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7-22-2014

John

I’ve enjoyed your site for years and particularly like AAH. Keep up the great auto journalism.

I have keenly followed the evolution of propulsion technology and wonder why diesels are still not making serious inroads in N.A.? VW diesels have become better-known for their new-found torque, cleanliness and as always, mileage, but still, not huge sales. Now, after a recent experience, I realize we’re really missing a good thing.

We were in France in April and rented a new Peugeot 208 clean direct-injection diesel sedan, 5-speed, a sub-compact size here that’s about the length of a Fit but closer to the width of a Civic. I’m not sure but I think it’s about a 1.8 litre engine. The car was a joy to drive, with well-bolstered seats, 17” wheels with 50-series rubber, and a steering wheel about the size of a Formula 1’s. It handled like it was on rails, pulled without fuss from just over 1000 rpm, and smooth gearbox delivered gobs of torque in a broad power range. There was no indication it was a diesel in terms of NVH. The biggest difference, compared to my Fit, was acceleration on the freeway from 100 km./hr. – it actually pushed you back in the seat. All of that, and a tank of combined town, country (lots of roundabouts!) and freeway driving delivered 55 mpg. Peugeot claims on their web site that it is capable of attaining 75 mpg (I guess driving a steady 45 mph, but still...). The fit and finish were as good as Toyota or Honda, interior materials were better than my Fit, and it felt super-tight. I would buy a 208 Peugeot diesel if they were sold here – I’m a long-time Honda driver - and I remember when Peugeot screwed up their North American sales with horrible service and lousy cars and left with their tail between their legs. Rumours say Peugeot may re-enter our market soon. If so, I hope they have locals take care of sales and service, because their current cars will sell themselves.

As background, about 50% of vehicles on the road in France are diesel, and at 1.4 Euros per litre, diesel is significantly cheaper than gasoline.

Why is North America still down on diesels? Is this perhaps the GM Diesel Disaster Effect? My suggestion to marketers of diesels, whatever their brand, is to emphasize that today’s diesels are PERFORMANCE engines – and they deliver mileage many hybrids still dream about, with none of the complexity.

Signed,
Islander800
You need to watch Autoline Daily more often. We’ve been reporting on the success that diesels are enjoying in the US market for at least a year. If you count the pick-up truck diesels, then diesels now outsell hybrids in the US market.

McElroy
7-22-2014

Hello, I know as the industry has started using forced induction to raise MPGs vs. power, manufactures seem to be favoring turbo chargers. Recently John has talked about new electric supercharges, but I am unsure how these new electric superchargers work. Toyota Previa vans back in the mid 90s were supercharged....sometimes. They had a supercharger on them but they had an electric clutch on them to engage the supercharger, very similar to an a/c clutch. This raised the MPG from 17 to 23mpg. I mean a 6 mpg increase from what seems to be so simple. I don't see any cars with turbos on them that get 6mpg better than the same car with the same engine, without a turbo. What gives? They had this available 20+ years ago!!!

Thanks,
Kurt Burton
You’re right, the 1995 Previa did get a supercharger to boost its 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine’s anemic performance. That probably allowed Toyota engineers to re-gear the vehicle (sorry we don’t have the actual specs at hand). But according to the EPA, the difference between the supercharged and naturally aspirated version was only one mile per gallon, not 6 mpg. The combined fuel economy numbers for the naturally aspirated one was officially rated at 17 mpg. The supercharged version was rated at 18 mpg.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I like the ELR .. it's a beautiful vehicle but Cadillac's pricing of the ELR was just boneheaded.. thinking that they can "go after Tesla" with a $75k ELR was just dumbfounding.

Remember when Johan de Nysschen called the Volt stupid years ago.. now he has a $75k restyled Volt... I wonder what he will do with it?

Regards,
Dave Tuttle
7-22-2014

John,

In an effort to attract new car buyers I hear the ad line "up to $4000 more for your trade". So does this mean that there is over $4000 dollars profit to the dealer on a new car? Doubtful. But they sure do not help themselves either. The other comment I have is the back house service. I recently returned a vehicle to a dealer. The A/C needed to be recharged. I had replaced the entire HVAC system in the vehicle. All I needed them to do was evacuate the old A/C charge vacuum test the system and refill. I even told the service writer what I did and what I needed them to do. Simple enough. Only when I get the bill they told me that it was low on charge and would not take any freon. No Kidding. Did you vacuum the system? Was it tested for leaks? No all the tech did was hook up his gauges and found the system not to be working. Funny thing is when I got a hold of the same equipment the A/C works fine. Guess where I'll never take my vehicle to get serviced?

David Sprowl
7-22-2014

Hi John,

I have been hearing you on the radio and watching you on TV since I came to this country in the mid-80s. I value your opinion and input related to vehicle safety mainly. In this regard, I would like to point out a safety issue with my two year old Toyota Avalon (2012). The few months after I bought it, I was going to have major accidents just because I couldn’t see the cars coming toward me from my right side. I then realized that the obstacle is the front window right frame in combination with the right mirror blocks a great deal of view. From that time on, I started been very careful, moving my head back and forth before making a decision when driving since I don’t want to miss the car hidden in that obstacle.

I’m sure this is true for some other cars, especially when the window frames and the mirrors are getting bulkier.

I hope you can tackle this issue since you have a great public platform in this regard. And if you want to see my car, it is parked in the parking lot adjacent to your parking lot. We are neighbors.

Thank you so much for all your insights on the automotive industry. We have learned a great deal from you throughout the years.

My Highest Regards,

Buthayna Taha
Hello neighbor,

This is a problem with many cars. The regulations to protect car occupants in roll-over accidents resulted in very thick A-pillars, the industry term for that part of the window frame. And those thick pillars can create the problem that you encountered—they can block your view. The solution is to use ultra-high strength steel to make those A-pillars thinner. Most new car designs are now using this type of steel.

McElroy
7-22-2014

On ZEV credits, if those numbers are accurate, I'd expect manufacturers to simply choose to fail to comply and pay the fine. California though, is full of wonderful stuff like this. We only had ONE bidder on the high-speed rail project, and CA had a retroactive $10,000 tax on the wealthy. So while I'm personally not against these trains or taxes, having just a single bidder on a gov't project spells corruption, and surprise taxes on previous years' salaries seem immoral. Likewise, ZEV seems to benefit Tesla alone; there is a lack of mathematics in these carbon laws. /rant

Noah Rogers
7-22-2014

I have a hunch why cars like Camaro’s with brighter colors have a higher resale values is because younger folks buy them as used cars and they are more interested in the flashy colors than the older more conservative original owners.

Phil Jarone
7-22-2014

John,

I just saw a story on the air quality in New Delhi. Did you know it is more than twice as bad as Beijing's, yet they don't have nearly the same amount of industrialization? This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Does the car driving populous there rival that of Beijing?

