have to be 100% fool proof before I embrace the technology.
Thank you for your time as always,
Andrew Mooney
No, I said that +90% of traffic accidents are caused by human error, and that autonomous cars would have a much better safety record.

I’ve driven Volvo’s Level II system. It’s not very good.. It’s an enhanced adaptive cruise control with some steering assist that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel. I would not call it an autonomous system


I would love to see a comparison of a base Regal, Camry SE and Accord Sport since they are priced within $500 of each other.  My guess is the Regal will be the better car with higher quality rankings, but due to perception, will never come close in sales.

I think that the “concern” that GM and the unions are expressing about their sales slumpthe “concern” that GM and the unions are expressing about their sales slump is vastly under estimated.
I’ve been seeing a series of financial analysis reports about the coming financial meltdown rooted in the over $1 trillion of auto loans on the books many of which are sub-prime.  Not a housing bubble this time, but an auto loan bubble “Carmagidon”.  Again, those toxic loans are polluting larger bundle of loan packages being re-sold around the financial markets.
Here’s a link to some of their views.  It’s by former US budget director David Stockman.  You should get him on your show and have a lengthy conversation.  Would be very eye opening for your audience.

Good day.

I do not understand when car manufacturers talk of improving fuel
efficiency on IC engines, what happened to the VW 200mpg concept car and the MYT engine which no single car manufacturer adopted?


VW’s 200 mpg car was a small 2-seater and those don’t sell very well. Plus it would have been very expensive to manufacture.

As for the MYT engine, the history of the auto industry is littered with revolutionary engine designs that claimed superior performance over existing engines, but never made it into production. In +120 years of development only three engines have made it into production: the gasoline piston engine, the diesel piston engine and the Wankel. And for all practical purposes the Wankel is dead.

I should have asked you to discuss Peter's 'Death of Wonderlust' article regarding autonomy. I'm sure Hagerty has an answer to that.

Also, has anybody done wind tunnel testing of early 'aero' designs? I think of those testers finding that running boards have an aero advantage.

I greatly enjoy your website and watch many of your shows. I routinely watch After Hours and doing so I've noticed what seems to me to be a bias against Tesla Motor or a least against Elon Musk. Would you please give me some insight as to why that is if, indeed my observations are correct.
In closing, I must say again the I truly do enjoy AutoLine Daily.  Thanks for great, informative, and entertaining web programming.
Sincerely, DW 

I wouldn’t say we’re biased against Tesla or Elon Musk. Yes, we’ve been very vocal about how Elon has exaggerated about and overpromised on so many things. We’ve said that at some point Tesla had better earn a profit if it’s going to be a viable, sustainable company. And we’ve also discussed how crazy, over-valued the stock is.

But we’ve also said how much we admire what Elon has achieved and talked about how good the Model S is (the X, not so much). We’ve also talked about how the Model 3 could be a game changer for the entire automotive industry, not just Tesla.

Like most topics on Autoline After Hours, we talk about the good and the bad, and both sides of most issues.

John McElroy

Send us your thoughts: