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8-21-2015


Carbon fiber sounds wonderful but what about the cost of repair if everything is glued together.  Even the body on the i3 is glued to the aluminum frame.  Sounds very labor intensive and the material expense is high.
 
Stuart
The i3 is designed so damaged parts of the carbon fiber structure can be cut out in pre-designated sections. Then it’s just a matter of replacing that with a new section.
8-21-2015


Dear John:
 
Regarding your Uber vs. Leasing comparison:
 
Many of us would gladly pay $5000 per year to have productive time to get serious work done while being driven, to make phone calls, send emails and text messages in a safe manner. And what price can you put on everyone’s safety by not doing these while driving?
 
From a loyal listener and viewer who has listened to and archived every single episode going back to Day 1. 
 
Sincerely, 
David Gold
David,

You make a great point. Also, I have no doubt that as other mobility companies jump into this space that prices are going to come down.

Best,
John McElroy
8-21-2015


Ethanol from seawater, is it readable for large scale use in automobiles?

metevia_james
We hear about breakthroughs every day. But they’re typically in a laboratory. Until anyone can demonstrate a scalable solution to manufacture any product in volume there’s not much sense in getting excited about it.
8-21-2015


John,

After listening to your show I only wonder the obvious; if Daimler is making that much profit either they are charging too much for their vehicles or not paying their workers a fair enough wage?

Walter
Daimler pays the highest automotive wages in the US at its plant in Alabama, $65/hour including benefits. It also pays very high wages in Germany. And its customers happily pay the price to buy its cars.
8-21-2015


John:
 
The past couple of weeks have been great on AAH and ATW. The Margo Oge show which I thought would be a bust was really interesting and she came across as quite rational and not an environmental crazy. The i3 show was also quite interesting and I found it enlightening that none of the Detroit automakers were interested in the report’s conclusions. I guess we can see where innovation in the industry is headed, for sure not to Detroit. What a sham that the city that brought excitement and innovation to the automobile is now playing catch up and not doing such great job at that…
 
Michael Gelven
8-21-2015


John,
Interesting points on the Uber versus Lease topic. The one thing I think the lease analysis may have missed is parking. 
 
I would bet most of Uber's car-less users live in cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Places where parking a car is not only frustrating but also expensive. Not to mention very ding and dent that will effect the final lease costs. 
 
Great show as always, 
 
Harsha V.
8-21-2015


Great AAH episode (#284) despite the lack of the news analysis. Thanks. There is no other show where one can get this kind of great info!



Sorry to say I turned off the PBS show (#1912) this week. When John referred to people who honestly question the theory of "climate change" (the latest euphemism since "global warming" isn't clearly supported by the data) as "deniers" I had to tune away.

Kevin
8-21-2015


John,
The AAH show with Sandy Munroe was like sitting in a class. It was so good I saw it twice. He was also comical at times.



Bring Bob Lutz back. Better yet bring Munroe & Lutz on at the same time.


Don Bronn
8-21-2015


Dear John:

Absolutely love the shows especially 'After Hours'.  But every once in a while every show has a bad day.  Margo was that day.  First of all I could not understand what she was saying.  What I did understand was disjointed and rambling. This is the first Autoline which was actually hard to follow.

It's frightening to see who was driving regulations which effects all of us.  John, even you looked confused.

Enough of your time, out of 5 stars , this was a zero.

A book you enjoyed, doesn't necessarily turn into a good guest.

Relatively new viewer, wishing you continued success.

Bill
8-21-2015


John,

Where did you find the Communist for your show?  When I googled Margo, her life only exists for the last thirty years, but she is 63 years old.  Are they hiding the first 30 years because she was being indoctrinated in China?  99.9 percent of scientist agree that climate change is a fraud to scam money out of government for research and destroy Capitalism.  Carbon is not a pollutant it is a natural element.  A new Duke University study showed the climate models do not model accurately.  The changes in temperatures are within natural deviations not man made.

Joseph
8-21-2015


Dear John:
I follow your programs daily.

I was not impressed with this program. Climate change which was previously called global warming is a total political issue. After 15 years there has been no increase in the planet's temperature. Your guest didn't tell us how she has fixed climate change with the money spent so far on climate change.

You said, you needed to investigate further.  Here is a report on the scientists being caught lying about global warming.

Bill & Hillary probably loved your show. Just think how much tax money will be created for Obama and friends if they get the carbon tax. Bill will be getting millions more for speeches on this topic. Our standard of living goes down for the low and middle class if this tax is instituted. Look what has happened in Europe and Scandinavia.