Thanks,
Michael J. Brown
No, India has far fewer motorized vehicles than China. New Delhi has far fewer than Beijing. That Indian pollution does not just come from cars.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I wanted to congratulate you on the excellent Autoline After Hours from last Thursday with guest Oliver Schmidt. His expert knowledge was educational and was equaled by his ability to clearly explain diesel technology, all the while not being a VW/Audi/Porsche cheerleader.

Have a great Summer!
John Faulkner
John,

We agree, Oliver was a great guest. And there's a lot of good information in that show.

John McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

Another great show, thank you.

I love the way we in Michigan are once again building cars, taking names and making lemons into lemonade.

Sincerely,
Eric W. Everson, Sr.
7-22-2014

Hey there, John.

I know you no longer do the "Lift the Pen" segment, but if you did, I think the 2015 Mustang may have made a good study.

I was working with a 3D model of this car and noticed what I already knew to be true. There just seems to be way too many folds, lines and creases in this sheet metal! I had posted to your AD blog in the previous weeks about my preference for the Dodge Challenger over the other two Pony cars due solely to its simplistic and straight-forward design.

This Mustang design language (as with most of them, to me) just seems a bit confusing and convoluted.

mB
Michael,

Thanks for your observation on the Mustang. Next time I get a chance to see one “in the flesh” I’ll pay closer attention.

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

I look forward to watching Autoline Daily each week. Your insights and auto industry news is always interesting and informative. I'm always interested in new technologies and concepts, especially if it's actually released to the public. At face value Elio Motors looks very promising. In fact, I was considering purchasing an Elio, that is until I read the reservation agreement. Now it looks more like pie in the sky or a scam. Elio Motors is picking up speed on the Internet as people seem to have a lot of interest. If the car is real, I'd love for Autoline Daily to do a test drive on the vehicle.

Mitchell Brown
Mitchell,

I would not make a down payment or “reservation payment” until I saw these cars in production and out on the road. Elio Motors has a good looking vehicle and the company could turn out to be quite legit, but it is very hard to break into the market with this kind of vehicle. Many others have failed, so let them prove themselves before you take that leap.

Also, I’m highly skeptical of their 5-star crash rating claim. Even with the best of intentions that is very difficult to achieve.

That said, I wish Elio Motors great success and I hope they make it!

McElroy
7-22-2014

John,

It seems incredulous to me that there is this much buzz around autonomous cars. We have recalls in the millions! How can anyone reasonably believe there won't be massive recalls with autonomous cars? Whose fault will it be if there is a death(s) involved? I see recalls abound and excessive litigation! Am I in the minority?

Larry
Of course there will be recalls with autonomous cars. And accidents and fatalities, too. And massive litigation. But guess what? We have all that now anyway. Though autonomous cars will not be perfect, they could reduce traffic fatalities by 20,000 lives a year, and prevent over a million people from going to the hospital. So what are we waiting for?

McElroy
6-17-2014

This is more of a tip off than viewer mail, but I didn't know where else to send this.

I know you guys love Easter Eggs on new cars, like in your recent episode of After Hours with the Jeep Renegade, and I just wanted to let you in on one for the new Mustang. It's on the underside of the hood after you remove the hood blanket, stamped into the hood inner panel. Hopefully you get a chance to see this when you finally get to test drive one.

Josh
6-17-2014

In RE Auto Racing

I agree completely in re: to the incessant blah, blah, blah and the ads, an asterisk! I know the networks pay a lot of money to NASCAR but I'm pretty sure they're not doing it for free!

Here's how it went:

*the TV was on. I was in the garage doing several "useful" things to one of my cars. I walked by the TV a few times to see if there was anything interesting like door to door or wheel to wheel racing by there was mostly "riding". By the time I finished the first set of duties the Indy race was in it's final throws (about 25 laps to go) and I watch an excellent finish.

More "tasks" in the garage, a snack and by golly, it was 35 laps to go and another excellent finish.

Like you, I couldn't see the final finishing order and the race picture was cut down to about a third of the screen because the positions and the adds took up two thirds of the screen as I recall.

If I didn't have "tasks" to do, the constant drone of the.... announcers would afford me an excellent nap, waking up just in time for the finish!

Maybe several 75 lap races might spice up the racing a bit?!

Phil aka "jaded"
6-17-2014

I heard your rant about motosports coverage on both Autoline Daily and Autoline After Hours and have a comment and a correction:

First: I have long-ago stopped watching NASCAR except for the road races. But it's mostly because of the boring nature of the racing and that there are too damned many commercials. Various people online claim there are 33% commercials.

Sadly, some of that seem to be seeping into IMSA racing as well, since it was acquired by NASCAR.

Second: I hesitate to criticize Indycar coverage because it is so much better in production values and commentary than it used to be just a few years ago. On the ABC telecasts, Allen Bestwick has been a revelation, not so much because of what he says as for what he has been able to get from Eddie Cheever. He's making me rethink all the nasty things I have said about him in the past.

As for the broadcasts, yes I would have done without the "Wife and Girlfriend" split screen shots at the end of the race. But "ruined" is a strong word. Overall, I thought the 500 telecast was an improvement. Not perfect, but if you were watching, they kept you informed and interested.

Third: I wanted to point out a couple of things about the F1 team on NBC and NBCSN, which is clearly the best commentary group.

Leigh Diffey is NOT a Brit. He's Australian by birth and an American by Citizenship.

Of course you must know that David Hobbs' main job is ownership of David Hobbs Honda in Milwaukee, which he acquitted in 1986. And he is a member of the American Motorsports Hall of Fame. He might even be an Autoline listener.

I think Diffey, Steve Matchett and Hobbs do a great job. As does Bob Varsha, who fills in on Indycar and F1 broadcasts when Diffey has a conflict.

Ed Joras
6-17-2014

John,

Comments about the future use of aluminum were interesting, but one question. Since the F-150 is the biggest selling vehicle - car or truck - how do the Ford sales figures impact the percentages that have been forecast. In other words, if no more aluminum were used by anyone other than Ford, would the forecast percentages really be that much smaller?

Thanks,
Rupasaurus
Oof, tough question. We don’t have that kind of granular detail.

McElroy
6-17-2014

Flying Cars it’s very simple

1. Flying cars are easy: helicopters. They do everything you think a "flying car" should do...except what? They bigger than 8.5ft wide?

2. Lane width is the limit, air isn't very dense so the bigger the better, we want aircraft to be of very low density, with wide wingspans.

3. Licensing? Just two, DMV and FAA.

4. The chassis of a car and aircraft aren't too different. If you allow several hundred pounds "extra" weight in folding wings.... and realize that on an aircraft that you do NOT want windows, then know you need bigger brakes and tires, which will make the plane part a bit worse. The big difference is crashing, crash structures on cars are up to 1/3rd the weight, if not directly, then because you have to compromise the chassis to make things removable, which cuts big holes in what could otherwise be a nice teardrop shape with very high shear strength.

