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4-17-2015


John,

The word police are at it again. Surprised that Wards would bring this issue up. When customers can walk into several different "automobile stores," find the exact same vehicle for the exact same price, then I guess they can be called stores. Until there is no more dealing to be had, they are dealers!
 


Amado Arceo

Saginaw, MI
4-17-2015


John,

Will you ever have Mistre Chip Drake on AutoLINE After Hors? We hear of him all the time.


Marion Kershavelin
Маринин Кирилишен
Marion,

Thanks for your interest in Chip Drake. He is the producer of our Autoline After Hours and Autoline This Week shows. Sometimes, but very rarely, he does appear on camera. Most of the time he is in the control room, overseeing the production of the shows.

Best,
John McElroy
4-17-2015


Hello Mr. McElroy,

Love watching your show every Monday. Interesting people from all types of industries.

I went through an apprenticeship program growing up in Germany many years ago and have my own small business here now.

Teaching young kids a good trade is vital to the future and I applaud the efforts of your guests. I do the same in my shop.

Mr. Hackel started saying kids should not look into law enforcement instead to check out manufacturing options. Superintendent DeVault thinks that way, too.

I think everybody should go into public office. Just Googled this info about Mr. Hackel and did not bother to search for Mr. DeVaults records because they probably will be the same:
"Under information obtained by The Macomb Daily through the Freedom of Information Act, Hackel will receive a lump sum pension payment of nearly $376,000, a monthly Sheriff's Department pension of $6,240 -- more than $74,000 a year -- and an annual executive salary of $139,000." (Public record)

This is what is wrong with this country!

Best regards,
Kai Schulte
4-17-2015


ALD Pi Day

Don’t know who on the staff wrote the script for the subject segment, but kudos to them. I’m sure they had fun!
 
The pi based pricing information was most interesting, if not surprising. One can only wonder if the marketing gurus or pricing strategists knowingly went there?!

Glenn
4-17-2015


Hi John,
 
Did you do a story about the newly announced Sprinter Van plant in South Carolina?
 
It is quite a noteworthy event and ties into your recent program on Mexican manufacturing. 
 
I have bookmarked your ‘Mexico’ show but when I started watching it I got a little nauseous when that executive started gloating about how Mexican wages have stayed cheap while China has apparently been too soft on workers by awarding them pay increases.
 
If you remember Ross Perot’s far-sighted prediction of a "sucking sound” as America jobs went south under NAFTA you might also remember that he was half wrong about one other prophecy. At the time he felt American wages would stagnate until eventually the Mexican workers would catch up to US wages. Even though union* and non-union US autoworkers have been hammered with pay cuts the past decade the Mexican system is so bent that 21 years into NAFTA they have not even come close to catching up.
 
Mexico is on course for annual production of around 5 million cars in a couple of years while consuming only 1 million cars per year. Imagine if the USA produced vehicles in the same proportion. Would 80 million cars made in the US every year seriously disrupt the balance of the global markets?
 
Of course we Canadians are truly the odd men out with an autoworkers union that still tries to respect the principal of equality and refuses to accept Third World wages. Did you know there is serious talk of GM pulling out of Oshawa in a couple of years?

* I really find it difficult to believe the current UAW meets the objective definition of a labour union.
 
Mike Vorobej
Ottawa
4-17-2015


John McElroy

  The USA, Britain and Germany all used gasoline aircraft engines with water methanol injection to produce war emergency power or WEP during World War II. In most American fighter’s this was done by moving the throttle past the normal stop or detent to the war emergency power condition. The water methanol or occasionally water ethanol tank typically provided 5 to 7 minutes of time running at the higher power setting.

  The water and methanol was used purely to lower combustion temperatures allowing the engine to run at higher boost pressures than achievable without water methanol injection. Some German fighter engines also used nitrous oxide injection. For the Merlin engine used in the P 51D Mustang the maximum supercharger pressure was 90 psi but with water methanol injection the boost could be raised to about 105 psi. For the air cooled radial engines like the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines the boost pressure could be raised from about 70 psi to about 90 psi. The additional strain on the engine required that engines used in the over boost condition be more frequently overhauled. The Allies primarily because the USA had considerable ability to modify the octane ratings of gasoline had a big advantage over the Germans.

  Power ratings for these World War II engines were often referred to as normal and wet; the wet ratings are for engines using water methanol injection.

Ray Aurand
4-17-2015


Hi John,

Just wondering what you guys think of the new Volvo XC90?  Would love to hear your comments

.

Abhi

Halifax, Canada
Abhi,

We have not driven it yet, so we don’t have any comments so far.
4-17-2015


John,



Jake Fisher was spot on with his information about automotive multimedia devices. The user interfaces are mostly poorly designed, and they are unreliable. 

(To the critics of CR's methods, yes they are observational surveys, but they are well done and statistically sound. Justification is beyond the scope of this email, but for those interested, reference Seeing Through Statistics, 4h Ed, by Jessica M Utts).