Sincerely.
John Reid
8-21-2015


Global Cooling in the 1970’s to Global Warming in the 1990’s to Climate Change today... skeptics?  Since you are an intelligent person, you surely know that CO2 is not a pollutant regardless of what the politicized EPA reports.  Without CO2 there is no life on earth and it is a basic building block for everything. The earth has not warmed for 16 plus years regardless of what Al Gore states.  Cooling, Warming, Climate Change believers and adherents have made no scientific evidence to prove their computer generated hypothesis. Peer analysis is the basis of all scientific theory except with Climate whatever you call it today.  Surely you know better. On your next show about Climate whatever, please bring on a real scientific panel such as the one recently from Duke University.  Its all a political hoax sir.  You surely know in your heart of hearts that Climate whatever is not science.  

regards
Mickey Moulder
8-21-2015


John,
Just finished the great AAH with Sandy Munro.

FYI. GM announced 3 years or so ago that they were bringing traction electric motor mfg in house. They thought it was strategic.

Also: as far as the supply of engineers..  the space program to the moon helped inspire me as a kid to go into electrical engineering (BS and MEngEE).. now working on PhD.... when I was an R&D executive at IBM and Sun it seemed like we certainly appreciated engineering talent but our society doesn't seem to.

It seems to be far more cool to be a lawyer or an investment banker on Wall Street... plus the financial wingnuts seem to want to offshore your engineering job to cheaper labor in China or India at the drop of a hat.

Regards,
Dave Tuttle
8-21-2015


Hello,
 
While BMW's i3 mixes aluminum alloys with composites and steel; I looked at your video of the cutaway Cadillac CT6 and it shows similar design as this is how the CT6 supposedly has a 900 lb weight advantage over the 2015 BMW 750i.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
8-6-2015


Hi John:

I just got my weekly fix of Autoline After Hours, and was a bit taken aback by the reaction of Jamie Lincoln Kitman to the Lincoln Continental Concept. I know everyone is privy to his or her own opinion, but his evident distaste for the design and ideal, in comparison to the CT6, was so bias it was like he took it personally. Do you believe this kind of preconception is what keeps a company like Ford's Lincoln brand down? I don't believe it's copycat product, because Lexus, Audi, and in some cases Acura, achieved their initial success with sows ear silk purse design ideas of their 'lesser' brands. Or is it the self loathing American car buyer who allow himself to believe the world myth that our quality is just not good enough?
It was just a Concept never driven sitting on the Convention floor basking in its own failure.

Mike from Philly.
All I can tell you is that I do not agree with Jamie’s opinion of the Continental.
8-6-2015


Disruptive technologies will result in the last commercial ICE car sold 2028.

John I enjoy your Autoline TV programs, and I try to watch it every day. I am a member of VEVA ( Vancouver Electrical Vehicle Association ) in B.C. Canada
 
 
Best regards,
Jan Engstrom
8-6-2015


Hello,
 
Cadillac's plug-in CT6 hybrid at the Shanghai Car Show is the direction General Motors is going as they will cannibalize technology used in the Chevy Volt to build next generation hybrids; one can imagine Cadillac replacing their ELR with a sporty 2-door coupe (built using CT6 architecture) with the 400hp twin-turbo 3.0L V6 and a plug-in hybrid module for a combine horsepower output near 500 while still getting almost 70 mpg in blended mileage.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
8-6-2015


Hello John. Long time listener, (thank you), first time emailer.
 
I was listening to your after hour's show about Cadillac. The big question seems to be why isn't Cadillac doing better against BMW, Audi and the like? 

I think a lot has to do with naming convention. Although I am a big fan of BMW, having owned a couple of dozen of them, their naming convention is simple. When you hear "3 series" "5 series" "7 series" or anything "X" in it, you get a visual connection of the car. 
 
Now let's look at Caddy. What is a DTS, ATS, CTS, XLR, XTS and SRX? Geez I haven't a clue and if I did, will there be one like it next year? There seems to be no focus. Lincoln seems to have the same problem. Who really knows what model is what with that crazy naming convention?
 
These two name plates have a reputation to get rid of as well. Up until the recent 6 or 8 years, they built junk. People don't forget that to easy. Look how long it took Audi to get over the unintended acceleration problem.
 
Thanks for the great show and hope to hear you comment on my email.

Rick Irrgang
8-6-2015


Hello,
 
While it may take a few years before Chevy works out the autonomous capability, one thing for sure is that the FNR might not be as distant as one might think as Chevy should put the FNR over a Volt chassis to get instant sex appeal.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
8-6-2015


John - 
 
Very interesting AD show!  Had a comment about making Hydrogen from Trash.  I spent 5 years working for Coskata on their cellulosic ethanol technology (I still see B-roll of our demo plant on Autoline every once in a while).  I did all of our commercial research and using trash as a feedstock and know quite a lot about it.  While it's an interesting story, trash isn't a particularly good feedstock for fuel use.  
 
Hydrogen is a tad different than ethanol, but the basic story for trash is about the same.  According to the EPA the U.S. produces roughly 250 Million tons of trash.  From my research, about 20% of it is moisture and non-organics (metals, glass, etc). (I will say there's a lot of dispute on the make-up and volume of trash out there, but the orders of magnitude are pretty consistent). If you could turn the rest of it - ~ 200 Million tons, primarily organics like food, paper and plastics into ethanol at 100 gallons/ton then you'd get about 20 Billion gallons of ethanol  A good amount, but compared with the ~140 Billion gallons of gasoline, it's an order of magnitude off.  
 