5. So with point 4 taken into account, flying cars would be easy, except that legally, you'd have to drive to the airport in a kind of bad car, then take off in what is a bad plane, so for people that want +10k in avionics, and +15k in wings and props, then they just buy a used plane to keep at said airport. Faster is better, but flying a flight plan isn't any more fun than driving an interstate. Unless you want to be extra-legal and take the back roads or do some loops. ;)

p.s. Taxi protest was huge publicity for Uber and they logged lots new clients.

p.p.s. America will be 50+% electric in 20 years even without mandates. Either nuclear/electric or the far more expensive solar option. Before you get annoyed with the word nuclear, a typical worker in a nuclear plant gets about as much radiation per day as he would in a fraction of a second of tanning on a temperate beach. The economics of nuclear power and EV cars absolutely destroy what we have now. Lithium is actually dirt-cheap in scale, and Tesla will be the first Li producer in scale, increasing global production tens of thousands of percent. Although there was almost no demand previously, you can literally shovel it off the ground and purifying it is not intensive either in power, labor, or investment. Batteries and motors are FAR simpler than any alternative in terms of parts and materials. The Focus/Corolla could cost 20% less...... That says it all. A few obsolescence cycles in, and any major OEM could switch to electric vehicles. The slowness is just paying off debts/machinery, wrapping up investments, and finishing obsolescence cycles. Its not nearly as big of a manufacturing leap as horse to car, and that happened quite quick.

Noah Rogers
6-17-2014

Hi John,

I own a 2006 Cobalt. It is sitting at the dealership. GM is currently paying me to drive a brand new Camaro. I've been driving this for about 3 months now. Chevy has offered $500 towards a trade in. Yet they have spent thousands on the rental! If they would've offered a couple thousand towards a trade I would have jumped all over that! I don't understand their logic. Given they don't think they'll finish the recall until October sometime, offering up a good incentive could save them thousands. Do you think that would be a good idea or am I just being greedy?

Larry
First off, why is it taking them 3 months to fix your car? But secondly, what a great point you make. As long as they’re spending that much money, why not use more of it to get people like you to buy a new car?

McElroy
6-17-2014

This is too incredible to be real.... but it is! So I bring in my Cobalt for the ignition switch recall 3 months ago and they give me a brand new Camaro rental car (from Enterprise) which just got an ignition switch recall! Wow!

Larry
Dude, don't come near me!

John McElroy
6-17-2014

Mr. McElroy,

I really enjoy your show and podcast. The other day, you mentioned that Uber had IPO'd. However, they did not IPO, they only did a round of financing. They are still private, and pre-IPO.

Keep up the great work with your enthusiastic coverage of the automotive news.

Sincerely,
Thomas Scott
Thanks for that correction, much appreciated.

McElroy
6-11-2014

With so many cities having problems with potholes on their streets, it is a challenge to avoid them with a regular 4 wheel car. With the DeltaWing having such a narrow front track and a wide rear track, it will be impossible to miss the potholes.

Ralph Norek
Good point.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hello John and Crew,

As always, I enjoy the show. GM has a real problem with this mega major recall, not only monetarily, and legally, but customer faith. For example: my cousin, who is a senior, receives her recall notification for her beloved Cobalt, it’s never given her a problem, so this is her first experience with a GM service department. She's told by the Tech he can't do the work because her battery isn't "sufficient", (the car has started all winter without incident).

So the free solution now cost her $129. Rather than buy a GM battery she gets in her rental and purchase a Sears replacement. She's happy to have her "baby" back but the experience with, what she perceived to be an (unscrupulous) GM representative has soured her with the whole company. And this is what General Motors has to be concerned about going forward. Customer loyalty.

Mike from Philly
Sad to hear. GM seems to be doing well in customer satisfaction in other areas, but when you sour a customer there’s no excuse. We’ll run your letter, so hopefully the right people will read it.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hi John,

Without needing to see the dash, I wonder if our autonomous drivers will know when to turn on their lights? I encounter more and more cars at night not using their headlights! I know most of the time it’s the backlit IP’s making drivers think their lights are on. It’s dangerous! With all the mandates, cameras, sensors, airbags, etc., you’d think makers could figure this one out!

In my ’67 Bronco, I KNOW when my lights are on. My newer Lexus with always-on dash and “safety” daytime running lights … not so much!

Barry Thiessen
Malibu, CA
Interesting observation. With backlit electronic gauges becoming more popular it’s easy to see how some people may not realize that their headlights are not on. On the other hand, more and more cars are coming equipped with an “automatic” setting for the headlamps that turns them on at dusk. Maybe “automatic” headlamps as standard equipment would solve the problem. For those who hate the idea, you can always turn off the “automatic” setting.

McElroy
6-11-2014

I think I know why Jeep is doing the Easter egg thing. There's just so much you can do with a lump of metal and 4 wheels. These days, all cars look alike. Without a badge, it's difficult to tell a Subaru from an Audi from a Hyundai from an Acura from a . . .

Since the big design features are all looking the same, they have to go to the little ones to find a place to differentiate their look. Pretty cool, though.

Ken Silva
Laveen, AZ
6-11-2014

So, this bombshell that was just dropped about Automobile magazine, where does that leave all of us long-time subscribers? Will TEN offer money back for the unused balance? Print is the only way I enjoy reading...I stare at a computer all day, at work. Why would I want to do the same at home?

It's a real shame this has happened. Automobile writing had a wonderful mix that included a great deal of humor....not only was it informative, but it was also entertaining. Very few other magazines had this level of creativity in their writing.

Ernie K
6-11-2014

Ok I turned in my lease on the 2 door Cadillac CTS coupe... Looked at a bunch of Subaru's, looked at the Lexus RX350 and also the Infiniti G50...The Infiniti came close to what I wanted but at $440 a month the lease was another 70 bucks.

I drive more now, needed 18,000 miles instead of 15,000...So I was in a pickle John. Wanted luxury, better fuel economy and some speed and there was nothing $370 a month in the luxury segment. I mean it was TUMBLEweeds.................!!!

I needed something ASAP...I was stuck. I was an automotive lover that couldn't find a car he liked at a price he liked!

One random Friday 2 weeks ago I had off and my friend needed me to pick her up she was getting her older 2008 white VW EOS a new ignition coil and needed a ride home until they fixed it. I saw the 2014 Jetta...I snubbed my nose then starting reading some stuff on the sticker like a new 1.8 litter Turbo motor and I looked under the car and saw OMG they put in an independent rear suspension now in 2014 instead of the cheapened beam axel! So I said lets try it and I took it out and it even had this exotic technology called a manual transmission! A damn good 5 speed at that with a buttery smooth shift action and a light clutch. I hit the gas not expecting much and Vrrroooom it took off like really well...Checked the statistics online and found out it goes 0-60 in about 7.3 seconds with the manual.

