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.
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The fact Toyota posted it's first annual loss in 75 years is not surprising- almost every auto maker lost money this year. The fact this company lost $6.9 Billion in the quarter ending this March is staggering, but not so out of line that people are shocked. What is surprising is Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe telling reporters in Tokyo his company was "lacking in the scope and speed of dealing with various issues."
When you burn through $113 Million every day, it seems ludicrous to say that the quarter turned out a little better than expected. Equally disturbing is the fact few will seem phased by the fact spent $113 Million more than it took in every single day of the first quarter.
This is for all of you who have complained, groused, wondered, and offered pointed opinions about the Big 3 not being committed to smaller, greener cars. For those of you who have scoffed at the idea of Detroit making money on compact cars built in the U.S., Ford believes it will prove you wrong.
Last Friday, as most people focused on Chrysler going bankrupt, making its first appearance in bankruptcy court and the mounting questions about whether its future was bright or bleak, Honda moved a little higher. It was typical Honda done with little fanfare. The "Steady-Eddie" of the car business moved past Chrysler to become number 4 in U.S. auto sales this year.
When the bottom fell out of the auto industry late last year, we all knew that Chrysler was losing gobs of money. Heck, last December on Capitol Hill Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said that his company was burning through a billion dollars of capital a month. That said, when you see Chrysler lost $16.8 Billion last year, you have to stop and ponder the enormity of that loss.
It's a gutsy move. If it works out, he will be called a genius. If it doesn't, critics will say he tried to bite off more than he could chew. Either way, Sergio Marchionne is clearly on center stage for an auto industry in turmoil. Whether or not his performance leads to rave reviews is very much up in the air, but so far he's hitting all the right notes.
You cover enough bankruptcies, you get used to the strange and painful routine. Closing the plants, targeting the jobs to be cut, and outlining how a company in Chapter 11 will be filed in court papers and pretty clear from the beginning. In other words, the cutting and paring of costs is the easy part. It's the re-building and changing of the company that is the tough part.
Over the last two weeks one of the more intriguing (and downright scary to some people) suggestions is the idea of the auto task force killing the Chrysler brand. I'm not talking about the Chrysler corporation, but simply the Chrysler brand. Three months ago that idea would have been roundly dismissed as "crazy talk", not anymore.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson is a straight shooter. It's one of the things about him that I like. That said, how many of us believe the man when he says GMs latest restructuring plan is the final "fix" for the auto maker? Count me among those who are skeptical.
The charts suggest that the worst is yet to come.
Audi is betting it finally has the car to challenge Mercedes and BMW in a fast-growing market.
A rare, 1937 French Roadster sold for $6.6 million over the weekend, proving that rich car collectors are still spending.
Former Ford Motor executive William Clay Ford Sr. and the longtime owner of the Detroit Lions football team, died on Sunday at age 88.