You have to also consider that elevated oil prices >40/bbl, recycling paper and plastic is more economically interesting than producing cheap fuel.  So you're really looking at something closer to !10 Billion gallons.  
 
The numbers for hydrogen is about the same. Hydrogen makes up a small% of the mass of any organic molecules (it's about as much of weight of a dog as its hair).  So you're really looking at a relatively small energy resource from trash.  
 
Again, great show and I look forward to more.
 
thanks,
Doug
Doug,

Thanks so much for your feedback, it’s excellent. We’re always impressed by the level of knowledge that resides out there in the Autoline audience!

John McElroy
8-6-2015


Super interesting show; best I've seen so far! Sandy Munro is bloody brilliant, smart, good at explaining the tech, and funny to boot.
Can't wait to visit his site!
 

cheers,
rick bradner

vancouver 
8-6-2015


Hello,
 
Cleaner cars are coming via more hybrids and electric vehicles especially when people discover that they don't need to give up performance or affordability using new engineering manufacturing design and materials. ATW#1912
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
8-6-2015


Hello John and company:

Could this new 'Fusion' Taurus platform be what everyone was expecting for the Lincoln Continental concept to be reality?
As always love the show, and all the advanced info.


Mike from Philly.
Almost for sure (since Ford won’t tell us), the upcoming Lincoln Continental will use the Ford C-D platform, which is what the new Taurus is based on.
7-31-2015


John,
I ran into a guy with a 2 year old P85 Model S Saturday night.
He is in real estate and has driven it 64,000 miles in 2 years.. all around town.
He was still ecstatic about his Model S.
He has saved about $6-8k per year on gas, has avoided 60/5= 12 oil changes (~$1200), and normally he would be going to the gas station 2x per week so he's saved a bunch of time by charging at home at night.
His Model S has an 8 year/infinite miles warranty on the battery and motor and he may hit 250k miles before 8 years.
What is your bet on the repair/maintenance costs of a Mercedes/Audi/BMW over 250k miles?
 
Seems like he is the poster child where the Model S is already a superior product for his needs across the board.
Plus it's a conversation starter for his potential clients.
I don't think this is as much of a niche as some may believe. 

--
Regards,
Dave Tuttle
The University of Texas at Austin 
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
These numbers tell a very compelling story, even though some of the gasoline savings would have been offset by electric recharging costs. Another factor will be residual value of EV’s. A local Ford dealer is selling a 2-year old Focus EV for only $16,000, which ought to be a screaming deal for anyone interested in an EV. Maybe used Teslas are faring better.
 
McElroy
7-31-2015


Hi John,


Very interesting show. ATW #1910



Besides fuel cells, hydrogen can also be used, I believe, like Propane, in an internal combustion engine. Didn't BMW do something like this?



Having the fuel for more than just fuel cells may speed it's acceptance. Years ago, wasn't the issue the on board storage problem? Hard to efficiently carry enough of it.



Regards,


Ian
Spark-ignited piston engines can definitely use hydrogen as a fuel, and burn it very cleanly. However, they are not nearly as efficient as extracting energy from hydrogen as are fuel cells. On-board and stationary storage are very expensive, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever see hydrogen used in ICE’s.  
7-31-2015


John, wasn’t it about 100 years ago that drivers wore glasses or goggles somewhat similar to the Mini AR glasses? What goes around comes (back) around.

Curtis
Great point! Maybe Mini should just remove the windshields from its cars to get people to wear its augmented reality goggles.
7-31-2015


A sort of ideal practical case, all else aside... would be solar made hydrogen vs solar made electricity. The latter is ~20% more efficient.


Charging at 90% and discharging at 90% is required by either fuel cell or pure EV... total efficiency of either of these cycles is less than 20% vs say a guesstimation of 2% for gasoline... but again, doesn't matter unless you add taxes and pollution to the equation.

I try to look at it from a purely physics and labor perspective, as: "What would I make if there were no other people on earth?" and the case is pretty clear for EVs because they require somewhat less infrastructure... although perhaps oil companies will be able to roll out H infrastructure before Li supply gets big... Or maybe oil companies will mine and distribute Li. I believe this is the determining factor. Cost of lithium will likely soon become like asking "cost of 150lbs aluminum for a v6 engine"...

A worthwhile side note might be that other car companies poo poo cylindrical cells because they can't shut them off from runaway due to Tesla's (NOT OPEN SOURCE) patents, and for example Chevy won't bet on Tesla not sueing them if they say "okay let's use Tesla's tech because they said they wouldn't sue". Cylindrical is more reliable from uniform expansion, spaced better for coolant, and more widely available/standardized form factor. Density differences are marginal.
 
Potentially we could see microminaturized fuel cells "liquid schwartz" or whatever but I don't see it becoming an either/or for vehicle drivetrains.
 
