Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: California May Allow A ‘Partial Fix’ For Cheating VWs
Today on the Morning Shift, aka What’s Going On With Dieselgate These Days, we learn California “may allow partially-repaired Volkswagen diesel cars” to be road legal because a “full fix” might not even be possible at all. Via Reuters:
“Our goal has been to fix the vehicles and return them to their certified configuration as expeditiously as possible,” said Todd Sax, chief of the California Air Resources Board enforcement division. “Unfortunately, this may not be possible.”
He said he does not believe there is a fix available that would allow the cars to comply with either the emissions standards or the onboard diagnostic requirements.
“We will have to decide what the best approach is to dealing with these vehicles, and one of the options potentially would be to accept something less than a full fix,” he said.
Of course, we don’t know what the fix plan is at any level, because VW hasn’t disclosed that yet as it continues talks with CARB and the Environmental Protection Agency.
2nd Gear: An Airbag Recall Not Involving Takata
General Motors ordered a stop sale on almost 2,000 new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, as well as the new Chevrolet Malibu, over defective airbags. And not ones made by Takata for a change! That’s nice. Reuters:
Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the second stage of the driver frontal airbag may not deploy properly in certain high-speed crashes,” GM said in a notice to its dealers. “If the vehicle is involved in a high-speed crash that triggers the second stage deployment of the driver frontal air bag, the second stage of the inflator may not fill the air bag as completely and as quickly as designed, which could lead to an increased risk of injury to the driver.
3rd Gear: Sanders Claims A Win In Michigan
I bring this up in Morning Shift only because the auto bailout, once again, became a campaign issue in the Michigan primary.
Sanders upended public opinion polls and conventional wisdom in Michigan, where he packed college arenas and other venues in the past week while touting his message of change and promise of “political revolution.”
Speaking shortly before 11 p.m. while the race remained too close to call, Sanders said the night had already been an “enormous success” because he was bound to at least capture a sizable share of the 130 Michigan delegated that were up for grabs.
“This is a critically important night. We came from 30 points down in Michigan and we’re seeing the same kind of come-from-behind momentum all across America,” he said a statement after the race was called. “Not only is Michigan the gateway to the rest of the industrial Midwest, the results there show that we are a national campaign.”
On the GOP side, Trump emerged victorious, after promises he would stop Ford from building cars in Mexico. Somehow.
4th Gear: Inrix To Fight Android Auto And Apple CarPlay
Ever heard of Inrix? If not, you might soon—in your car. It just acquired another software company with the goal of making inroads into your dashboard. Via The Detroit Free Press:
Two Seattle-based companies forging a niche in connected-car data and software are combining in a deal that aims to compete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Inrix, a traffic-mapping and connected-car software developer, is acquiring OpenCar, which develops a platform for in-vehicle software apps that can be used across different automakers.
Terms of the deal between two privately held companies were not disclosed.
“By 2020, more than a quarter billion connected cars will be on the road,” said Brian Mistele, CEO of Inrix. “By acquiring OpenCar, Inrix is in the driver’s seat to provide those connected services and expand into the digital dashboard with easy-to-use applications designed especially for next-generation automotive experiences.”
5th Gear: Electric Tax Breaks In Germany
U.S. buyers have enjoyed tax incentives on electric cars for years. Now, in order to boost EV sales there too, Germany may do the same, Bloomberg reports:
With Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble opposed to plans by Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel to offer consumers a cash rebate of as much as 5,000 euros ($5,475), tax incentives are emerging as a likely compromise, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing details of talks within Merkel’s coalition. It’s unclear whether any deal would consist only of tax breaks or combine the two approaches. A Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment.
“Cash rebates cost billions, which is hardly feasible in view of the budget situation,” Peter Ramsauer, a member of Merkel’s party bloc who chairs the German parliament’s economic affairs committee, said in an interview. In contrast, “making part of the purchase price tax-deductible is an incentive that can make sense,” said Ramsauer, a former transportation minister in Merkel’s administration.