This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. 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?
1st Gear: Maybe J.D. Power's IQS Has Run Its Course
I've always found the J.D. Power initial quality survey to be a little odd, but this year's results are going to sound bizarre in light of everything that's happened lately.
As Brent Snavely points out, Chevy was the highest ranking domestic brand and six 2014 GM models were the best in their segments, beating all other automakers. SAY WHAT?
Two things here:
1. New GM products are actually much better, certainly better than Cobalts.
2. The methodology isn't great:
But the survey only measures consumers' impressions of new vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. It doesn't reflect longer-term quality and reliability — J.D. Power conducts separate studies that analyze those. It was based on responses from 86,000 new car buyers who responded to an online survey in May.
Still, it's some kind of win for GM when they really need the press. Jaguar's PR guy emailed us about it it, so he thinks it's important, and I guess I'll point out that Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus finished in the top three. Fiat was at the bottom.
2nd Gear: Barra Survived Testimony
In reading the wrap ups of yesterday's GM testimony on the hill, it seems like people generally agree that Barra held herself better than last time but it wasn't fun.
"The report absolves previous CEOs, the legal department, Ms. Barra, and the GM Board from knowing about the tragedy beforehand," DeGette said. "But that is nothing to be proud of. That the most senior GM executives may not have known about a defect that caused more than a dozen deaths is, frankly, alarming."
In Barra's first interaction with Congress since the release this month of the internal company investigation on the ignition switch, lawmakers made clear many questions remained. They sought to determine whether there was a corporate cover-up at GM, while looking to establish if more safety defects exist in GM cars on the road today. They also questioned how completely the largest U.S. automaker will go in compensating victims of ignition-switch related crashes.
3rd Gear: More Emails
But we learned a little more about just how awful GM has been about this whole thing…
n the emails made public on Wednesday, GM employee Laura Andres in 2005 sent one to engineers warning that a 2006 Chevy Impala Special car she was driving had experienced an engine stall when moving between a paved road and gravel.
She said a technician had advised the problem may be with part of the ignition switch.
"I think this is a serious safety problem, especially if this switch is on multiple programs. I'm thinking big recall," Andres said in an email sent to 11 other GM employees including the vice president of North American engineering.
Andres declined to comment on Wednesday.
4th Gear: The Great Aluminum Race
Ford isn't going to go out and make aluminum, they're going to buy it from someone, and who that someone is has become quite the contest as Reuters reports.
Novelis and Alcoa are the big players, but companies like Constellium NV, Aleris, and Wise Metals Group are all either planning factories or thinking about it.
Why do we care? More competition, lower prices, more capacity for producers.
5th Gear: Le Mans Still Matters
Why do we care about Le Mans? Jason Harper from Bloomberg joined Mate and Travis and has put together eight good reasons, we'll just focus on one.
4. Real cars do extraordinary things. Hey, isn't that a Corvette flying by? Indeed, two yellow entrants were unmistakably Chevrolets. The GTE classes are race cars based on existing road cars, including the C7 Corvette, Ferrari 458 and Aston Martin Vantage.
Seeing the mix of the cars, from the top-tier prototypes to sports cars recognizable from normal streets, scrambled together and careening forward at ludicrous speeds is one of the best parts of watching Le Mans.
Take that to heart, NASCAR.
Reverse: A Day That Will Live In Infamy
After 14 Formula One race car drivers withdraw due to safety concerns over the Michelin-made tires on their vehicles, German driver Michael Schumacher wins a less-than-satisfying victory at the United States Grand Prix on this day in 2005. The race, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, will go down one of the most controversial Formula One racing events in history.
Neutral: Should We Just Ignore The JD Power IQS?
In an era when data is so accessible is it really that instructive? Or do you agree?
Photo Credit: Getty Images