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 I watched my White Sox finish a sweet sweep of the Cubs last night, I talked to my friend Mike from Detroit. He's a great guy, despite his love of the Tigers. But he said one thing that could summarize how many in motown may feel by tomorrow night. "It's not like we didn't see this coming," said Detroit Mike about Toyota closing in on #1.
After a couple of weeks of being on the road in New York for the "Today Show," Detroit for auto stories, and other places around the country, I've finally had a chance to take in the e-mails you've been sending me about the increasingly dicey auto business. While I have, and will continue to directly answer your e-mails, there are a few I'd like to share.
So who do you blame for high gas prices? According to the latest survey from Consumer Reports, the fault lies with the federal government for not having a national energy policy. This is not a Republican complaint or a Democrat complaint, it's a government complaint.
Let me be clear about what a mis-guided and bad idea this would be. As a friend of mine said when I brought this up, "Two wrongs do not make a right." Right now, these guys are going in the wrong direction for similar reasons and there's little reason to believe a marriage would make things right.
Over the last three weeks, I have heard the same thing over and over, often from those who think I'm partial to Toyota. It goes something like this: "You never say when things go wrong for Toyota." Well, for all of you, Toyota Phil has a news flash: Toyota says it will be falling short of its sales goal for the U.S.
For those who are on a death watch for GM and Ford, the words of CNBC's and Street.com's Jim Cramer are the kind of affirmation they've been looking for.
With Standard and Poor's putting GM, Ford, and Chrysler (and their respective finance companies) on credit watch with negative implications, the big issue is not just the deteriorating auto market, it's the potential liquidity crisis looming for these firms.
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.
Because of a surge in business from Black Friday, the auto industry posted its best monthly sales since February 2007.