Noah Rogers
7-31-2015


I very much enjoyed your battery program with LG Chem and Sastri (sp). Don't know if you might do a follow on related to progress, also maybe have someone from Argonne who evaluates and follows all industry developments what their view of the battery/energy storage landscape looks like.
 
Thank you,
Fritz Maffry
KC
7-31-2015


I just finished watching “A Gas that’s Gas”. Hydrogen is not the answer for the automobile in the foreseeable future. Today 95% of all hydrogen made in the United States is made by burning natural gas. Natural gas is our cleanest burning fossil fuel, but still has a carbon foot print. The process of burning natural gas to make hydrogen is only 80% efficient. Next you have to compress it to 5000 to 7000 psi to get enough into a storage tank that can fit into a car to give some reasonable driving range. That takes an additional 10% to 12% of energy. So you have lost 30% to 32% of the energy you original had and you polluted the atmosphere, but you get to say your hydrogen car is zero emissions!

Just think what will happen when the first hydrogen fuel car catches fire? Someone in the news media will run the film of the Hindenburg going up in flames and that will kill all sales of hydrogen cars in the eyes of the general public.

Can a hydrogen car ever explode? In a fire there is a safety device on the tank to bleed off hydrogen so it should not explode. But the escaping hydrogen will feed the fire. It may be impossible to put the fire out until the all the hydrogen is used up. When you have millions of hydrogen cars on the road they are going to get into accidents, will the safety device work every time? The storage tank is made to be several times stronger than it needs to be, but in a horrific accident will it always survive? Can a terrorist use a hydrogen vehicle as a car bomb?

The only way I can see hydrogen becoming a viable form of energy for a car is if we come up with a much more efficient way of making hydrogen. It would take a Manhattan style project and I do not see the funding for that happening any time soon. If we were making so much solar energy that we could not use it all during the day, then you could use that extra capacity to make hydrogen. But I do not see solar farms popping up all over the place, so that is not going be the case any time soon.

george
7-17-2015


Hi John,
 
First, let me say I am not a tree-hugger. I believe the people that run the world put Al Gore out there as the point man to push Global Warming. This is clearly a scam to collect money as a "Carbon tax". The truth is the sun determines temperature and we are now entering a new ice age.
 
I am a retired Electronics Engineer and I just discovered Tesla earlier this year. I appreciate their electric car concept from a clean sheet of paper point of view. 
 
Today you had Sean say (in a left handed sort of way) that he thought franchised dealers were a good idea, and without missing a beat, jump to another subject. This was clearly a shot at Tesla. 
 
Check out this story
Elon Musk is on record as saying if they went through conventional ICE dealers, Tesla would fail. He has no other choice.
 
In summary, I think your bias towards franchised dealers is showing. In the 21st century you can buy almost anything on the internet except cars. I have always admired your journalistic ethics John. Don't let this one bite you.
 
Sincerely,
Alan Andrews in Oregon
Alan,
 
Franchise laws were and are necessary to protect dealers from unscrupulous car companies. The OEM’s practices in the past were egregious enough that car dealers were able to obtain legal protection through legislation. The law is pretty clear. Once an OEM sells cars through a franchise, it cannot compete against that franchise by selling cars directly on its own.
 
But franchise laws were never meant to prevent a new car company from adopting a different retail strategy. That’s why we’ve said Tesla should be free to pursue direct sales.
 
But Elon is wrong in saying he could not be successful selling through franchised dealers. It all comes down to how you write your franchise agreement. Lexus and Saturn are two great examples of writing agreements that gave the OEM a stronger say in the retail experience. Those two brands also cherry picked some of the best retailers in the country. Elon could have done the same. His real reason for skirting a franchise agreement is the belief that Tesla can pocket the profit that the dealer would otherwise get.
 
So far it’s working for Tesla, but so far it’s a tiny, niche player. If Tesla scales up to become a bigger player it’s unlikely that the company store approach will prove to be an efficient way to wholesale and retail cars.
 
McElroy
7-17-2015


H vs EV: Well you can split h2o with Ti catalyst at 40% with CSP.... that's better than 20% of PV solar, but then you only get 40% efficiency in a fuel cell or ICE, vs 80% of electric motor... which the fuel cell also has to do, so it's 0.4*0.4*0.8 = 12.8% efficiency for hydrogen versus 0.2*0.8 = 32% efficiency for electric... and infrastructure costs are similar both on the CSP/PV side and the "fuel-fill station" side. End weight is similar, and end cost is similar. Both have closer to zero emissions.



While gasoline was originally matured by Ford (person) as a waste product from Rockefeller's refining of kerosene we know from various, say market pressures, it's maxing out; in the future maxing of these h and e fuels, we're looking at hydrogen being 5 times more dense than gas in a couple ways, versus electrons having basically ZERO weight or volume. New spark ev for example has 100kw charging capability, which means "100mph charges" to use Tesla's stupid nomenclature.

