Philip J. LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based at the network's Chicago bureau. He is also editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.
LeBeau has reported one-hour documentaries for the network, including "Dreamliner: Inside the World's Most Anticipated Airplane," "Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon" and "Saving General Motors."
Prior to joining CNBC, LeBeau served as a media relations specialist for Van Kampen Funds in Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., and was instrumental in implementing an initiative to communicate the company's mutual fund and investment practices to the public and the press. While at Van Kampen, LeBeau held a Series 6 license.
Previously, he held general assignment reporting positions at KCNC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Denver, and KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kan. LeBeau began his career as a field producer at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, where he wrote, produced and researched consumer stories. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with a bachelor's degree in journalism and broadcasting.
Follow Phil LeBeau on Twitter @Lebeaucarnews.
As Detroit waits to see how much financial help it will get from the White House and how that aid will be structured, we keep hearing one thing over and over. The Bush administration wants to avoid a "disorderly bankruptcy" in the auto industry. This is not good news for GM and Chrysler.
"Karnac the Magnificent" I am not. Heck, for weeks I've been predicting Congress would ultimately come up with a bailout for the Big 3. So after the Senate shot down the aid package last night, it's no wonder my wife said to me, "Gee Einstein, guess you were wrong about what would happen on Capitol Hill."
You have to give it to the Senate Republicans. Senators Shelby, Corker, Ensign and their colleagues in the GOP have been loud and effective in slowing down, if not jeopardizing the $14 Billion auto bailout package.
If Washington approves this $15 Billion bailout by the end of today or tomorrow (and yes, I think that will happen) the question will turn to who becomes the "Car Czar." It will be a presidential appointment and it will be crucial to determining if this auto bailout actually works.
The drum beats calling for Rick Wagoner's head, or at least his job, are becoming louder. What started last week with critics and commentators saying any bailout should include new leadership at the Big 3, now has spread to political leaders saying it may be time for some of the auto leadership to change.
The announcement by UAW President Ron Gettlefinger that his union may make material changes to its contract to help the Big 3 is a big deal.
If you watched the Big 3 CEOs on Capitol Hill Thursday you probably came away with two impressions. First, the contrite tone of the CEOs makes it clear the auto makers know they have to try a more humbled approach.
Chrysler's plan may be the most troubling, largely because it shows how much money the company needs right away. Chrysler wants $7 Billion by the end of the year. Chrysler's plan also talks about the "synergies" that would be derived from Chrysler being consolidated with another auto maker.
Mary Barra's success rests on whether she can make GM more competitive, profitable and live up to its potential.
GM is dropping Chevy as its primary brand for mass-market vehicles in Europe and making Opel its mainstream line.
And Ford is targeting the global market: The newest Mustang was unveiled in six cities around the world on Thursday.
Auto loan interest rates hit their lowest level in at least six years, and Americans took out a record number of loans.