I would take exception with one comment. 

While it is probably true that most buyers desire these systems, the automakers are being a bit sly and deceitful. One is often required to pay a huge up-charge for these systems, which are bundled with a much more common desirable 'option'. Some examples I have come across on web builds are: presets and more electric adjustments for both driver and front passenger seating, lumbar support for the front seats, back up or front and side cameras, and sound system upgrades.



And in a related complaint, BMW wins the prize for brand arrogance, not only because of the above, but due to that ridiculous electronic shifter, that glorified nest of buttons. Perhaps mastery conveys entrance into some mystical society... 



Seriously, though, lack of standardization of controls, in general, is becoming known as a safety issue. 



Recall the unfortunate accident where a new owner of a Mercedes SUV is thought to have unintentionally driven into an oncoming train in New York state, and died along with train passengers. The unfamiliar shift pattern is being investigated as a contributing factor, http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/did-a-merecedes-shifter-contribute-to-the-fatal-metro-n-1684219528.



The government may intervene if the automakers do not voluntarily ameliorate these problems.



Great show,
Tim Beaumont
4-17-2015


John:

Finally, someone, as alluded to by your story, is giving credit where it is due regarding high tech stuff. As far as technological complexity and sophistication are concerned, the technology coming from Silicon Valley pales in comparison to that of coming from Detroit's car companies. It's been that way for the last 30 or so years.

Thanks for getting the word out. Keep up the good work!!!!

John Zupanc
4-17-2015


Hello John,
 
Please tell Marshall that we Baby Boomers are very much excited about the prospect of autonomous cars. Our generation could be the first that in our dotage trades in the normal driver's license for an autonomous car only driver's permit.
 
Hey all drivers should like this. Then you may not have to put up the turn signal on the car in front of you blinking mile after mile.
 
Boomer1946
4-17-2015


Hi john,



Very interesting to hear on your Autoline Daily program that Ford is said to be working on a light duty diesel for the new F-150. With the success Ram is seeing with their light duty diesel and with the folks in Dearborn working to bring one to market, could GM dust off the power plant they shelved a few years back? I remember a show you did with the folks from Wards, where there was talk of the 4.5 ltr Duramax as a ten best engines, if they'd have brought it to market.



All the best,

Aren
4-9-2015


You may already know this. I ran into a friend the other day that was installing the aluminum welding equipment at the Ford Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky. He told me that the company he was working for has just signed a contract to install the aluminum welding equipment at the Chevy Truck Plant. This is their next project shortly after the Ford plant is up and running. It looks like those Chevy "High Strength Steel" ads are going to be short lived!

Don L
4-9-2015


Hi John,



Just watched your programme for the first time and found it very interesting. I noted comment about Renault and the other brands from France. They certainly did need to up their game and, to be fair, a survey in the UK last year (WarrantyDirect) now rates them at # 2 for lack of warranty claims…which places them behind the Japanese, but just ahead of the Koreans. That places them well ahead of the Germans and other European manufacturers, although it should noted that Skoda (Czech Republic) wasn’t included, and here in New Zealand that brand has a lot of respect (kinda pricey though).



Regards to all,


Barry Watkin
Auckland, NZ
4-9-2015


Hi John,
 
I finally got time to watch the Z06 Afterhours show and your discussion on Flow Cells got me thinking on what do you do with the fluid? I looked up how these devices work and they are very similar to a normal battery in that you have 2 chemicals that come together in a solution that causes electrons to be emitted and absorbed. I would assume, since there is no perceptual motion machines, the electrons used to create electricity would come from the fluids. So, unless you put those electrons back into the fluids through a reverse process, charging, you would have to remove the fluids and replace them with new fluids. If you have to drive around with 500 gallons of fluid that adds about 4000 lbs to the vehicle and has to be pumped out and then replaced. I see no advantage to using this system in a car. The use of super capacitors to store regenerative energy from braking could help, but the battery, if sized properly, could produce all the energy needed to propel the car. I would think that some kind of charging system could be developed to reuse the fluids and could be plugged into shore power. However, a 6000 lb. car make no sense to me.
 
Great show, love those Corvettes, I think I will keep my 94 and drive the wheels off it.  Someday I may have a new one, who knows, maybe a mid engine one.
 
Al Jadczak
Lake Orion, Michigan
currently in Gilbert, Arizona enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures
4-9-2015


Hello John, 

 

Enjoyed very much your show about CPO's. Very interesting and informative. To your knowledge is Ford the only manufacturer at this time to offer the lifetime roadside assistance that was mentioned by Todd Fites? That is such a great incentive to purchase a CPO for a young driver. Its certainly something to consider.
 


Thanks,

GB, 
Houston 
GB

We’re not aware of other automakers offering roadside assistance on their CPO cars, but we’ll check into it.
4-9-2015


John,

Forgive this poke at ALD; on Monday you bragged on the streaming coverage of all 12 hours of Sebring without ANY advertising breaks: what about the now increased number of advertising breaks in 7 – 9 minutes of ALD?! Maybe give us a break once a week?

