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.
Here's an interesting move: take a large SUV that struggles to get great mileage and export it to a market known more for compact cars. That's what GM is doing with its HUMMER brand and its expansion into Japan. I'm not sure this makes sense.
Want further proof we're in a global auto market where the countries outside the U.S. are playing a bigger role? Consider this: there are reports that Europe is on the cusp of passing up the U.S. as #1 in the world for sales. Think about that for a second.
Oh, for the days of the gold Plymouth Duster (my friend Bob had a '72 one with three on the tree) or light green (my friend referred to it as "puke green") AMC Gremlin. Remember the old days when some automaker would come out with a funky colored car and people actually bought them?
Can 30,000 people be wrong? That's how many people have placed an order for the new Smart Fortwo b cars that hit the U.S. next year. Those early signees will no doubt be glad to see Daimler A.G. Chairman Dieter Zetsche, in Washington Tuesday promoting the impending arrival of the 'b' car early next year.
I heard it again Saturday night. I was talking to a friend at a party and he said, "I want a car I'm gonna like...I mean really like." I chuckled and told him, "Join the club." After giving him some suggestions I told him about the latest survey from Consumer Reports on the models with the most satisfied owners.
For General Motors, this is pretty darn good. No, let me amend that. This is really good. The automaker has three cars listed on Car and Driver's best of 2008. It's the only domestic automaker to get a car on the list. And most importantly, the new Chevy Malibu is among the 10 best according to Car and Driver.
Who'd have thunk it. Russia has become one of the hottest and fastest growing auto markets in the world. Now Chrysler wants a piece of the action and it may wind teaming up with a Russian automaker GAZ. Today in Michigan Chrysler executives and Michigan's governor are reportedly set to meet the president of GAZ to discuss the Russian automaker investing in the U.S.
As we wrap up this year, we are close to seeing U.S. auto sales fall to their lowest point in nine years. It has me wondering about what's spooking vehicle buyers? Is it the economy? Is this simply the natural ebb and flow of demand for new cars, trucks and SUV's?
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.