Noah
7-17-2015


John,


What's your autoline insight on where Volvo will locate? Carolina's  MS, AL?

D. Sprowl
For the life of me I can’t figure out why Volvo thinks it needs an assembly plant in the US. But if it persists, I would think it wants to be near Mercedes or BMW to share their supply base. So that means somewhere in or between South Carolina and Alabama.

McElroy
7-17-2015


So John,

With you having the dream job of every automotive geek, going to every auto show in the civilized world, which one is your favorite and why? And also, which reveal got your most attention and got the heart beating a little faster?


Mike from Philly
I know this is going to sound lame, but my favorite show is NAIAS in Detroit. The quality of the displays is unequaled by any other US auto show. While the Frankfurt show matches and even beats Detroit by this measure, the Frankfurt show is just too big. It’s impossible to cover everything at the show during the media days. Geneva is a good show, but the displays are little more than “cars on a carpet.” However, the two most recent reveals that caught my attention were at the Geneva show: the Torq autonomous race car, and the Quant flow cell cars.
 
McElroy
7-17-2015


4 things that will never die: Hot cars with gobs of V-8 horsepower, Rock-N-Roll, Vinyl Records, and AM/FM Radio! What's not to love about that?

Will Beck
6-19-2015


Hello John,



First time commenter!



It seems to me that if Sergio wants to expand his product line he ought to be paying more attention to launching Alfa Romeo successfully. Alfa is a venerated make in Italy, has high quality, attractive looking models and, I believe, if properly marketed could become more than moderately successful in the united States.



Rudy Boniface

Retired Ford executive in Europe
Rudy,

You make a great point. If Sergio can make Alfa even half as successful as he’s made Jeep, he will not need another partner.

McElroy
6-19-2015


Just wanted to comment on all the additional ads you have started using on the daily news.  I have been a long time viewer of Autoline Daily but will have to stop watching due to all the ads.  I know you have to balance this out but in my eyes you need to keep the daily portion of the news free from this distraction.

Thanks,

Chris
Chris,
 
We have only added two advertiser logos and taglines. That’s it. We’ve added 6 seconds.
 
About 3 minutes into the show we run a billboard with 4 advertiser logos and taglines. That lasts for 12 seconds.
 
Then about 6 minutes into the show we run one 15 second ad.
 
I think we’ve done a remarkable job of balancing the advertising messages with the editorial content.
 
John McElroy
6-19-2015


John,
A few times you have commented with surprise that the "MALIBU" name is on the front doors of the new Malibu; something you have never seen before. Chevrolet Impala had "IMPALA LS" or "IMPALA SS" on the front doors on the early 2000s and my 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT has "GRAND PRIX GT" on the front doors. Just a couple of examples; there are probably more.
Ralph Norek
6-19-2015


John, after thinking this over I throw my support to franchise dealers over company owned stores.  Reason:  I bought my first American car 15 years ago.  I was very unhappy with my dealer, to the extent I thought I would never buy another American car.  I switched dealers and since then my wife and I have purchased 3 brand new and 1 used vehicle of the same make.  The difference: the dealer.  I wonder what a corp. store would have done for me?  Service is #1 and it's what separates them.  If the company owns them all, what would the difference be?
 

Thank you, 
 

Amado 
6-19-2015


Here is a topic for your next no-holds barred AAH discussions: Will Autonomy and Vehicle Sharing Kill Automotive Styling?



My theory:

As people are less invested in a vehicle, they will care less what it looks like.  Already many consumers that simply see a car as A to B transportation care very little about styling.  This is what led to the dominance of plain vanilla midsize sedans.  Reliability and Durability were far more important to these consumers than Appearance.  



As we move toward full Autonomy in the years to come, people will have less interaction with their vehicle.  Will they care as much if its attractive if they are not driving it?  Does it matter what your car looks like as you read the paper on the way to work?  I think it will become an experience closer to riding the bus.  Who cares what a bus looks like?



Vehicle Sharing will contribute too.  Since most people won't own their vehicles, they won't care as much what they look like.  For the companies that own them, practical issues will trump styling desires.  Similar to a fleet manager, it will come down to ownership costs and operating efficiency, not appearance.  The companies will get a better deal if they buy lots of one type of model and so consumers will have less choice.  If all of the cars available are plain white 4 door sedans, it no longer matters which one you choose.  And consumers won't complain because they will enjoy the cost savings too. 



Except for enthusiasts like us and people who will insists on owning their own vehicles, the future does not look too bright for attractively styled cars.  



GM Veteran
I see it differently. Autonomous vehicles will put a lot more emphasis on interior design since “drivers” will be free to do a lot more in their cars. Mid-century, when most vehicles will probably be autonomous and traffic accidents become as rare as plane crashes, passengers will be free to “get up and move about the cabin.” This could lead to a revival of custom coach works, which will tailor interiors to the owner’s specific tastes and needs, with no FMVSS constraints.
 
