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.
Later today we'll find out if the time, money and effort the Big 3 have put into building more reliable cars and trucks has paid off. Consumer Reports releases its 2008 auto reliability survey and the question for many is: Are the Big 3 finally getting their act together?
Usually, when the United Auto Workers strike it's pretty big news. Usually, when the picket lines form, Detroit gets nervous. Usually, when the rhetoric heats up, so do the heart rates of executives running the Big 3. Not this time.
The newest crash test study of mid-size SUVs has both good and bad news for those who drive these big rigs. And for some HUMMER owners, you have to be wondering if the "safe as a tank" perception some have of your ride is truly deserving.
If you've read this blog for some time you know that my grammar (is it it's or its?) is spotty at times, and my use of words is sometimes off. OK way off. Last week, I used the phrase, "it peaked the interest,..", when it should have been "it piqued the interest,...". Several of you caught my screw-up and let me know about it. Guilty as charged.
OK, it's not as if HUMMER needs our sympathy. The folks running GM's supersized SUV line know they are fighting an uphill battle, trying to grow sales, expand the line-up, and shift HUMMER's image in the face of rising gas prices. But this is HUMMER, even if the execs there feel overmatched, they won't admit it. Nor should they.
The latest survey by R.L. Polk about how long we hold onto our cars or trucks (on avg. 9.2 years) confirms something I've heard from many of you for some time: my car is old, but I'm not getting rid of it.
In a world where it's tougher and tougher to get a car or brand to stand out, Ford's incorporation of the Mustang into NBC's new version of "Knight Rider" is a move that should pay off. Since the show Sunday night, I've heard from numerous people who watched it and loved seeing the Mustang in a starring role. It was a prime time role Ford is counting on to continue changing its image.
By now, you've probably have seen the headlines or stories about Kirk Kerkorian's advisor Jerry York giving a pessimistic view of Chrysler's future. After speaking here in Chicago, York was asked about the prospects for the struggling automaker to turn things around. York said, "Chrysler as a stand-alone company is not viable."
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.