Glenn
Glenn,

You make a valid point, but consider that motor racing is the only sport that breaks away from the action for commercials. And you see the same commercials over and over again for at least four hours. In TV coverage of NASCAR I would estimate that 40% of your viewing time is for commercials and promotions. On Autoline Daily you’re subjected to less than 30 seconds of commercial messaging, or about 6% of each show.
4-9-2015


“To top it off, Chevy power took home the top spot in the Prototype Challenge class.”
 
John, you do know that Prototype Challenge is a spec series with an Oreca chassis and Chevrolet engines, right?
 
Sean P. Walsh P.E.
Arlington, VA
4-9-2015


John,
 
Autoline always thinks out side of the box, watch the last two minutes of this Nightly Business Report dated March 23, 2015. Start your Car with your eyes.
 
May'be this will be the way of the future. Keep up the good work.
 
Thanks
Oakcabin
Thanks for sending, we had not seen this.
4-9-2015


Hi john,



Very interesting to hear on your Autoline Daily program that Ford is said to be working on a light duty diesel for the new F-150. With the success Ram is seeing with their light duty diesel and with the folks in Dearborn working to bring one to market, could GM dust off the power plant they shelved a few years back? I remember a show you did with the folks from Wards, where there was talk of the 4.5 ltr Duramax as a ten best engines, if they'd have brought it to market.



All the best,

Aren
3-31-2015


John,

The word police are at it again. Surprised that Wards would bring this issue up. When customers can walk into several different "automobile stores,” find the exact same vehicle for the exact same price, then I guess they can be called stores. Until there is no more dealing to be had, they are dealers!

Amado Arceo
Saginaw, MI
3-31-2015


Dealers or stores? Really, how about HOSTAGE TAKERS? They get you in there and won't let go of you. If you bring a trade, guess what, it disappears. The problem is word of mouth is the best or worst advertising. Isn't their a saying, lipstick on a pig is still a pig? Struck a nerve? You bet!

All the best, Mike R,Texas
3-31-2015


About 3 years ago, it was about 80 Yen to the dollar. Two years ago it was about 90 Yen to the dollar, a year ago it was about 100 Yen to the dollar, and now it is about 120 Yen to the dollar. That is a 50% depreciation. Does this give cars made in Japan a significant disadvantage over those made in the US? Will we see car price changes, or content removed, in Japanese sourced cars because of it?

Neil G
Normal, IL
Yes, the depreciation of the yen gives Japanese automakers a huge advantage. Will you see lower prices or higher content? No, you will see bigger profits.
3-31-2015


John:

Have you seen this? This would make a great Auto Line Detroit program... bringing local copyright lawyers and auto repair guys to discuss this emerging topic. Also, your show could be expanded to include auto injury lawyers and the driverless car folks together to discuss emerging legal issues resulting from driverless cars. The cars might be driverless, but there could be a team of lawyers in the trunk!

Best Regards, Joe Neussendorfer
Detroit Press Club Member
This is much ado about nothing. First, shade tree mechanics have been modifying cars for well over a century. Second, there is nothing illegal about modifying purchased products or software as long as it is for personal use. Besides, we’d love to see anyone try and enforce this. Only in America would lawyers and politicians wring their hands over such an inconsequential issue.

McElroy
3-31-2015


John,

Two serious frustrations about the US auto industry: 1) Can we please have station wagons back? Something like my 2001 Audi allroad V6 twin turbo AWD? And although the diesel would be nice, I really do not want a manual! The Aisin or ZF 8-speed would be great. No jerky double clutches, unless they include a torque converter, such as the recent Acura/Honda. 2) Think we could have a stand alone delete option, and price reduction, for all the 'connectivity?’ I like the 'autonomous' safety features, but I really do not need to text, phone, or scroll through multiple menus on MMI or iDrive or Sync or CUE, etc, while at the wheel. A smart phone or Garmin is fine, and data should be entered before one sets off on the road. And perhaps we should try a paradigm shift to emphasize personal responsibility while earning the privilege to operate a motor vehicle. I suggest 'piloting' rather than 'driving.’ Maybe ask 'the execs' next time they are on.

As always, Great show, Tim Beaumont
We love what you’re saying about station wagons, but the only way they’ll ever make a comeback in the US market is if more people start to buy them. Last month Audi sold a paltry 181 allroads. And those sales were down 35% from a year ago!
3-25-2015

John,

I saw this a couple months ago and was going to send it to you, but got busy here I guess and ended up not. I found the aspect of another big market for electric batteries interesting. And as someone who rides and follows motorcycle news, I had no idea the electric scooter market was this big!

It may also help explain Ford's announcement last week about its interest in electric bikes??