Car sharing will not likely lead to only bland cars. Zip Car points out that the millennials which use its car sharing service prefer to get “cool” cars like Minis and BMW’s, not just anything on the lot.
 
I think fashion will never go out of style. Whether pulling up to the curb at a swanky event or just visiting friends, most people will prefer to be seen in something that reflects their personality and status, even if they don’t have to turn a steering wheel or push on pedals.
 
John McElroy
6-19-2015


Thinking a little bit about the discussion surrounding Sergio Marchionne and FCA looking for a partner in the industry he isn't totally off base. When you analyze how capital intensive the auto industry is with regards to development and production of powertrains alone it puts things in perspective. 

However, instead of a full blown merger FCA should be looking more at partnerships or outsourcing to use economies of scale on certain applications. An example of this already exists with the Cummins sourced engine in the heavy duty Ram Trucks. Maybe a better example is the ZF sourced transmissions found in several luxury manufacturer vehicles. How many vehicles have a ZF 8HP unit in it? 

Maybe I'm off base with my thinking, but I think this would benefit FCA to look for partnerships to reduce the capital investment required by FCA and still maintain pace with the overall industry. Maybe this would help them improve their standing from down towards the bottom of all the quality and satisfaction survey rankings? 

Maybe then they could sell more vehicles instead of leasing so many. Most people I know that purchased a FCA product did so only because they were able to get one of those $200/month lease payments or something. Whereas a comparably equipped Ford would have been $300/month. 

Regards,
dean7698
5-8-2015


Hello Autoline, as I listened to one of your recent podcast, where you had members of the Automotive industry explain how the Dealership has such an important part in the community, I felt compelled to write about what I feel is an injustice that shows how hypocritical their statement actually sounded. It is a well known fact that upon purchasing a certified pre owned vehicle you are told that the vehicle is covered until a certain miles/months period and they will tell you at the point of sale that the certification stays with the vehicle for that length even if it changes ownership. What they will not tell you is that if you decide to trade in the vehicle during the certification period,  your vehicle will not receive credit for being certified and will be appraised just like any other used vehicle. What's more is,  if you list your vehicle on Auto Trader,  it will not appear in the Certified section, even though the vehicle' certification will be passed on to the next owner. If you ask Auto Trader to list it as such,  which I did,  they will deny you that opportunity,  citing an agreement they have with automotive manufacturers and dealers. I fail to see what the difference will be for a buyer to purchase my vehicle versus the one being sold at the local dealer since they are both certified by the same manufacturer...  If the dealerships are not happy with the labels they have "earned"  over the years,  and are too busy fighting Tesla for trying to make the customer their priority,  perhaps implementing such "customer friendly"  practices might be the first stop to recovery of image.

Thank you,
Borislav
Borislav,

Certified cars are inspected and approved through a specific process that is approved by the factory. If someone buys that used car, and drives it many more miles, and perhaps does not maintain it, or perhaps even damages it, and then decides to sell it on their own, how can it possibly retain its “Certified” rating? It would be fraudulent for the owner or any online selling site to present if as “Certified.” BTW, this would be true even if the owner did not drive it many miles and kept it properly maintained.
5-8-2015


Greetings John,



Such a blast watching your updates from the floor of the NY auto show and hats off on an always stellar coverage. On that note, I think Mr. Bentley Head Honcho is being a wuss. If you are not confident enough at a very worthy competitor ( who by the way was gracious enough letcha use "Continental" name plate), your lack of confidence will make your clientele think twice, no good for ya smh!!! Just my two cents worth and have yourself a lovely Holiday weekend, good sir :D!!!



Best,
Elyas
5-8-2015


John,
California look...
You say how much you like the chrome letters on the door of the new 2016 Malibu. Take a look at the door of the Titan truck on display  behind you on the set.
 
My Best
Jay,
Mtn Home, Ar
5-8-2015


John,


Just test drove a Model S… wow! Watch out Audi, BMW, Mercedes… and it was only a 'regular' RWD, S 85. Next generation batteries with 400 miles will kill 'conventional' luxury cars. That is just based on performance, luxury, and value. Factor in environment and geopolitics and the old guard won't stand a chance. No wonder they are finally getting on the electric band wagon!



Regards, Tim Beaumont
5-8-2015


Hello,
 
Cadillac's new CT6 probably uses Terocore 16301 bonded to the aluminum as it was reported on your program of how this material can give aluminum the same tensile strength of steel of similar thickness as this could explain how Cadillac is able to build such a large car while maintaining weight to a minimum.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco, CA
5-8-2015


John,



As I was listening to one of your ATW #1909 guests (one of the heads of Sellers Auto Group), something she said struck a connection for me.



She mentioned a web service/online account, where customers can start some of the “deal process” via their own account. What she described seemed similar to what Dan Gilbert and Quicken financial started a few years ago.



When you go through the house financing process with Quicken Loans, you are assigned a web account, where to can send received private & secure messages from Quicken.  Further, Quicken and you can upload/download private/secure documents, which helps to “quicken” the loan financing process.  In the end, many customers can run through the house refinance process (initial contact, to closing date), in about 3-6 weeks. It is amazing what they have done in this space, which is heavily regulated - similar to the car financing experience.



