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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There's an interesting theory when it comes to the SUV market. It goes like this: now is the best time to buy an SUV because the used market has bottomed out and prices will soon start going up. The more I've heard this, the more I've talked with dealers. And you know what their reaction is? A good laugh.
See, even mighty Toyota Motor is shifting into a slower gear. This morning in Tokyo, the company gave its business outlook for 2009 and beyond. It was mixed -- which is not surprising, given the economy. Here's Toyota's plan to stay ahead.
Since I've started this blog I've have had people react strongly to some of the things I've said. But NOTHING compares to the e-mails I've read after advocating the need for Federal loans to help the Big 3 automakers re-tool and rebuild their operations.
They say timing is everything. For Honda nothing could be truer. In the next couple of weeks an updated version of the company's red-hot subcompact, The Fit, will start rolling into showrooms. Talk about having the right model in place at the right time.
Let's get some things straight. As I write this blog, I'm fully aware some of you will scoff at the idea of the Federal government offering billions of dollars to the Big 3 in restructuring loans. I know some of you will say, "Don't give them a bail out. Let'em go under."
Don't look now, but something is coming back: deals. Not just little ones. Pretty decent deals. GM, Toyota and Mazda are currently running some of the more prominent marketing campaigns. But make no mistake, almost all the automakers are throwing more money and more generous financing terms behind their new models.
Here's a novel idea. Let's take the people who actually work at a car company and put them behind the wheel of the models crucial to that company's future. Ford Motor is starting to do that, and it's probably one of the smartest moves this company has ever made.
The latest U. of Michigan survey on customer satisfaction with automakers are a bit perplexing. On one hand, they show there's a wider gap between the Big 3 and their foreign rivals. On the other, these results fly in the face of numerous other studies that show the Big 3 edging closer to competitors when it comes to quality and reliability. Who's right? Both, actually.
When a Honda executive said last week that his company plans to roll out a "Prius Fighter" hybrid next spring, it marked the latest proclamation from an automaker that it had a model to beat the king of the hybrids. And once again I'm curious if this challenge will truly be a challenge to Toyota.
Consumers bring only 75 percent of recalled cars to be fixed, and the agency said it hopes the new tool will boost that rate.
Big investors are shaping transportation in 2039 by betting on relatively boring fixes to bridges, airports and roads.
The rise in borrowers falling behind on auto loans will renew concerns the auto industry is creating a bubble for subprime loans.
General Motors's website for owners of its vehicles recalled for faulty ignition switches has been expanded to include all 20 models involved.
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