Best,
Jeff Woodin
Wynantskill, NY
3-25-2015

John,

I just finished watching the Oliver Schmidt AAH. Great show. It's so interesting to contrast the tech culture to the auto culture. Part of the tech culture I grew up in was "trying to change the world to be a better place.” Really listen to Elon Musk on this. It's part of being in an inspiring and "bigger than yourself" environment and culture. It's obvious that many OEMs are just creating PEVs to meet government regulations and don't have their heart in it. In the tech community PEVs powered by domestically sourced zero emission electricity is the solution to a number of the world's big problems. Apple has $178 billion available to do anything it wants. EV powertrains are relatively simple and modular. They can learn how to design 5-star FMVSS cars and sell online as Tesla did. Don't underestimate the tech culture that is striving to make the world a better place. This is an inspiring vision. This is probably a larger source of disdain of the tech world against Detroit than folks may realize. Also just think of the synergy between Apple and Tesla on creating a pervasive DC fast charging/supercharged network across the country. I may try to write an IEEE paper on why it makes a lot of sense for Apple to create an EV.

Regards, Dave Tuttle
Dave,

You’re absolutely right that people want to be part of a culture that is “bigger than yourself.” Or buy products from companies trying to achieve that. The OEMs all talk the talk, but most of them don’t walk it.

BTW, what do you make of the Quant flow cell cars? They run on liquid salt! Any feedback on them?

McElroy
3-25-2015

John,

I really enjoyed the interview on Autoline After Hours with Oliver Schmidt particularly the part about in house component development. I also listened with interest when Sean reported VW's R&D spend. What I do not understand is why VW/group has such mediocre reliability ratings? Being the owner of two VWs and two Audi's, I can testify first hand to mediocre reliability. My Toyota 4Runner, admittedly much less fun to drive, has a far lower cost of ownership because nothin ever breaks. What gives with VW? The words and money don't equal the results.

From Switzerland, Peter
Peter,

What you ask about is one of the most puzzling aspects of the VW group. On so many fronts the group is so powerful, but consistently comes up short in reliability. If we had an explanation or solution, we’d be rich! Clearly this is a key reason why VW’s sales in the US market are so weak. The residuals of VW’s cars are so poor that their lease rates are sky-high, at least where the company does not subsidize them. Yet, on the other hand, Audi is doing quite well. If VW can solve its reliability issues—watch out!

McElroy
3-5-2015

Hi John

Just watched Joe Hinrichs on the ATW show. I'd say that he represents Ford well. He is a good spokesperson and knows his stuff. The man also gives the impression of being an average guy, not a put-on.

We watch all your shows on a regular basis and do enjoy all.

Cheers,

Jay Mtn Home, AR
3-5-2015

John,

I have two ideas for you. What if you did video versions of the SEAT-times you post on the Autoline website? The Bentley Flying Spur would have been a great opportunity. We don’t see these cars here in Azerbaijan ever. They could really become popular with watchers of your shows! Also, what if you brought the two generations on the After Hours show? You, your sons Seamus and Sean would be for a good show! Many peoples here would like I think if they have the internet!

Marion Kershavelin
Marion,

Thanks so much for your suggestions. We like the idea of video versions of Seat Time, and will try to figure out the best way to do it.

Best,
John McElroy
3-5-2015

Greetings from the Great White North!

I thought it quite bizarre that it is just now that the French Renault is coming out with an SUV. That got me thinking, SUVs aren't that popular in the European market as they are in North America. Another added quandary, why is it that the French name plates are noticeably absent from a large majority (if not totally) of the North American markets? It cannot be lack of manufacturing facilities (well, for Renault at least) owing to its alliance with Nissan... What gives, John?

Elyas from Winnipeg
Renault, Citroen and Peugeot all sold cars in the US and Canada up through the 1980’s. But their quality wasn’t very good, which led to sinking sales, which led them to abandon these markets.

McElroy
3-5-2015

Hey John,

Before you go instructing your viewers to do something illegal, you better make sure they understand their own state laws. Many states make it illegal to alter the reflectivity of a vehicle's license plate, or to interfere with the capabilities of a speed measuring device in any way. Make sure they check their own state laws before proceeding or they could find themselves with a bigger fine than just from speeding.

Matt
Hatfield, MA
3-5-2015

Regarding putting slicks on a Transit, mentioned on AAH Thursday night, I'm reminded that there have been a number of custom high-performance Transits and other vans. There's the Transit built by TWR to test the powertrain for the Jaguar XJ220, since boosted to a reported 640 PS, the Transit Supervans based first on the original GT40 and later a C100 Group C chassis (the latter really just Transit shaped fibre-glass shells on a racing chassis), and most recently the one-off Ford Transit SuperSportsvan from 2011, with the biggest 200 PS diesel in the smallest swb Transit body. They're the efforts Ford UK cooked up for publicity efforts, but I'm sure you remember the days when GMC, Chevy and Ford vans were customised, not just with wild paint jobs and interiors, but fat rear tyres and high performance V8s. Just the thing for SEMA.

Andrew Charles
2-27-2015

Dear John McElroy,

I am currently going to school for a bachelors in Business Administration and General Management and am very interested in the automotive field as a career. I am an avid watcher of Autoline and the industry as a whole.

The reason why I am emailing you is to see if you can ask the automotive executives how they got to where they are today (career path) and what changes they would have made if they did it over again.

It would be fascinating to hear their stories and see if they have any advice for young students just getting out in the market and looking at the automotive field for a career.

Thank you for having an enjoyable show and look forward to watching for years to come.

Sincerely,
Blaid Butler
Blaid,

What a terrific suggestion. I can’t promise I will do this every time, but I’ll make a point of bringing this up when appropriate.

John McElroy
2-27-2015

Hello John,

I just got around to watching last week's Autoline After Hours with Oliver Schmidt. As we discussed after your first episode with him, having him back was a must do.

Excellent all the way around and maybe you can Skype with him later in the year once he is back in Germany. I bet his perspective after a few months at VWHQ might produce some very interesting comments.

Thanks,
John Faulkner
John,

We’re glad you enjoyed that show. We like your suggestion of Skyping Oliver in once he’s back in Germany, but we get the feeling he’ll be working on top secret projects and may not make him available.

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

Like I said in one of your previous shows, the way to the future will be fuel-cells. Norway has put in a hydrogen infrastructure, and now you hear that the Japanese companies are building their own hydrogen fueling stations. I give great credit to the automobile industry for forging ahead on their own when it comes to the age of new propulsion. Hopefully, it will be their vision and tenacity that saves our environment and planet.

Jim Thykeson
Venice, FL
2-27-2015

Hi John:

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the return of Oliver Schmidt to the AAH studio last night. He’s obviously a very knowledgeable guy who has strong opinions and a great dry sense of humour. And, as a bonus, he sticks around for the entire program. Invite him back anytime!

Regards,
Steve Read
Steve,

Oliver is one of our favorites and we’re glad you see it that way too!

McElroy
2-27-2015

Will TowerSec's software prevent Tuners from modifying a cars ECU to get more horsepower?

Ben
No. Towersecs’s software identifies software commands that are illogical or dangerous, such as unlocking the doors while driving down the highway, and prevents them from happening.

McElroy
2-27-2015

Poaching generally IS legal, you're thinking of the inverse... where companies agree not to take each others' employees, which is salary fixing; GOOG and AAPL just settled a lawsuit about that.

If poaching was illegal... people wouldn't ever get better jobs.

Noah Rogers
2-27-2015

Hi John,

I was seeing on your Autoline website many SEAT TIME. Have anybody confused this with Spanish car company Seat? It could be send a bad message. Have you ever driven a Seat before?

Marion Kershavelin
Marion,

So far no one has mentioned to us that they’ve confused our Seat Time with SEAT. But thanks for pointing that out, we hadn’t considered that!

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

I heard your comments on the radio about the amount of cash that GM has.

GM is now doing well. To be fair to the American people, why doesn't GM agree to pay back the $250 billion in debt that GM walked away from in the bankruptcy?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think GM had $250 billion in debt before the bankruptcy that it didn't pay (because of the bankruptcy). For the most part, this was money GM owed to its fellow Americans. It's nearly $1000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. GM bonds were supposed to be safe debt. It was in American's pension plans, 401Ks, etc. When GM didn't pay what it owed, Americans became poorer. The amount lost was spread around so it was difficult to see, but it was a lot and it seems it mainly came from Americans.

Essentially, everyone in the U.S. paid GM's "mortgage". For all the people in the U.S. who are poorer because of GM, and who are still paying their mortgages, shouldn't GM do what's right and voluntarily agree to pay back what it owned? GM just paid record profit sharing to the GM employees who did such a bad job that GM went bankrupt, and, as you said on the radio, GM had substantial cash on hand.

Shouldn't GM pay back what they owe to their fellow Americans?

If I have misunderstood something, I would appreciate knowing what I have misunderstood.

Jeff Dulzo
Well your numbers are off. GM’s net debt was $90 billion when it filed for Chapter 11. The US government provided $50 billion to get it back on its feet, and took GM stock in return. The government sold that stock for about $27 a share. Today it’s trading at $37. In the end the government lost $10 billion on GM and Chrysler.

Had GM been allowed to go out of business, the bill for the American tax payer in the form of unemployment checks and economic damage would have surpassed the money the government put into GM. CAR estimates the government could have lost up to $100 billion.

Nobody likes bankruptcy but Chapter 11 was written specifically to help companies restructure and get back on their feet to preserve all the jobs of those who work at the company and all those suppliers who depend on it.

McElroy
2-27-2015

John,

In addition to all the TV/radio broadcast signals, Wi-Fi signals, radar speed-checking, RFID tracking, store exit security scans, cell tower signals, and traffic-light control transponders in emergency/transit vehicles in our lives, more and more vehicles are now coming with their own laser and/or radar energy perimeters -- in front, in back, and lanes on both sides.