Then saw the gas mileage 26 city 36 highway!

The dealer didn't have an upper SE trim level though with a sunroof I wanted and they only had 1 white one with a manual and I hate white! I looked on the interweb found a reflex Silver one with the SE package and a sunroof and connectivity from another dealer in north New Jersey an hour away. I went there that weekend and drove it found the leather steering wheel was a lot nicer and leatherette seats nicer and the sunroof and alloy wheels nicer and I leased it!

Payment $246 a month now instead of $370 with 18,000 miles a year now...The car's MSRP was only $23,000 at the end of the lease I can buy it for 10 grand on the dot!

This is why VW is not selling...If I had not driven the car on a whim by accident I would have NEVER known how much they updated them for 2014 and I am a car enthusiast!!

Herein lies the problem...Marketing...!!!!

I had to drive the car by accident to buy it! VW Das Auto Cognitive Dissonance I called it!

I love my new car and it turns, stops and goes well and I was getting 40MPG going to work the other day!

More Americans need to know this John.... Why is VW's high command not screaming the old 2.5 litter i5 Weinerschnitzel mobile now has a turbo without stepping up to the GLI!! Why don't they put independent rear suspension on a Super Bowl add instead of Darth Vader’s baby boy?

DAS Auto better DAS MARKET!!!

Until you drive one you will never know how close the things are to an Audi A4 from a few years ago only better...

Don from NJ
Don,

Great story, thanks for sharing with us, and into Viewer Mail it goes, so the VW Marketing folks can read it, too.

McElroy
6-11-2014

Hi John,

I am an avid viewer of your shows, I was reading your viewer mail section and was intrigued by the correspondences regarding “Channel Stuffing.” I am not saying I believe the theory but would like to hear your view on the Google maps showing all the cars parked in various locations mentioned in the article.

Wayne
Wayne,

In this age of Photoshop, I don’t trust many of these photos as being real. Some of them made me laugh out loud. Some are obviously taken just outside of an assembly plant. Remember, the typical assembly plant makes about 1,000 cars a day. If there’s a trucker’s strike or some kind of disruption that lasts a few days, they can quickly have thousands of cars parked all over the place. That doesn’t mean that people are not buying new cars, that just means there’s a bottleneck in the shipping. Same goes for seaports. Those ships can carry 2,000 cars at a time, so a port can easily have thousands of cars parked everywhere. The channel stuffing conspiracy-mongers are using these photos to spin them into another urban legend.

McElroy
6-11-2014

GREAT couple of shows on tires, specs, maintenance, wear, and replacement.

How bout fitting in some on the widely divergent (and frequently incompatible) specs for various vehicle fluids such as:

A/C coolant
Power steering fluid (for those not yet electric)
Engine block cooling/antifreeze liquids
Transmission fluid
Transmission coolant (whenever separate from core transmission fluid -- if those set-ups still exist)
Engine lubrication oil (and multi-grading)
Brake fluid

Perhaps something at the same time on which can or can't be ever be used with steel/rubber/aluminum/plastic components, without deterioration of fluid and damage to parts.

And maybe even something on those which are hydrophilic and subject to significant deterioration from time and humidity -- even when and especially when vehicle is unused.

John, over the last few months you've been a bit too much of a Detroit cheerleader, and a bit less competent as an impartial analyst and commentator on the world of vehicular design, manufacturing, and sales. And get OFF of poor NHTSA.

Pete Nicholas
6-11-2014

Hello John,

I love your show and tune in to watch your show anytime I get. I've been watching your show now for over a decade and you have a lot of insight on what is going on in the automotive industry. There are a couple of shows that you hinted at the issue I'm about to discuss. And the issue is Young People Don't Care About Cars.

I'm a Gen X'er and an avid auto enthusiast, but as the years go by, my love for cars are going down. It's even worse for Gen Y'ers, who care more about when the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphones are coming out. I feel the auto industry all but abandoned the youth market. Granted, the Baby Boomer generation has been the main consumer (80% sales) for decades, so naturally the auto industry is going to market their vehicles to the demographic that buys their cars the most. But I think this is a huge mistake by corporations, which will end up biting them on the rear end. Speaking as a Generation X'er, I think the auto industry has completely abandoned me and introduced vehicles that are geared towards people with an expendable income (Baby Boomers). A good example of this is how everything is going upmarket (Near Luxury), even compact cars. I remember when I could buy an economy car for $12,000. Now most of them start at $18,000, because of all the features they keep on adding. This is why the only options for a young person for transportation is a) Used Vehicles b) Car Sharing: Zip Car c) Public Transportation or d) Bicycles.

The auto industry isn't paying attention to what Gen X, Y and Z are doing. This scares me because Baby Boomers have a decade or so of driving left and they don't have a demographic to take over for the Boomers. The auto industry was counting on my generation to get married and have children, which guaranteed new car sale, but we’re not marrying or having children. I have a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 for over 12 years now and because of my student loans I can't see myself owning a new car in the near or foreseeable future. There are 100's of millions of people in my age bracket that are in my situation. You really need to do a show on this topic: Youths Automotive Apathy. It's really important that you address this because hardly anyone is. Thank you and keep up the good work!

Best Regards,

Neillssen Hines
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Neillssen,

Great feedback and good insights. We’re going to publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that others in the auto industry can ready it, and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Best,
McElroy
6-11-2014

I am not contesting the fact points of the GM ignition switch recall case, but I question a Congress that so vehemently attacks GM for a safety defect that cost 13 lives, yet turns a blind eye to the drug companies like Merck & Pfizer, when drugs like Vioxx & Celebrex have killed significantly more people, yet Vioxx and Celebrex are still on the market.

Readily available on-line:

"In the initial estimates provided by the FDA, 27,785 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths between 1999 and 2003 were attributed to Vioxx. Dr. Graham has provided these estimates in subsequent statements and since then most analysts have put worldwide deaths to be somewhere in the range of 150,000 to 200,000."

The auto industry validates its product to a much higher level of rigor than the drug companies.

Do the watchdog agencies keep track of how much money Big Pharma spends on lobbying vs. what the Auto Industry spends on Lobbying?

Just questioning the unbalanced attention this is receiving.

Jim Waters
6-5-2014

Hi John and team,

I heard you mention GM's "Ergo Chair" on Autoline Daily episode 1377. I used to work with Toyota and I think Toyota pre-dated GM on this concept by several years. I remember seeing this several years ago as part of a Toyota Production System training video. I looked online to see if I could find the exact video; it was an ergo chair designed for workers to install some trim pieces to the rockers of the previous generation Camry SE. The closest video I could find was this one: around the 7 minute mark.

I know the episode was a while ago, but listening to after hours (Toyota Camry guy) reminded me to let you know this information.

