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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I'm always amazed at the number of times someone will send me an e-mail or stop me when I'm out on a story and tell me something that they swear is the absolute truth. My favorite response: The Big 3 have no fresh ideas. Anyone who thinks that should check out the new Ford's with Sync coming out later this year.
In the auto world, it's hard to say one executive can turn around a company. But there are certain people who are "game-changers". The type of executive with a great track record who could steer a company in the right direction. Jim Press, the former president of Toyota North America is one of those executives.
Forget all the talk you will hear about people not wanting to buy a new car or truck. Some models ARE selling, and some brands ARE doing well while others muddle along. So with that in mind here is my list of who is cruising and who is losing in the auto biz.
Just when you thought GM was falling behind Toyota in the fight to win over pick-up buyers, the country's largest automaker put up a big sales number for August. Overall, GM's August sales came in better than expected with an increase of 5.3%. But the real surprise was with truck sales jumping 14.9 %
A few weeks ago, after writing a blog about the success Toyota has been enjoying, I was given a new nickname from a friend who is a retired Ford man who spent his career working in Detroit. He started calling me "Toyota Phil". The way he saw it, I've reported and blogged about Toyota's success so much, I must be the company's #1 fan.
It's "prove it" time again for Cadillac. If you are into luxury cars, you might be thinking to yourself, 'wait, isn't it prove it time every 5 or 6 years for Cadillac?' Well yes, you are right. This time, while Cadillac is not hurting the way it was back in 2000 and 2001, but it is in need of a boost.
After years of complaints, and clear cut evidence that sport utility vehicles are more prone to flip over in accidents, there is finally good news. Funny thing is, just as suv's become safer, they've lost much of their appeal. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration has given 4 stars to more than half of the SUV's it put through roll-over tests.
Perhaps more than any other comment, the one I hear the most from readers is "when are we gonna see cars and trucks with better mileage?" Typically those comments are followed by questions about hybrids, diesels, or sometimes even electric models. I bring this up because we are at a crossroads in the auto industry. On Friday, GM showed reporters a new engine it's developing that, in theory, will be 15% more fuel efficient.
Earlier this week I asked you to vote on whether or not you are putting off a new car, and the number of e-mails and votes on our web poll has prompted me to end this week with the reason why many of you are putting buying a new car or truck. The answers might surprise you.
You do it, don't you? No, not that "it". The "it" I'm referring to is what I call "drive-texting", where you e-mail or text someone while driving. It's the reason so many of us have become experts (or at least we think we are) when it comes to driving with our knees. Whether it's because we're on our cell phone, fixing our coffee, or putting on make-up, many of us do not pay as much attention as we should when driving.
Honda is recalling nearly 900,000 Odyssey minivans that could catch fire, say safety regulators
GM was hit with a lawsuit from customers who said their vehicles lost value because of ignition problems that prompted a recall of 1.6 million cars.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said the New Jersey state government's ban on Tesla sales is a backroom deal to protect a monopoly.
He also says the government may be responsible for possible damages for faulty ignitions because it was running GM.
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