Audi Is Killing It

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?

On Wednesday, I commented in TMS about the Hennessey Venom GT v. Bugatti Veyron SS world record issue and noted that I didn't think the two cars would find the same buyer.

I'm apparently very wrong. Per Matt Farah:

Point of reference here Matt, according to Hennessey, of the eight customer cars out there so far, three of the owners also have Veyrons in their garages. The target customers aren't as far off as you would think.

Lesson learned.


1st Gear: Audi Has Best Opening Quarter Ever

Audi Is Killing It

Our appreciation of Audi's cars continues to grow, as do their sales. This last quarter they delivered 369,500 units, which is the most they've ever sold in a first quarter of the year.

Leading this growth is the United States and China, which both had record quarters of growth. There were 102,810 cars in Chinese hands last quarter, the most they've ever sold there. Compare that to 34,186 in all of the United States. Europe still remains their second largest market, but economic conditions there mean even a company with a hot streak like Audi is only delivering 0.7% more cars than last year.

I tend to think of Audi's cars more than their SUVs and crossovers, but the Q3 and Q5 make up nearly half of the company's sales in markets like Russia.

2nd Gear: Volvo Needs New Cars

Audi Is Killing It

Volvo's having the inverse experience so far this year for many of their markets, experiencing a year-over-year drop in sales in the U.S. and a global drop in march of 10%, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The problem? First, they don't build a competitive small car ( the Volvo C30 we reviewed is on the way out). Formerly, Ford and Volvo shared a small car platform but now that Geely owns the company that deal is off. Second, their big XC90 SUV is now badly in need of a redesign (sales have dropped 39% year-over-year).

The one bright spot is China, where they've seen a nice jump in sales (unless they're making those numbers up). Here's hoping they continue to embrace their Volvoness and push forward more cars we like as much as the new S60.

3rd Gear: The Towing Cold War Continues

Audi Is Killing It

Ford, GM, and Dodge all claim insane towing capacity. Ford says their Ford F-150 will tow 600,000 pounds, causing GM to claim the Silverado will tow 3 million tons, prompting Ram to say the new Ram could haul The Death Star. Or something like that.

What's the truth? There are SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards for testing that everyone agreed upon, but some bright marketer realized that by not participating in the towing standards they could claim the largest number by their own, made up towing test.

The only one following those standards? Toyota, which claims a universally supported towing capacity that's nevertheless lower than everyone else. According to Automotive News, none of the brands are going to change to the standard until at least 2015, and none of them are going to agree to it unless all the other brands also agree.

4th Gear: GM Is Cutting Jobs In Australia

Audi Is Killing It

Car enthusiasts generally agree that some of the General's best cars are made in Australia. They're big, RWD cars produced under the Holden name. Sadly, Americans can't typically buy those Australian cars… and Australians aren't buying enough of them to make up for changing currency.

As The Detroit News reports, weak demand for the Holden Cruze (not exactly a big RWD sedan) and the strength of the Australian dollar is leading to job cuts.

Hopefully, you've learned over the last few weeks how big a role currency can play in how your local auto industry is doing. A strong Australian dollar means it's now 60% more expensive to build a car in the country. That, plus low tariffs, makes it a better deal to import a car from somewhere like Japan as opposed to building it locally.

5th Gear: Subaru's New Design Language Is "Dynamic Solidity"

Audi Is Killing It

Every automaker has to have a name for their design language, usually borrowed from some made up language that sounds like English Six-Sigma speak Google Translated to Korean and then back to English.

Example? The Subaru WRX Concept is now incorporating "Dynamic Solidity." Not to be confusing with Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" or the Lexus' "fluid precision."

Whatever you call it, it looks great, and we're happy to hear that it's going to inform the rest of the lineup.

Reverse: The 1979 Rebel 500

On this day in 1979, in the Rebel 500 event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, drivers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty swap the lead four times in a last-lap battle before Waltrip finally wins the race.

The race also featured a pit stop mishap in which driver David Pearson, following a miscommunication with his crew, drove away with only two of his four tires properly changed. Pearson's car flipped over and had to be removed from the race. The embarrassing incident led to Pearson, who was a top driver, being released from his team, Wood Brothers.

[HISTORY]

Neutral: Do You Care About Design Language KODO, Nagara, Hi I'm Dave! We talk about design language as auto writers all the time, but does the average enthusiast really care?

Photo Credit: Getty Images