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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As I was watching the dismal auto sales numbers come in on Monday, I was waiting for somebody to drop me an e-mail and sarcastically remind me that it was just a few months ago when I said, "Things can't get much worse in the auto industry."
Happy New Year! Yes, I was bummed to see my Blackhawks get blown out by the Wings at Wrigley. But as I watched a hockey game played outside (very cool!), I read through your predictions for next year in the auto industry. Karnac has nothing on you guys.
Monday night, the Treasury Department agreed to lend GMAC $6 Billion out a new TARP fund set up to specifically help the struggling auto industry. This move, along with GMAC getting bank holding status last week are two huge steps in reviving a struggling auto industry. They may not be sexy moves, but they are critical moves.
With the auto companies on their holiday breaks, this is always a week when I think about the year ahead for the auto industry. In past years, some of the predictions I've made to myself have come true, while many more were so off the mark it was kind of funny. So: What will happen in '09?
Friday's bailout may have saved GM (and by association, Ford) but investors are trading these stocks as if they are headed for bankruptcy. That's because when it's all said and done, GM will have to re-structure itself as if it were in bankruptcy.
There are 19 eligible claims for a person who died in a defective GM vehicle—and that number is likely to go higher.
Morgan Stanley analysts wrote that Tesla may have difficulty keeping up with Chinese demand, among other concerns.
The rudest drivers in the US have been judged, according to a report by Insure.com. Plan your commute accordingly.
GM said that it has so far determined that 31 of these claims, including 19 involving death, are eligible for compensation.
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