Jeremy Jones
You're right, GM was not the first to do this. In fact I've seen video of the Ford Model T plant that had the precursor to that chair in 1913.

McElroy
6-5-2014

John,

I looked up the Frankfurt Auto show dates for 2015, from Sept 17 - 27th. Are the press days before that or during? Would like to plan it out so I can be there for the public showing. Thought I ask you, I can't find anything on the net.

Espo
You’re right, they have not officially published the press days for the 2015 Frankfurt show. But almost for sure they would fall on September 15 and 16.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Hi John,

I don't know if I should be gratified or not at today's mention of a possible recall of GM trucks made from 1999 to 2003 due to corroding brake lines. Back on March 10th I sent an email to your viewermail grumping about the corroded brake lines in my 2003 Chevy Avalanche. The NHTSA has an ongoing engineering analysis (EA11-001), a precursor to a recall, investigating brake line corrosion failures of "1999-2003 GM C/K pickup trucks and SUVs in Salt Belt states".

All of the other GM recalls are for issues that only sometimes create a hazardous situation. (Example: Sometimes a bad ignition switch only cuts off accessories and does not result in an engine stoppage.) Any and all failures of a corroded brake lines will create a hazardous situation. I was lucky because my Avalanche's failure occurred in a parking lot. I had to replace every steel brake line in the truck to make it safe to drive. I have been driving in what's considered the salt belt states for over 40 years in vehicles with more use and exposure to the elements than my Avalanche and have never had a failure of a metal brake line.

The corners that the old GM cut when building my truck and those countless other cars and trucks is unconscionable. I can only hope that the new GM does not hide behind the bankruptcy and fixes all these unsafe vehicles and reimburses those that had to pay out of pocket to make their vehicles safe.

Steve Naugler in Hockessin, DE
Steve,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention again. We can’t always get to every letter we receive due to the volume of mail we get. But clearly we should have paid more attention to your March 10 letter, especially since GM is recalling those trucks for the very issue you cited.

Respectfully,
John McElroy
6-5-2014

John:

I thought this might interest you. Looks like Mexico is the big winner these days.

Canadian auto sector stalled, RBC says #CTVNews

Regards,
Steve Read
6-5-2014

John,

Take a look.

What do you think?

David Sprowl
Man if you think that roads are expensive now, wait ‘till they start paving them with PV panels. I highly doubt this will catch on anytime soon.

McElroy
6-5-2014

John you mentioned how bad the TV coverage of Indy 500 (which I watched) and NASCAR 600 (I just can’t watch anymore) and I agree completely about the coverage, but you missed commenting on the other big race of the day the Monaco Grand Prix.

In Canada we get the BBC British coverage of F1 via TSN. So maybe you can get it in Detroit. It was a great race with incredible backdrops and in car camera and telemetry work. If you ever want to hear great motor sport coverage you have to download the BBC show.

1 hour of pre-race with Eddie Jordon and Martin Brundle and race coverage with David Coulthard and Allan McNish all with no commercials and not once did I hear Boogety Boogety Boogety.

Alex Barnett

Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Alex,

I simply did not mention the F1 coverage because I didn’t have the time to fit my time slot. I wish CBC in Windsor would carry the coverage you get. We get F1 coverage via NBC Sports, which uses David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Leigh Diffey for its coverage. They do a commendable job, but we still get quite a few of commercial interruptions and miss a lot of the action. NBC will run a postage-stamp sized screen of the race during some of its commercial breaks and pretend that the fans aren’t missing anything, but none of us hard-core viewers are fooled by that ploy.

Also, they feel the need to explain the qualifying procedure every single time, replete with the same graphics every single time. I don’t know of any other sports coverage where the rules of the game are explained at every single game. Why are motor sports fans the only ones who get dumbed down coverage? And why is it that in every other sport it is the pace of the sport that dictates when a commercial break comes, whereas motor racing is the only one where the sport is interrupted for a commercial break?

Very frustrated,
John McElroy
6-5-2014

John,

Thanks for speaking your mind about the current state of motorsports coverage – I couldn’t agree more, especially regarding the Indy coverage. I don’t know if clueless producers dumb-downed the Indy content to the “duh” factor or the bland announcers playing “Captains Obvious” were all they could afford, but it was pitiful. And NASCAR can drop the “good-old-boy” schtick and the over-the-top graphics packages where every commercial break has the leading driver mean-mugging us into a fast-food or male enhancement commercial.

You’re right about the current racing in NASCAR being great, but when people pine for the “back-in-the-day” racing they remembered in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I have to think they are really looking for how it was more fact-driven and racer oriented, including the coverage, rather than the over-blown yet simplistic presentation that alienates true fans of the sport. Nothing shows this more than when a network thinks it’s great paring the Waltrip brothers for hours of inane and repetitive coverage while releasing a real journalist like Dave Despain.

Thanks,

Mark B.
Waukesha, WI
6-5-2014

I agree totally with the lack of presentation in racing today. I think the TORC off-road series is well presented, with several shorter races across various classes, and commercials in between, plus the sport isn't as expensive to enter for new teams. Global (not world) RallyCross also gets the action right. I don't see why NASCAR couldn't break the day into say, four distinct racing classes with different cars and levels of technology, though I suppose that might cut into profits.

Noah Rogers
6-5-2014

John,

I always enjoy seeing your weekly video presentation of auto news. It keeps me informed about the industry news, new concepts, trends and an insight on your many years of experience in the industry. Keep up the great work.

My question...

With today's technology, diesel automobile engines are more efficient than gas powered. Why aren't fuel companies investing more into creating more diesel refineries to make diesel fuel less expensive? Is the price based more on purely "supply and demand" economics allowing them to charge much higher prices for diesel used for automobiles and heavy trucks?

Mitchell Brown
Mitchell,

Thanks for your support of Autoline!

Guess what? U.S. Refiners are increasing their output of diesel fuel. But they’re exporting more and more of it. In fact, the U.S. is now the Number 1 exporter of diesel fuel. Refiners make much more profit on diesel and have no incentive whatsoever to make diesel less expensive.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Autoline Exec of the year. I would say it’s a toss-up between Rupert Stadler – CEO of Audi or Matthias Müller – CEO Porsche.

All the best,
Bill Conn
Bill,

Great suggestions for the Autoline Executive of the Year, and I’ll share this with the Blue Ribbon panel.

McElroy
6-5-2014

Hi John,

I’ve been purchasing cars for quite a number of years and am disappointed in the color choices being offered these days by most manufacturers.

Take for instance Audi...Their choices are limited to less than a dozen, mostly dark shades. Of course there’s white. But I remember when they had pearl white...I had one.

No-one in the “Luxury” brands has a wide enough pallet of colors. Variety of greens, reds, blues.

I look at a parking lot and overwhelmingly see dull sameness.

As far as interiors are concerned, there seems to be a love of black...especially at Audi. The most inconvenient color. (Black isn’t a color).

