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: Dieselgate Gets Worse
While Volkswagen may be denying the EPA’s latest allegation that 3.0-liter diesel V6 engines were also cheating on emissions, both Porsche and now Audi—which also use those motors in various models—have ordered dealers to stop selling cars that have them. From Automotive News:
“We are working intensively to resolve this matter as soon as possible. Customers may continue to operate their vehicles normally,” Porsche said.
Audi’s stop-sale order covers 2013-2015 models of the Q7 equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6 TDI engine. It also includes various 2014-2016 model year A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5 vehicles with those engines.
No recall is planned, Audi said in an advisory to U.S. dealerships sent on Tuesday.
“Volkswagen Group of America is working with regulators and will take all steps necessary to remedy any issues, including a potential emissions recall,” said the advisory obtained by Automotive News. “This is an emissions matter and not a safety issue. Owners of these vehicles do not need to take any action at this time.”
That’s a lot of cars. By far Audi is the brand hit hardest by this latest headache from the ongoing diesel crisis. Update: And as our friends at TTAC pointed out, Audi’s also removed the TDI models from their online configurator.
2nd Gear: Now’s A Good Time To Buy A GTI Though
If VW’s ethical lapses don’t bother you much, and you’re undeterred by the possibility of gasoline engines being embroiled in this scandal, incentives on the cars it can sell are really insane right now. Once more from Automotive News:
VW ramped up incentive spending to spark showroom traffic last month. Per-unit incentive spending jumped more than 50 percent from Oct. 2014 to a forecasted $4,046 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.
VW’s October spiffs included discounts of $2,000 for repeat VW buyers, low- or no-interest financing and low-payment leases. VW also offered hefty dealer-cash bonuses of up to $2,750 for gasoline Passat midsize sedans, $2,250 for gasoline Jetta compacts and up to $2,750 for the Tiguan compact crossover.
The surge in spiffs helped lead other VW nameplates to big gains. Passat midsize sedan sales jumped 25 percent, GTI hot-hatch volume rose 46 percent and Tiguan compact crossover deliveries more than doubled to 4,815 vehicles, its best month on record, VW said.
3rd Gear: Honda Drops Takata
File this one to “about damn time”: on the heels of the record fine against supplier Takata by the U.S. government over their unsafe airbags, Honda has announced it will no longer use their components. Via The Detroit News:
Takata Corp. shares fell the most in more than a year in Tokyo trading after Honda Motor Co. said it’s aware of evidence suggesting the supplier manipulated air bag inflator test data and will no longer use the components in new models under development.
Takata dropped as much as 20 percent, the biggest intraday decline since October 2014, while the benchmark Topix index gained 1.7 percent as of 12:49 p.m. in Tokyo trading. Honda, which is Takata’s biggest customer, said it was “deeply troubled” by the supplier’s behavior after Takata agreed to pay a $70 million penalty and face as much as $130 million more in fines to its U.S. regulator.
4th Gear: SO MANY CARS
If trends continue, Americans will have bought 18.24 million new cars by the year’s end. Gah! From The Detroit Free Press:
Auto sales are on a record pace buoyed by strong consumer demand, low interest rates and fuel prices, as well as a strong array of new vehicles to entice them.
U.S. sales were up 13.6% in October compared with a year ago with 1.46 million vehicles sold, according to Autodata. Importantly, the sales pace is a breakneck 18.24 million units, which is an impressive follow-up to September’s 18.1 million pace. You have to go back to 2000 to find two consecutive months with an adjusted sales pace that tops 18 million.
5th Gear: Steve Jobs Considered The iCar
Here’s an interesting story from Bloomberg: even Steve Jobs considered the possibility of an Apple Car, enough to discuss with trusted employees what it would possibly be like. But that was in 2008, a very different time for both Apple and the U.S. auto industry.
Jobs and Fadell, who had collaborated on the iPod and iPhone, swapped ideas about car designs on multiple occasions. “We had a couple of walks,” Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: “If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?”
Jobs decided not to move forward at the time. The discussions took place when the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse, and Apple was busy trying to establish the iPhone as a mainstream product. “The Detroit auto industry was almost dead,” Fadell said in the interview, which airs Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Bloomberg TV. “It was fun to kick those ideas around.”
Reverse: The Oil Crisis Gets Worse