Seems like this could open a door for auto dealers, to align with Quicken (“Quicken Loans for Auto”?). Or, maybe Mr. Gilbert may be the next new billionaire to the auto retailing space. No end to the potential here.



Thanks for your show … long time listener (I’m 40, but grew up listening to your brief on 950 AM WWJ radio).



Regards,

Eric Moody

Delaware, OH
5-8-2015


John, 
 
How can so much time and money be spent on making cars "SAFER", When at the same time car companies are building and promoting these 600 and 700 horsepower rockets ships legal on the street? How about showing what happens when a 600 hp Cadillac going 150 mph broadsides a minivan with a family. All of the electronic gadgets and air pillows won't save those lives.  
 
Mark
5-8-2015


John,
I saw your broadcast of “Today’s Retailing” and while interesting, little mention was made of the customer experience in purchasing a car. You did mention the time spent but it is the quality or lack of quality time spent buying a vehicle. I have heard so many stories of people who loathe the experience because of the lack of respect, the condescension, the attack of the prey, and leaving the dealership completely defeated. Yet, unfortunately, this is the model of the sales person. A good customer experience just might affect the bottom line positively.
 
As a retired GM employee, I didn’t have to go through the sales combat because I have been eligible for the retiree discount without any other incentives. Most of the prior buying experience was honest, to the point and under one hour. I am close to the end of my 2 year lease (mistake!) and am looking at vehicles to purchase. I visited my local dealer only to be subject to three hours of intimidation, coercion, and mistreatment by the salesman and his manager, even after I was completely candid about my visit that day. I was there only to see price options and not to buy or drive. I felt completely overwhelmed and crushed after three hours. I mentioned my past experiences and how they were handled, but that went ignored as did my repeated request to only get a couple of prices. 
 
I no longer want anything to do with any kind of GM vehicle or the company in any fashion. Although that pains me and maybe it is in my best interest to move on, I know I am one of many who have this experience.
 
Perhaps this management will change in the future? A good strategy might include honesty and respect.
 
Thank you for your time in reading my, and others, concerns about the retail experience.
 
Mary
5-8-2015


Hi John,
 
After the Detroit Auto show in January, I E-Mailed you asking why you did not cover Tesla. You indicated it was not a new model and you had never been loaned a Tesla to drive. So I E-Mailed Tesla and suggested they provide you one for evaluation. I said I believe you are objective and would give a fair analysis.
 
On Autoline after hours a week or two ago I heard you say you have now driven a Tesla. If that is true, what is your opinion and will you ever talk about it?
 
Love your show,
Alan Andrews in Oregon
Alan,

I have driven a Tesla but only because I was at an industry conference where there were test drives available to attendees, though not for members of the media. But one of the Tesla employees at the event, a big Autoline fan, recognized me and allowed me to take out one of the cars. It was fantastic, and the S is truly an impressive car. But a half hour test drive on the streets of San Jose is not the same as the week-long test drives we get with other cars, where we really put them through the wringer, and that’s why I never did a report on Autoline about it.

John McElroy
5-8-2015


John,
 
I was amused to hear you say how new and unique placing the name Malibu on the door of the new model is. As you were saying that, I could not help but chuckle at the fact that you were sitting in front of a Titan, with its name clearly spelled out on the door. Maybe you were referring to passenger cars as opposed to trucks?
 
Keep up the great work. Enjoyed the NY auto show report. That Lincoln concept looks really good, very elegant.
 
Dan
5-8-2015


I wouldn't want to see dealers go away.



I think they have good service departments. My ford dealer is trying to stay competitive with everything service related although the wait can be a pain.



But if someone figures out a way to cut them out, Katy bar the door. It seems like a race to the bottom with everything.

These arguments about manufacturers going belly up and dealers there for you as well as community supporters are maybe worth mentioning but will have little impact come decision time.



What bothers me is we are getting to a space so sophisticated, we will price many out of the market if we're not carefull.



Mike R

Texas
5-8-2015


I thought this was an auto site but I was treated to some political/religious/homosexual news! It is all about the money John. The auto makers feel there is more profit to be made to come out against RFRA. And NASCAR too! Of all businesses pretending to be tolerent NASCAR takes the cake! You can spray booze all over victory lane, get busted for driving drunk, smoke cigars, take drugs to make your tallywacker erect and you can still work for NASCAR. But if you smoked a little weed 3 weeks ago you get fired. Then there is Apple. Their CEO is openly gay and has come out and blasted Indiana's new law but he continues to sell millions of dollars worth of Apple's products to countries that execute gays. Appears he is not so pro gay he is willing to lose millions by boycotting countries that execute gays. Why no tolerence for gun owners and anti-vaxxer's? We can pot shame Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson but we can not fat shame Kelly Clarkson. There seems to be a double standard when it comes to tolerence. And THAT is what we need to fix.