By the way, I’ve had 8 of them since 1980, and seriously considering alternative brands because I can’t get the color I want in the model I choose.

Love your show...watch it daily.

Regards,
GK
6-5-2014

John,

So a few of us car guys were sitting around wondering why a wankel engine could not be mated to a Volt type drive train. Given the auto tech you had on a while back it would seem the simplicity of the wankel and its weight efficiencies would be a perfect improvement to a great drive system.

David Sprowl
A Wankel engine would be perfect for an ER-EV thanks to its inherent smoothness and small package space. But to tool up a Wankel would probably be prohibitively expensive for any company except Mazda. Instead, I think we’ll see OEM’s use downsized existing engines modified to run on an Atkinson cycle.

McElroy
5-22-2014

John,

Cadillac Paying Dealers $5K to Keep ELR Demo Cars. I thought they overpriced it. Too much money for a gussied up Volt!

Tim Beaumont
It may be a little early to write-off the Cadillac ELR, but with over 700 day’s supply it’s safe to say it’s dead in the water.

McElroy
5-22-2014

John,

I have been watching Autoline for many years now. Always love the content and the passion. Just watched the latest Autoline This Week. An idea has been buzzing around in my head for several months. I thought I would pose it to you.

In the past, when developing countries decided to give their people wheels, they all seemed to arrive at about the same formula: 1500 pounds, room for 4 people, cruising speed of 50 miles per hour, and 26 horsepower. The cars that mobilized their nations were Model T, 2CV, VW, Mini Minor, and Cinquecento.

Do you have any engineering friends that could do a proforma analysis of a modern design with the following characteristics?

1. Interior volume to accommodate 4 current day sized passengers with the same level of comfort and storage as the earlier designs above.

2. 600 cc, 2 or 3 cylinder, turbocharged engine.

3. Hydro-pneumatic or capacitor hybrid drive. (Only to capture braking energy for use for acceleration.)

4. Engine stop-start to eliminate idling.

5. 1500# weight. Steel intensive design.

For the moment, set safety standards aside only to get some sense of what the performance would be. The 600 cc engine should provide 20 to 30 horsepower for cruising and light acceleration, without use of any boost. With boost, and 70-80 horsepower, will 0 to 60 acceleration be 13 to 15 seconds? With boost and hybrid assist will 0 to 60 time drop to 10 seconds?

In EPA driving cycles, what would city and highway mileage be?

Robert Mikulec Sr.
I don’t have any engineering friends with that kind of free time, so we’re throwing this out to the rest of the Autoline universe. Anyone else care to comment on this idea (which is an intriguing idea, BTW).

Also, go back and look up the Chrysler CCV concept that incorporated a number of these ideas.

McElroy
5-22-2014

I had to smile at the discussion of heated arm rests and heated steering wheel. My first car was a 1967 Bug. In the cold New England winters, with an air-cooled engine and rusted heater boxes, I struggled just to keep the windshield ice down to a level that I could see out.

The technique was to sit on one hand long enough to gain some warmth in it, and press the other hand against the windshield to melt a little peep hole through the relentless ice build-up. Steering was accomplished with my knees. Switch hands frequently to avoid frostbite, and a trip from Amherst, MA to Burlington VT could be done. (Ain't young love amazing!)

Ken Silva
Phoenix, AZ (Not a coincidence that I retired to a hot climate.)
I remember seeing Bug drivers with ice scrapers inside the car, scraping away at the windshield as they drove down the road!

McElroy
5-22-2014

Hey John,

I was thinking about the comment you made about GM's concern with aftermarket made keys because the slotted keys allows more weight (via keys, chains, stuffed animals, small children, etc) to be added to the vehicle key and thus could cause the vehicle to shut down.

I think you were a bit off the mark. The smaller hole in the OEM key doesn't allow for less items to hang from the key (people can just hang the items from the split ring anyway) it's my guess that GM figured out that there will be less TORQUE applied to the lock mechanism. IF weight is hung from the center line of the key there is no rotational torque arm (at least in the direction that can turn the key in the off position) that the weight can work upon. However if the key slot is 1" wide there could be 8 in/lbs of torque applied (assuming I hang my bowling ball on my key chain at a 90deg angle) in the direction that could turn off the vehicle. Now go over railroad tracks and the impact loading can go up much higher due to the momentum of the bowling ball.

For what it's worth, that's my guess.

Thanks,
I.M. Buell
You just hit the nail on the head. You’re right, that’s exactly why they’re doing it this way.

McElroy
5-22-2014

John & Co,

I like listening to you guys, when I can, but this one subject keeps surfacing that you guys will not acknowledge. Channel Stuffing. Every chance you get, you hype the SAR rate, so how about equal time and maybe some fair reporting?

Chip Anderson
So Cal.
Oh please, this hogwash? You can’t seriously think that we’re going to waste our time on this kind of conspiracy scam. Not only is this story factually wrong, most of it is made up, and besides someone tried running this up the flagpole several years ago, and now they’re trying it again.

The only time we’ll spend talking about this topic is debunking it for what it really is: some poor misguided soul’s desperate cry for any kind of media attention.

McElroy
5-22-2014

Hi John,

I have listened to your comments on my commute to work on WWJ for many years and enjoy the insight. Growing up in a research lab there is constant emphasis on reducing the weight of the vehicle to improve fuel economy. It seems like we'll spend a lot of money to drop 2 lbs. on a vehicle yet it always fascinates me when I see people who carry their golf clubs around all winter. Or heavy tools or other heavy objects in their trunks or truck beds that they don't really need. What about those annoying bass speakers that the kids carry? Is there any kind of study ever done on the effect consumers can have on their own fuel economy just by dropping weight from their own vehicles? Heck, it may be just the extra incentive I need to drop that extra 10 lbs!

Daniel Perry
I’m not aware of any studies that show how much you can improve fuel economy by taking the junk out of the trunk. But that’s always been one of the tips on how to get the best fuel economy from your car.

McElroy
5-16-2014

Dear John,

You mentioned on your previous episode of Autoline After Hours #241 that when a company shuts down a brand, customers loyal to that brand typically do not stay with the brand they flock elsewhere. But do you not think when the Dodge Grand Caravan is discontinued in 2015 that Chrysler’s minivans sales will actually increase rather than decrease due to this decision?

Kireeti Ghanta
Chicago, IL
Kireeti,

We’ll have to see how it turns out. It’s possible that a lot of buyers considering the Dodge Caravan will turn instead to the Chrysler Town & Country. But the history of these things suggest that many of them will consider other minivans instead. I would not expect Town & Country sales to double just because the Caravan is going away.

McElroy
5-16-2014

Dear John McElroy:

Is there any truth to the information in this website or is it just conspiracy propaganda?

Ralph Norek
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Ralph,

This article is hilarious! Of course it is a scam, despite the authors denials.

