This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
Happy Tuesday to all of you. Matt and Travis are traveling today, so I'll be shifting your morning. Strap on your learnin' pants, it's time to read the news!
1st Gear: Will The Top Caddy Be The LTS?
Yesterday, we reported that rumors of the demise of a new Cadillac flagship that slots in above the XTS are greatly exaggerated, with GM CEO Dan Akerson himself confirming they're working on a rear-wheel drive sedan flagship we could possibly see at Pebble Beach.
Now, GM Authority reports that based on patent filings, there is a strong likelihood the car will be called the LTS. They theorize that the 7-Series/S-Class/A8/Lexus LS fighter will ride on the upcoming full-size Omega platform, use a V8 with a hybrid variant, employ lightweight materials, and that its debut could see the eventual demise of the XTS. (There is reason to believe that last one won't happen yet, though.) Sounds about right for this segment. We'll see if they surprise us in California next month.
2nd Gear: Lights Out For The Government's Green Loan Program?
The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which floated billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded loans to Nissan, Ford, Tesla, Fisker and another company to produce "green" cars, isn't doing well at all. The last two companies failed, and some $14 billion allocated for the program remains undistributed. No new money has been handed out in years.
In Washington, the House Appropriations Committee says it plans to cut the remaining funds in the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program, in part to pay for more wildfire fighting, the Detroit News reports.
A $24.3 billion spending bill to be voted on Tuesday by an appropriations committee panel includes $1.5 billion in emergency funding for wildfire suppression. “Simply put, this bill makes very difficult choices in an extremely tough budget environment,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, who heads the Interior subcommittee.
We'll keep an eye on this one as it happens, but the death of ATVM — today or another day — seems inevitable.
3rd Gear: Americans Are Buying And They Are Buying Hard
China may be GM's biggest market these days, but for them and Ford, nearly all of their global profits come from North America. That's because domestic car sales are up, and Americans aren't buying the cheap ones — they're going after the expensive cars and big trucks, reports the Detroit Free Press:
Ford and General Motors will report this week that essentially all their global profits are again coming from North America, where low interest rates, affluent baby boomers and Americans’ rekindled passion for pickup trucks have pushed the average price of a new vehicle above $31,000.
Not only are many Americans willing to pay the higher prices, but automakers also are spending much less on rebates, cut-rate financing and other sales lures.
The Freep notes that what's troublesome here, as we have reported in the past, is that the length of loan terms are way up, with 30 percent of new cars loans so far in 2013 at 72 months or longer. Lower payments good, getting underwater from depreciation bad.
4th Gear: Jaaaaag Is Working On A Sedan, SUV And Wagon
Perhaps emboldened by the sexy F-Type above, Jaaaaaag is working on a slew of new entry-level cars that will go on sale in the second half of 2015, Automotive News reports. Though Jaguar will make the official announcement at Frankfurt in September, they will likely include a small sport sedan, SUV and wagon to do battle with cars like the 3-Series and its derivatives. Most likely, they will be all aluminum. (Or as the Brits say, al-loo-MIN-ee-um.)
If you're getting a bad acid flashback to the ill-fated X-Type, worry not. India's Tata has done a great job of investing in Jaguar (and Land Rover) while allowing their engineers to do what they do best. They will spend $4.23 billion each year for the next four years on new products and production facilities for both companies, AN reports. Frankly, I'm excited about the prospect of a competent Jag small sport sedan. And bring us the wagon!
5th Gear: Bentley Will Launch Its SUV In 2016
Are you so excited to see rich people roll around in their Bentley SUVs? Me either. But the car, which has been around in concept form for some time, is for reals coming out in 2016, Automotive News Europe reports.
No technical details are available yet, but it is expected to cost at least $240,000, and Bentley says it will be the most powerful SUV on the market. They expect it will help double the brand's sales by 2018, and it is expected to be a big hit in Russia and China.
Reverse: That's A Lot Of Civics
During the week ending on July 23, 2007, Honda Motor Company Ltd. produces its 6 millionth Civic in North America, according Automotive News.
Despite a rocky start with its 2012 redesign (and the advice of auto journalists like myself who insist that there are better small cars on the market) Americans just can't stop themselves from buying Civics.
Neutral: What Does A Caddy Flagship Need To Be? What do you think Cadillac needs to do with the LTS (or whatever it will be called) to run with the top dogs? They've had a very strong run with the CTS and ATS lately. What kind of kung fu does the flagship need to bring to this fight?
Top Photo Credit: Getty Images