THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #287

New car technology is rapidly evolving effecting not only our roadways, but racetracks as well. We take the pulse of the industry with leading automotive experts. Automotive journalist, BJ Killeen, reviews the 2018 VW Atlas, technology expert, John Ellis, talks about our autonomous car future, and motorsports guru, Steven Cole Smith, discusses spectators’ waning interest in watching professional racing. In some areas of the car world, consumers are moving towards letting go of the wheel, and in other areas they are craving to be more involved. What road are we headed down and how do car lovers feel about it? Find out.

  • [00:00:00] BJ Killeen Works Smarter Not Harder
  • [00:05:30] Volkswagen’s Impressively Large SUV
  • [00:12:30] Stealth Wealth: Undercover Luxury
  • [00:19:50] Katzkin Gives Alan’s 2011 Chevy a Facelift
  • [00:30:11] Autonomous Cars Will Make Our Decisions
  • [00:35:52] Tech Causes Increased Distracted Driving
  • [00:42:12] The Future of Automotive Technology
  • [00:48:24] Autonomous Cars Killed the Radio Star
  • [00:54:44] A Menagerie of Topics for Your Listening Pleasure
  • [01:02:04] R.I.P. Motorsports, We’re Glad We Knew You
  • [01:13:14] The Golden Age of the Automotive World
  • [01:18:05] Focusing on TV, Race Attendance Plummets

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] BJ Killeen Works Smarter Not Harder

With the advent of social media, automotive journalists are working harder than ever before. Automotive journalist BJ Killeen reminisces of a time when you could simply pen your review or article, send it off to a publisher, and call it a day. Today, each journalist also needs to double as their own marketing and PR team; tweeting, posting, and snapping to the masses in between a flurry of events in hopes of establishing their brand presence and getting noticed. Can Alan and BJ keep up with the tsunami of social media?  As they ruminate on this question, the conversation shifts to autonomous car technology. It seems that our journalists as well as consumers need to lean in to available tech to streamline work and life. Listen to find out how technology can help you.

[00:05:30] Volkswagen’s Impressively Large SUV

With 80 years of automotive experience between them, BJ Killeen and Alan Taylor are the perfect people to review Volkswagen’s newest off-road ride. The 2018 Atlas is a midsize SUV with three spacious rows and seven passenger seating capacity. It was designed on the MK7 Golf platform, which has some impressive architecture according to BJ. It can do some serious off-roading with VW’s 4motion all-wheel drive system, and it’s extremely fun to drive. The base model starts at $38,000, or you can step it up to the SEL model for $49,000. While this SUV is not a powerhouse, it has more than enough get-up-and-go with thanks to a 2L intercooler turbocharger. Discover more now.

[00:12:30] Stealth Wealth: Undercover Luxury

What brand do you think of when it comes to luxury cars; Lexus, Mercedes, or BMW, perhaps? There’s a stealth luxury queen hiding in the shadows, and its drivers are completely okay with that. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is loaded with luxurious options. Automotive journalist BJ Killeen notes that the Atlas is up against heavy competition in the SUV market, and it may be hard to sway consumers away from competing OEM’s. Alan has a different take, seeing Volkswagen as undercover luxury, perfect for those seeking discreet opulance. Tune in for out 2018 Volkswagen Atlas review.

[00:19:50] Katzkin Gives Alan’s 2011 Chevy a Facelift

Do you strive to keep up with the latest fashion trends? Odds are that you replenish your wardrobe often, but what do you do if your car starts to fall out of style? Quickly and inexpensively change your cars exterior paint scheme and interior upholstery with the help of exceptional companies like Katzkin. Alan recently took his 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab, lovingly supercharged by the folks at Lingenfelter Performance, down to Katzkin in to have the leather seats redone. The newest episode of Motorz will document the switch. Viewers will also get to watch the Chevy get an awesome new wrap, completely transforming the overall appearance of the truck. Changing gears, Alan chats about an exciting new partnership with Entrepreneur and recent feature at the annual NewFronts event.