Will
5-8-2015


P.S. on yesterday's comment on the Continental, I agree with CT6 being a better overall design, but I do like the rear design of the Continental over the CT6. The 4 is a bit of a shock, but it's in the Impala.  
 
Don't you think the 25% tariff is long out of date and not warranted???  How about a response, why send our best technology to their factories to be used against us some day?
 
rwork
4-27-2015


Hello John,

I hear you on the radio every morning on the way to work. I'm a car guy, a tool maker, and the way I see the car industry is going all the cars look alike. I drive a Ford Edge. A nice car (station wagon) but you know there are so many brands 
out there that all look the same, like station wagons. I had to put a green foam ball on the antenna, so the Wife and I can find it at Meijer. When I was a teen you could tell one car from another from a mile away. They had class and were stylish, what happened?? Look around the parking lot, you will see what I mean. All the same. Well that's how I see it.
 
Robert J Fuerneisen
4-27-2015


Enjoyed your podcast on infotainment systems -  as an automotive engineer that worked in electronics - I always thought that the dealer should make it programed for the buyer by age - let the screen look like a 60's car if you want - and never get rid of the knobs for the radio - and GPS systems are miss leading as you saw from the guy that drove off of a bridge and killed his wife - 
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/gps-may-have-told-man-to-drive-off-indiana-bridge-cops/ar-AAacOJs - besides, the barking women telling you when to turn, geez - a good paper map works for me. And, I have a wife - LOL

Mark
Royal Oak
4-27-2015


Glad to see Lincoln is finally getting serious. 
Hard to keep dealers engaged when the product line is 
weak. Would love to see some out of the box thinking.
 How about a New luxury laden Thunderbird by Lincoln
 and Mustang based Cougar by Lincoln?
 Don't do anything Retro, just fresh.



Retired Ford Designer
John,



Thanks for the Burt Bacharach song. I’m old enough to remember when melody was still a mandatory ingredient in music.



MV



PS

LA is great, big freeway put a hundred down and buy a car...
4-27-2015


Greetings John,



Such a blast watching your updates from the floor of the NY auto show and hats off on an always stellar coverage. On that note, I think Mr. Bentley Head Honcho is being a wuss. If you are not confident enough at a very worthy competitor (who by the way was gracious enough to letcha use the "Continental" name plate), your lack of confidence will make your clientele think twice, no good for ya smh!!! Just my two cents worth and have yourself a lovely Holiday weekend, good sir :D!!!



Best,
Elyas
4-27-2015


Dear Sirs,
 
The new Lincoln Continental DOES NOT look like a Bentley, It looks like a Jaguar, with a little Kia bump to the bottom of the grill.
 
I don't think all of that reflective interior chrome will remain, and I think the side trim with the name is a bit too big. Plus, I hate the wheels. How about smaller chrome hubs that curve up to a small dome with the logo, and white walls?
 
rwork
4-27-2015


John,
Watching the AAH with Andrew and reading the new Malibu news... it seems that GM was very smart in developing their new Voltec Gen2 powertrain.

Not only do they have the best PHEV on the market with the 2016 Volt, but they may have also in one move put themselves ahead of Toyota's or Ford's HEV powertrain. I wonder if they may create a lightweighted Prius HEV fighter (maybe an HEV Volt derivative with a radically smaller battery and lower cost)?

What a royal blow to Toyota it would be if the next gen Prius is introduced with 55mpg and then GM trumps them with a 56mpg HEV!
 
..plus..
- more volumes to mfg lower costs
- Malibu HEV can already meet 2025 CAFE? (isn't 54.5 about the same as 45 unadjusted?)


If you have another opportunity to ask questions:
- given the 2016 Volt uses a 1.5L and the Malibu HEV uses as 1.8L engine, are there common mechanical interfaces (or bolt patterns) architected into the Voltec Gen2 HEV/PHEV transaxle in the same way the Chevy small block V8 had/has the same bell housing pattern? So, does this make it easily adaptable for a 2.0L or larger 4 cylinder for Impala or other vehicles?
I wonder how might this fit to create lower mfg cost, higher mpg, or performance AWD platforms the way Audi creates Quatto S and RS derivatives?

Regards,

Dave Tuttle
4-27-2015


Amen John!



I have been saying for years that driver training in this country is woefully inadequate. A friend of mine that was raised in Germany said that our driver's ed training is a joke compared to what is required there. And, it cost about $400 to get his driver's license when he obtained it 20 years ago. Not sure what they cost now but I would  wager it has gone up.



Considering the harm that can, (and is), be done with an automobile, our country should really consider beefing up the training requirements. Most high school students don't take Physics and thus have no clue about the forces at work behind concepts like momentum, inertia, centrifugal force, etc. Or how to avoid the negative aspects of them, or how to retrieve control of a vehicle once it begins to be lost. It would be nice to see Michigan take the lead on this issue, though I doubt that will happen.

Nick
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

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