A couple of points. He says that very few people are buying new cars and that’s why they’re piling up in the fields, ports and test tracks in these pictures. Just go ask any loan or finance company if nobody is buying cars, and of course they’ll tell you millions of people are.

Most importantly, if nobody was buying cars, the car companies would run out of money very quickly and would not be able to keep on buying new ones. They need the cash from sales to finance their ongoing business.

One of the pictures is clearly quite out of date, showing Dodge Durangos from 2008.

He says there are already 10 billion cars around the world, whereas in point of fact there are probably not even a billion.

I laughed out loud at some of his photos. They are ridiculous, and the giveaway is when he promises these are not Photoshopped. Of course they are.

McElroy
5-16-2014

Hi,

I'm a regular viewer of your YouTube channel. Thanks for all the insightful contents.

I'm writing about the relatively new small overlap crash test by IIHS. Although more and more cars are now designed for it and therefore are passing it, I noticed that Volvo's are the only ones that somewhat slide past the crash structure to dissipate kinetic energy. Even other vehicles that do well still stop dead when the firewall meets the crash structure. This has made me renew my respect for Volvo's dedication on safety (in the past decade, all cars have gotten so much safer that I thought Volvo's no longer have significant advantage to its peers). Could you please do a segment on this and hopefully have an interview with Volvo?

Thanks for your time.

Yours,
Jake Pond
Jake,

You ought to check out the Autoline After Hours that we did with Chuck Thomas from Honda. He explains that their strategy to meet the small overlap test is to have the vehicle rotate when it hits the barrier, because that dissipates energy. I believe that Honda’s vehicles do not stop dead when they hit the barrier in this test.

But I like your suggestion of getting someone from Volvo on the show to explain how they meet this test.

McElroy
5-16-2014

Hi John,

Great coverage on the FCA plan for the near future. I commented on it on Youtube but as the comment is so long and I'd like if maybe you can answer part of it today, I'm going to paste it here to increase its chances of being seen soon, haha. Sorry if you had already read it, or if it's too late for today anyway.

Sooo... here it is:

The whole plan looks really sensible to me. Is like following VW's path. Make more, more expensive cars. This, making better use of your premium brands (Audi, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep) and also moving your "bread-and-butter" marques more up market (like VW did).

But I'm somewhat confused as to how. Fiat has mostly failed in its recent attempts at selling bigger vehicles, like the Croma. And they just can't move away from cars like the Panda.

Will Fiat take over Lancia's role? Was there any news about Lancia? I'm sad to believe the brand is going to be axed, they made really good looking cars (like the Delta and Ypsilon). But if Fiat keeps the lower range and also this semi-premium range, it could sell Lancia-like cars all over the world.

My question is still how Fiat would appeal to more affluent buyers. Maybe the 500 is the key, as a "halo" sub-brand.

Fiat going up and at the same time Chrysler reaching lower, is perhaps mostly a way to make Fiat's range in the Rest of the World the same as Chrysler in the US, with the exception of the smaller models that might not come to the US.

Then if Dodge will center around "muscle cars", why is it keeping the Dart? Shouldn't that space be filled by a Chrysler?

Best regards,
Ramón Rivera Notario.
Ramon,

Some more details: Lancia will become an Italy-only brand. They’re giving up on trying to do anything else with it as they concentrate on reviving Alfa and Maserati.

The Fiat brand is not going to try and appeal to more affluent customers, but it will sell more CUV’s and SUV’s as these vehicles carry a higher price than sedans or hatchbacks.

Dodge will indeed become more of a performance brand, and we would expect the Dart become more performance oriented. Chrysler will get a model called the 100 built off the same platform as the Dart and probably built in the same plant. It seems that these days all brands need a small car in their lineup.

McElroy
5-16-2014

John,

Loving the show as usual, but had to comment on this one. You said the i3 has more aluminum than carbon!... Did you mean by weight? Do you see the irony there?

Noah
Noah,

Thanks for pointing that out. The “iron”-y went right over our heads!

McElroy
5-16-2014

Hi John,

Regarding your article about the current shift in demand between hybrid and diesels sales; and, Lexus’ new advertising campaign to deter diesel buyers, I am a real life example.

My wife and I were recently in the market for an SUV. After much research, comparing new and used vehicle offerings in the market, my search was narrowed down to a 2011 Lexus 450h and VW Touareg TDI. After spending some time running ALL the numbers, and a few hours behind the wheel on test drives; my wife and I agreed the Touareg was the better machine.

We quickly discovered we were not the only buyers to reach this conclusion. Finding a slightly used Touareg for the right price is extremely difficult. Due to the demand, many dealers are asking almost new car money for 3 year old units. Fortunately, after 3 months of looking we drove our newly acquired Night Blue TDI home last week.

After a quick 100 mile trip last weekend, I was amazed at the driving dynamic, performance, and overall package of this SUV. It is truly an amazing piece of automotive engineering; all while obtaining 32 (highway) MPG.

Sincerely,
Chris

Ps. I’ve been enjoying your programming since 2005. Keep up the good work.
Chris,

Thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s good to hear of real-world examples and we commend you on your thorough research into which car to buy.

BTW, Lexus is now running anti-EV ads as well!

McElroy
5-7-2014

Dear John and team,

I simply don’t get what GM is doing to the Chevy brand. First, they pull the Chevy brand from Western Europe and Switzerland, where cofounder Louis Chevrolet was born, just to save Opel? And second: They bring a rebadged Nissan NV 200 to the US market as the Chevy City Express. Why don’t they source the new van from within GM like the Opel Vivaro. Talking about economies of scale here. It just doesn’t seem logical. What does the Autoline team think about that?

Thanks for your insight, and keep up the good work. It’s my daily routine to watch your show.

Martin Sinzig,
The Chevy guy from Switzerland
Martin,

You raise a really good point about Chevrolet abandoning the home market of its namesake. But yes, pulling Chevrolet out of Europe was simply to try and help Opel.

Also, it’s not unusual that GM would turn to Nissan for the NV200 van. Remember that the Opel Vivaro is a rebadged Renault Traffic. Nissan also uses a version called the Primaster.

McElroy
5-7-2014

John,

Firstly, I want to thank you for doing this work everyday and putting on such a great series of shows about automobiles.

I am an engineer at General Motors and I have to admit that I love the history of the company and I also love what they put out now. The views I have are purely my own, but they are based on experience.