[00:30:11] Autonomous Cars Making Purchasing Decisions

We’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to car technology. Ellis and Associates’ John Ellis poses thought-provoking questions for those on the fence with their trust of autonomous cars. For example, when an autonomous car needs gas, who will make the decision of which station to go to? Many industries that are connected to the auto industry use the driver as their marketing target, but who do they target once the driver is gone? Dive into this conversation with us now.

[00:35:52] Tech Causes Increased Distracted Driving

Purchasing a new car? We hope you’re prepared for a crash course in automotive technology. John Ellis explains that most new car buyers do not know how to use the functions that their cars are equipped with, and it’s causing increased distracted driving. Although these features are supposed to lessen the need for human interaction, the lack of consumer education is complicating the driving experience instead. There is rumor that operating licenses should be issued along with standard driving licenses to account not only for a driver’s ability to abide by the law, but also how and when it’s safe to use technology. Soon it may be better to let the car do it all for us. Find out more now.

[00:42:12] The Future of Automotive Technology

It’s time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to the future of automotive tech. Ellis and Associates is on a mission to instigate strategic conversations with car manufacturers and consumers about the automotive industry as it relates to technology via a global network of tech experts. John Ellis explains that by positioning themselves at the intersection of transportation, mobility, connectivity, and consumer interest, Ellis and Associates helps OEMs adapt to new innovations coming down the pike. Learn more now.

[00:48:24] Autonomous Cars Killed the Radio Star

Human-Machine interaction while driving may soon be a thing of the past. While this means increased safety for the passengers, it could negatively affect certain industries. Technology expert, John Ellis, cites radio as an important case study. The current state of technology is already making it more difficult to find simple functions on an infotainment system, and some drivers are giving up the hunt. We used to have an AM/FM button and a dial that would help us tune in quickly, and now the radio function is often hidden in a number of touch screen menu options. Ford has announced that in the future they plan to have a vehicle with no surface interaction. Does this spell the end for traditional radio? Get more information now.

[00:54:44] A Menagerie of Topics for Your Listening Pleasure

From the Dodge Demon’s wheelie capability to Steve Harvey’s ‘anti-ambushing memo’, and Alan’s recent adventures, we catch up on current events with automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith. After a fair amount of ribbing regarding the pitfalls of achieving fame and notoriety, we pivot to discuss Bob Lutz’ shocking (and disheartening) prediction for the future of motorsports.

[01:02:04] R.I.P. Motorsports, We’re Glad We Knew You

At the 70th Anniversary of Road &Track Magazine, 85 year old auto industry legend, Bob Lutz got up on stage and made a statement that left the mouths of many ‘car guys’ hanging open. Bob predicted that racing as we know it will soon be dead… We’ll let that sink in. His hypothesis stems from a growing interest in autonomous – Soon the winners will not be skilled drivers, but software engineers. While this shocked many of the spectators, we can’t argue with the truth behind this statement. What else is in store for motorsports? Explore now.

[01:13:14] The Golden Age of the Automotive World

Automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith, believes that we are living in the golden age of the automotive world. Around every corner, there are new tech advances that are keeping us safer on the road, and making our driving experience much more comfortable. While all of this is going on, Dodge released their first street legal drag car, the Dodge Demon. This beast was designed for the track and while technology has made many aspects of this vehicle possible, it still embodies the heart of the racing community: muscle! Car manufactures can make almost anything they dream up, and are competing to make their mark on history.

[01:18:05] Focusing on TV, Race Attendance Plummets

The tracks are not seeing as many visitors as they used to, and even Alan admits to not attending the Indy 500 last year after a 20 year stretch of going. We discuss this epidemic with motorsports expert, Steven Cole Smith. Race promoters are more concerned with a large viewing audience than getting people in seats – Fans seem to enjoy watching the action from the comfort of their couch as well. Has the motorsports industry hit its peak? Learn more now.

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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner
  • Graphic Design: Becky Vaughn

Our Sponsors & Supported Charities:


This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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