Is ANYBODY -- SAE, FCC, DOT, NTSA, or U.S. Consumer Protection Agency -- monitoring all the vehicular-based systems and electronic emissions for the long-term safety of occupants and nearby humans/animals?

I don't wear a tinfoil hat, I don't believe the earth is flat, nor have any Martians ever taken me aboard for probing, but I'd rather learn about any new and true hazards real-time, rather than decades later when a new detrimental public health phenomenon makes itself known.

PSN
Pete,

That is a great question, and you’ve stumped us. We’ll have to look into this.

McElroy
Hi John,

Hyundai was involved in building medium trucks in the U.S. recently in a joint venture with Detroit Diesel and International. The trucks were called BERING and they were built in Front Royal, VA

Hyundai provided the cabs and interiors while Detroit Diesel supplied the engines. I think International supplied the frames. I also think there was another major manufacturer involved in the venture, but, I don't know who it is.

I would be interested to know what happened to them. They seemed to quietly disappear as quickly as they appeared.

Thanks.
jerrym3
Jerry,

Thanks so much for this report. We had not heard about Bering, or forgot all about it.

Here’s what Wikipedia says what happened: “Bering was forced to cease operations in 2001 after its sole supplier entered into a relationship with Daimler-Chrysler and terminated the Bering agreements. Litigation ensued, in an international arbitration between Bering and Hyundai, the arbitration panel found (in 2004) that Hyundai had breached its agreements with Bering in bad faith. A Federal anti-trust case filed by Bering against Hyundai and Daimler-Chrysler was settled out of court in 2006.”

McElroy
2-16-2015

Haha laugh at all the shareholders who have received maybe a 10 percent return in half a decade. Laugh at lonely Harry Wilson who wants to go to the GM board and represent, shock of shocks, shareholders--for which there are currently NONE. Nevermind that he brings 30,000 of his own personal shares as well as represents 3% of the company. Nevermind GM frittered away 700 million a year towards absurdly high interest convertible notes to the UAW --who by the way we're able to front run the so-called $4 I buy back, which no ordinary shareholder was allowed to tender. Nevermind a grand failure with Peugeot. Nevermind the grand failure in Russia. Nevermind the grand failure in Europe. Nevermind the Caddy flop. And, in the end, who's 25 billion is it sitting there on the balance sheet? Not the US government's. Obviously not any of yours.

happygolucky
2-16-2015

Hi John,

I'm in Japan and always looking forward to your latest program. I can study about latest news of American auto industries by your excellent programs. By the way, I watched Clever Loading & Unloading Solution, I remembered some kind of equipment by Japanese auto maker. And I want to introduce it to you. Please check these videos. And you will be interested in it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzyQ3BNZ95A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSBFcRbV0EE
The hidden step like a Ninja-house!

This equipment can drive without foots, only hand operation.

Ninja step and robot chair! It is suitable for person who has handi-capped legs, elderly person. And also, it is good for the person who wearing a Japanese traditional "Kimono".

Electric lifter for wheelchair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5blkYP--38
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJenSmqIts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOoB_a0UE2Y
Easy loading for wheelchair with retractable slope and electric winch.

These equipments are produced by Autech Japan Inc,. It is Nissan's subsidiary. Sorry for my poor English, but I want to introduce these good Japanese products for American people.

Regards.
Sam
2-16-2015

John,

Ramblings from the North American International auto show. It was, as always, exciting to see the auto show. Few observations our group made when walking through. It was the year of the Halo car, and the truck market is booming with terrific product. The big disappointments - BMW. For a premium brand their paint should not exhibit orange peel. They displayed some of the worst paint jobs of any manufacturer. Audi - It is the North American International Auto Show, stop displaying European only models. What can I get here? The 3D printer and manufacturing display was very cool. Putting together an electric buggy is perhaps the most significant display of manufacturing tech at this show. We saw a significant number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are on the market. More so than gas/electric hybrids. With the NSX now a reality and Volt coming into their second generation, could we see in 2017 a large sedan powered by a combination of battery and fuel cell? Imagine a full size pick up with a range of 350 miles getting 40 MPG. Or the family grocery getter getting 60 - 70 MPG. With a pump price of $3.50-$4.00/gallon that would be the next best thing in vehicle propulsion. Could home refueling be far behind? The things that make you go hmmm.

David Sprowl
2-16-2015

Hi John,

Here is a thought regarding the recent CR report on customer satisfaction with automotive repairs at dealerships vs. independents.

I would expect the satisfaction ratings to be higher for the independents, in fact, I am surprised that they were not even higher.

Why? Because dealerships are where people take their cars for a significant number of repairs they can't get completed anywhere else. The best example of this is recalls. People get upset because they have to wait for parts to come in and they have to wait for their scheduled appointment day to arrive. People want things instantaneously these days.