In a previous broadcast it was mentioned that you thought that evidence of a cover-up might be found regarding the switch recall. Being near to the operations of how parts get released, I can tell you that with almost certainty that a cover-up didn’t happen. The reason I say this is that within the GM system it is almost like pulling off the moon-shot in a studio with 10,000 employees and not one of them coming forward with the scoop that we never truly walked on the moon. Each engineering change must be scrutinized by at least 10 other engineers that I know of, and most likely more. An example here is that Delphi divulged a process approval form which was purported to be evidence of an engineering change. See how easily the facts come out? A cover up would be even easier to show. All this document is, is typically an approval that the supplier still meets the specification of the print and would like to continue with production to supply the plant. I know Ray, and I know he is a good person and not devious as it seems he is being painted to be by some commentors. Every single engineer I know feels that his or her name is on the part and on the car. Each is proud of the new cars that come out. This has always been the case in the old and new GMs. While CYA may be attempted, there is such documentation, that it is a futile exercise.

I think the failure seems to be a shared one in my opinion. NHTSA and GM both could not see the impact that this deviation could have. Also, there is still discussion about the failure mode. Do you lose power and then lose control of the vehicle? Or do you lose control of the vehicle and while in the process of the crash, lose power to the airbags. The latter is more likely the case. So in each of those cases, the focus would probably be formerly on the reason for the crash itself and not what happened in the process of it. This is on top of the fact that the incidence percentage of the total volume is incredibly minuscule over millions of vehicles.

I think that we will now see GM even go further to make sure the smallest of changes are scrutinized over the 30,000 parts that comprise a vehicle. This means that a structure that enables the key work to get done is put into place. I also personally know that superfluous work will be removed from the release engineer’s work. Items such as transporting parts or pushing through their release intentions through an unnecessarily convoluted system. There are, as Peter used to say, “True Believers,” being placed in leading positions. Mark Reuss and now Ken Morris. These guys are everything someone who loves cars would want in an executive. This may sound like a biased assessment, but I will candidly say that what went on before that was not what I would have chosen at all. While I liked the product, the engineers had to work past a lot of additional things that were “process of the moment” items…and they started to be additive. This culture also assumed the engineer would simply suck it up and get it done. Morale was at a low to be sure. You may not see it outwardly now, but with Mark Reuss and Ken Morris in leadership positions, GM has engineering management that is the best that could be hoped for.

I hope that maybe you get the chance to interview Mark or Ken and you can maybe off-line, see what I am talking about. If you like the Cadillac ATS or CTS, these are some of the guys responsible for real parts doing the real job of beating the competition and winning quality awards. Over the years at GM I thought I was becoming a cynical old man, but with this new set of guys leading us I am,

Cynical no More,
Romeo, MI
Cynical, thanks for your input. It’s very valuable for us to hear from the people who really know what’s going on because they “live” it.

McElroy
5-7-2014

Hi John,

I’ve been a longtime viewer but this is my first email. I had to comment on your piece about Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism and the appointment of Mark Fields as CEO of Ford Motor Company. First, I did not know that Mark Fields is Jewish and isn’t that the way it should be? I don’t care if Fields from Mars! If he is a capable executive then that is what should determine whether he can run FMC or not. Nothing else should matter. It’s an interesting footnote to the dark history of the brilliant Henry Ford and his views on the world, and Jews in particular, that his company and his family have appointed a capable executive to the CEO position who “happens” to be Jewish. Bravo to the latest generation of the Ford family and I hope that we no longer have to worry whether we choose someone for a job based on ANYTHING other than their qualifications and their capabilities.

Best,
Elliott Gillman
I agree. We need to focus on people’s qualifications and capabilities.

McElroy
5-7-2014

John,

Wonder if you can ask about this with your next engineering guests on AAH? Think it will it will make traditional ICE Otto, Atkinson, diesel less attractive? Looks like great thermodynamic efficiency and low maintenance.

Regards,
Tim Beaumont
5-7-2014

John,

I have to believe that there is another motive behind Toyota's recent announcement that they are moving their headquarters to Dallas, namely the 1.2 billion settlement with the justice department over the acceleration debacle. Time to shed some jobs and trim costs.

Mike Di Girolamo
Pembroke Pines, Fl
5-7-2014

Hello John,

I see a lot of information on the gas vapor motor. Is this a viable system to increase gas mileage? Are there safety or reliability issues? If it is “all that” people claim it is, why doesn’t the OEM’s look into it. If anyone knows the real skinny on this system, I know you would.

Jeff Crothers
Automakers and others, notably Smokey Yunick, started working on vapor engines more than half a century ago. The fact they are not in production suggests that they were never able to make these engines run reliably, or were too complicated and expensive to build in mass production. The concept, to super-heat the fuel before igniting it in the engine, is theoretically sound. But no one has been able to translate the theory into production. And forget those shade-tree “inventors” who claim they can deliver 400 mpg with a vapor engine. They’re no different than the snake-oil salesmen back in the 1970’s who were selling magnets that you put on your fuel line so the gasoline molecules would line up in a row to burn more efficiently.

McElroy
5-7-2014

Greetings John,

I absolutely love your shows, weekly & daily, I just can't get enough.

Show Guests----please consider getting a friend of mine, a friend of the auto industry, a wonderful & intriguing woman, America's most famous automotive spy photographer, Ms Brenda Priddy. Brenda just concluded a gallery show at the Chandler Center for the Arts, showcasing her automotive work. She has spent time in Cuba in 2013 capturing their love of American cars and enjoyed it so much she is hosting a trip for a couple dozen enthusiasts returning to Cuba this October. She will actually have the group spend time with a car club in Havana. She's a wonderful person who just pursues the passion we all have for automobiles because she knows others enjoy it. Also, she has recently has been nominated for The Society of Automotive Historians award. She has a lot of great stories about her experiences as an automotive spy photographer. Her contact information is in the International Motor Press Association directory.

Your segment with Jim Dollinger gets mixed reviews, at least from me. I've been in this wonderful industry since starting at a Ford dealer in 1972. Jim has many valid points. This is a people business. The auto executives do need to get out of their offices and meet their customers. Think about their automotive experience. They lease their cars thru their employers where they go down to the motor pool to pick up when new, service, and return when their next new one arrives. They also get one for their wives. Therefore, they rarely see a dealership.

Jim is right this is a people business, you have to develop relationships. I've experienced that as a factory field rep for Ford, as a Service Manager for Saturn and a sales consultant for VW & Infiniti. However the reason Jim gets his butt kicked out of GM HQ is because he just is a self-promoter who has no facts or research to back up his data. He's got a huge ego, and loves to hear himself talk. But his downfall is that he has the "I'm the smartest guy in the room" disease.

Does he not think that the numerous marketing support companies have test marketed these incentive programs giving people cash? Does he not know of customer clinics that we've had asking customers what motivates them? Just give every driver $500. Sure. Do the math Big Jim. Sorry John, his intentions are good, but he lacks any substance to back them up or qualify him as an expert. He's a great self-promoter and entertaining, but needs to go for his MBA & Phd before he can have credibility with the actual numbers.

Thanks again.

Tony Gauntner
Tony,

Thanks for your honest feedback, much appreciated. I especially like hearing from someone like yourself who has retail business. That makes your critique all the more valuable.

McElroy

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv