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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Here we go again. Oil is spiking higher (over $107 a barrel) and the folks in the auto industry are once again projecting that $4 a gallon gas may be here this summer. It's sparking a new round of discussion about whether this will prompt people to change their driving habits or the type of cars/trucks/SUVs people will buy.
After numerous road trips over the last week and half, it's been a while since I had a chance to share some of your e-mails about my recent blogs. And boy have some of them touched a nerve. On VW's turnaround plan, a number of you are skeptical. Glen told me, "Phil..it's all about "R.E.L.I.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y !!!!!!! Tell the new North American CEO to improve on that!!"
When you think of Volkswagen, what pops into your mind? Let me guess: the Beetle, Microbus, and Jetta all bring a smile to your face. Then it fades as you think about the Touareg, Phaeton, and a company that often appears lost. I call it the split personality of VW.
Here's something that should make you realize what crazy times we are living in: 9-year auto loans are popping up around the country. That's right, it wasn't a typo. Nine years! 108 months! Almost a third of the time used to pay off a conventional mortgage!
Amid the gloomy comments from auto executives at the Geneva Motor Show, the unveilings of several important new models are being overshadowed. Take the new Ford Fiesta. This compact car is being sold in Europe, but the design cues and architecture behind this car will be the underpinnings of compact cars the automaker will roll out in the U.S. in the future.
Later today, the February auto sales will come out. By all accounts, the numbers will likely be awful. Not just lower, but in the words of one industry veteran, "terrible." We'll have to wait and see what the actual numbers are, but I won't be surprised to see industry sales down 10 percent.
They've done it again. The Asian automakers, especially the Japanese dominate the latest Consumer Reports survey (subscription needed for full reports) on auto reliability. Of the 33 models CR picked to be "most reliable," 23 are from Japanese automakers. Some, like the Toyota Prius, we've come to expect to see on the list.
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?
The Toyota Camry is safer, and that's why Consumer Reports recommends it again.
Tesla is putting itself into position to add production after getting a $34.7 million tax break from California.
Why is Ford issuing a surprise profit warning now? The answer is all about timing.
Jerry Seinfeld has teamed up with Acura on a series of Web-only commercials.
Dodge CEO Timothy Kuniskis said he isn't worried Ron Burgundy made fun of its Durango because the campaign is huge.
Lamborghini just unveiled the Huracan, a supercar that can reach a top speed of more than 202 mph.
Production of the iconic Volkswagen "Kombi" campervan ground to a halt on Friday, as Brazil moves to implement stricter auto safety rules.