Independents mostly concentrate on the high volume maintenance services like oil changes, rotations, brake jobs, alignments, etc. Everyone needs this stuff and parts are plentiful. When a customer needs something more significant like an engine rebuild, a transmission rebuild or replaced, or an intermittent snafu diagnosed, they take it to the dealer. The really tough ones always end up at the dealer where they have technicians that are highly trained in that brand of product. These repairs are often fairly expensive too.

For these reasons, I am not one bit surprised at the CR survey results.

GM Veteran
A Chevy Malibu going 140 mph? Makes us think of those urban legends from years ago when somebody would claim the factory accidentally put a racing engine in their car.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Dear John:

What percentage of people really use the technology they pay for? Is it just to say that they have it? Especially in luxury automobiles when it's not just leather, craftsmanship and refinement. Are they sold an idea or is it really important to them? As always, love the show, you and the crew are top shelf.

Mike from Philly
Good question. We hear that some luxury dealerships have a person assigned to helping customers pair their phones and enter their home address in the navi because so many can’t figure it out on their own.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Recall Mania. Can we please call this what it is, a money grab pure and simple. The camel got under the tent when Toyota merrily paid its 1.2 billion dollars for a problem NASA couldn’t determine existed. But they were foreigners even better, Asian foreigners, and they didn't want to rock the boat and we're happy to take their money and Detroit could use a shot in the arm. Well now the foreign shoe is on ALL feet. This is just Bank of America 2.0

happygolucky
2-16-2015

Just watched video on Chicago Auto Show and heard it say the refreshed RDX will have a 9 speed trans. Many others are reporting that it’s only a 6 speed.

Pete Klein
You’re right, Honda says the new NSX will have a 9-speed DCT of its own design.

McElroy
2-16-2015

Say John,

I was disappointed that Chris Reed wasn't on for the full show; get him back! It was so refreshing to hear someone in a position of authority who is so enthusiastic and clearly "one of us"; a product guy not afraid to talk about future product!

BTW, re: CVTs, first production one I know of was the DAF Daffodil. I'm guessing the Europeans had hippies a few years before us. -- LOL

Cheers,

Rick Bradner
Vancouver, B.C.
Chris was terrific, wasn’t he?

And you’ve got a great memory. I’m pretty sure you’re right that DAF was the first to market with a CVT, which I believe used rubber belts!

McElroy
2-16-2015

It's mistaken to think that Apple creating an electric car is a threat to Tesla. Apple offering an EV would add to EV adoption momentum. It is likely to be far more of a threat to conventional/traditional auto manufacturers.

Yes, $1 billion per new core vehicle platform is expensive but not much of a risk when Apple holds $178 billion in cash (and growing). Also, Apple has the brand name clout, technology credibility, and financial resources to create a charging infrastructure (particularly easier to install home, multifamily, high capacity DCFC, or wireless charging infrastructure) that can overcomes refueling concerns.

Demographics could also play a significant role. Younger generations of consumers trust Apple, admire the brand, and might be more open to adopt an Apple EV.

If they are pursuing EVs, an interesting question is whether Apple will need a first failure like the Newton (predecessor to the ipod) or Lisa (predecessor to the Mac) to learn from or will they hit a home run on the first product like the iPhone.

Dave Tuttle
Also, Apple now has full access to all of Tesla’s patents just in case they need them.

McElroy
2-16-2015

This GM board hustle by an administration operative is worst news to hear today. The 'restructuring' already stripped bond holders and transferred 35% of stock to China. I have not been able to verify the ownership of the recent 16% stock sale. If they control 51%, they can hustle this cash transfer. Not only will they control GM, they'll also take US capital.

This is part of a systematic dismantling of the US.

rwork
2-11-2015

Hello,

While Cadillac's Chief Engineer for ATS and -V vehicles, Tony Roma, said there wouldn't be all-wheel-drive for current ATS and CTS vehicles; one has to wonder how long will the current ATS/CTS be in production as Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said that Cadillac's upcoming cars will be smaller and cheaper as well as commenting on how Cadillac's upcoming flagship C6 will make usage of aluminum and despite being much larger than the CTS will still weigh about the same as the CTS which means that we can possibly see a new ATS and CTS in 2-3 years featuring aluminum construction and AWD because aluminum ATS/CTS could be as much as 400lbs lighter than current cars.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
2-11-2015

John,

What are those Autonomous cars I keep hearing all about? Can you explain what they are? I think automakers might be on to something here but I am not so much sure.

Marion Kershavelin
Autonomous cars can operate by themselves without the input from a human being. There already are numerous vehicles with semi-autonomous technology. You might want to type “autonomous cars” into the search bar at www.Autoline.tv and discover all the coverage we’ve already devoted to this technology.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Hi John,

You recently offered a very cogent and diplomatic theory about the VW sales plunge. Since I am not in the car business or the car journalism business I can be a bit more blunt.

