Phil 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" and "Failure to Recall: Investigating GM."
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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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.
With one week left before Chrysler faces the very real prospect of filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, and potentially a Chapter 7 liquidation, GM is acting like a company already in bankruptcy. In other words, the end game is almost here. As we're seeing now, it's messy and everyone involved will be feeling the pain.
According to a recent survey, women are becoming more accustomed to rolling up their sleeves to try to get the best deal on a new car.
Tesla Motors has a "staggering" ability to ramp up production, said Stifel Nicolaus auto analyst James Albertine.
Car companies are resorting to tactics that some experts warn will lead to trouble down the road.
More than 30,000 Americans are killed in highway crashes each year, but experts believe that death toll could sink to zero.
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