I can’t believe how many people still buy VWs as they are simply not reliable enough beyond the warranty period. VW offers a more plush interior and European handling characteristics but that cannot compensate for the massively higher repair bills over the life of the vehicle. It is easy for Motor Trend to hand them the Car of the Year award but they won’t be stuck paying the mechanic 5-6 years down the road to replace parts that would easily last 15 years on other brands.

If VW was not catering to the Diesel niche they would probably not be around at all.

Mike Vorobej
Ottawa, Canada
2-11-2015

MISSING WIFE REPORT!

A husband went to police station to report his missing wife:

Husband : I’ve lost my wife, she went shopping yesterday and has still not come home.
Sergeant : What is her height?
Husband : Oh, 5 something . . .
Sergeant : Build?
Husband : Not slim, not really fat.
Sergeant : Color of eyes?
Husband : Never noticed.
Sergeant : Color of hair?
Husband : Changes according to season.
Sergeant : What was she wearing?
Husband : Dress/suit/blue jeans -- I don’t remember exactly.
Sergeant : Did she go in a car?
Husband : yes.
Sergeant : What kind of car was it?
Husband : 2015 Corvette Stingray LT3 with the Z51 Performance Package, shark gray metallic paint, with the 6.2 liter V8 engine with Direct Injection generating 460 HP. 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, and GT bucket seats, and has a very thin scratch on the front left door.
(at this point the husband started crying...)
Sergeant : Don't worry sir. We’ll find your car.
2-11-2015

John,

It seems the media only talks around VW's problem, like the residual value.

Why would it have a residual value problem? The blog buzz is reliability!

The Vdubs are attractive to me, but the word on the street makes one shy away. Tell them to return to that 100k mile warranty, which changed Hyundai's fortunes!

r work
2-11-2015

Hi John. Whenever you give sales figures, I hope Mazda is doing well. That doesn’t seem to be the case. They are engineered well, have gotten rave reviews and they are the second least recalled brand. That fact was on your show. Do they not advertise enough? Or are the folks out there just think of them as a “small” brand that would not have a big enough network of dealers. Could you shed some light?

Bob 65Daytona
One of the greatest mysteries of the automotive industry is why Mazda doesn’t enjoy greater sales success.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Dear John,

I recently watched your Autoline Daily video on the comparison between a VW Golf Lease and a Honda Civic EX-L. I think a better comparison would be the Jetta S to the Civic LX. Right now if I get on Autotrader I’m finding the Jetta S for $16,288 and Civic LX for $17,827 within 25 miles of my house. The only problem is that the Jetta S is just a price teaser and you would have a hard time getting your hands on one.

Although, I would agree with you. It’s laughable that VW is expecting to get more money out of their refreshed Golf VII in North America. I hate to make fun of my fellow Americans but we really have been sold on the idea that more is more.

If I were VW I would fast track the new crossover concept ASAP! Plus, they need a faster refresh rate. We typically get products released in Europe about two years late.

Best Regards,
Ted Hurst

My Garage:
2006 Jetta TDI DSG
2012 Jetta Sportwagen 6MT
You may want to compare monthly lease payments and how much money is due at signing. Or you can do the same with loan payments. We think you’ll see a bigger discrepancy between the VW and Honda than you do with their MSRP’s.

McElroy
2-11-2015

Hi Autoline,

Is the reason that car makers class their Crossovers as trucks is not because they want to boost truck sales (why would Audi care) but rather that regulations and perhaps emissions/mpg limits are lower for trucks so its just a way of selling a CUV/SUV with less regulations and therefore less investment. As long as trucks get an easy pass, car makers will try and shove some of their range into the Truck segment even if marketing/price/utility are aimed at non-truck buyers.

In terms of Truck sales - does Autoline think that R&D spend will drop as fuel prices drop. In fact it would be a useful Autoline episode on what the future is for alternative fuel vehicles as fuel prices remain historically low (even if the price goes up slightly). What future is there for Hydrogen/advanced hybrid? Truck buyers will want to show off their V8 even if a TDI V4 or V6. With electric sales remaining low, where will the investment in 'pumps' come from and also alternative part suppliers to make part supplies competitive.

Stephen

PS Porsche and Williams Motorsport Research have been doing flywheel research for years. The original 918 was designed with a flywheel in the passenger space. However the big issue was reducing the size of the flywheel as it needs to be well protected as discussed. Plus it sounds like having a gas turbine under your seat like some of the weird sounds from old CVTs.

However Flywheels could be a solution for commercial buses/trains etc where their braking energy is not all needed for air-brakes.
Automakers classify some of their passenger vehicles as trucks simply because they need to boost the overall fuel efficiency of their truck fleet. Or, they don’t want these vehicles to drag down the overall fuel efficiency their passenger car fleet. These vehicles do not get a break on emissions or safety regulations.

All automakers have to meet fuel economy regulations. And those regulations get tougher every single year. So we will not see any drop in R&D spending.

McElroy

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