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: Well That's A Good Way To Get Noticed
Consumer Reports has a pretty good press operation, having made what they say relevant and interesting beyond a group of people who are paid to make it seem like they're relevant and interesting (see the North American Car & Truck Of The Year for a great example of a feedback loop of self importance).
CR says that Toyota's decision to issue service campaigns and warranty extensions of 2007-2011 Camry Hybrids with power brake defects wasn't enough.
Toyota disagrees, but Consumer Reports is right to say this is a crucial safety defect and, win or lose, it makes for good headlines.
2nd Gear: Honda Is All About The Money Money Money
What's the point of having a car company if you can't make a little money? According to Bloomberg, both an upswing in emerging markets and the sweet, export-friendly yen (CREAM!) will help keep them in the black.
Net income will probably climb 4.5 percent to 600 billion yen ($5.9 billion) in the year ending March 31, the Tokyo-based carmaker said in a statement today. That compares with the 595 billion yen the company previously forecast and lags behind the 631.4 billion yen average of 25 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
This is about what we heard from Nissan yesterday. Toyota is about a week away but I'm expecting similar.
3rd Gear: Can President Obama Get On This?
File this under "Maybe an oligarchical, single-party socialist government ain't so bad."
The WSJ reports that the Chinese government has encouraged Jaguar Land Rover to drop the price of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and F-Type roughly 19%.
To be fair to the Chinese, the price of the F-Type is now a still ridiculous $137K in Americabucks.
Why are they doing this?
China has strengthened its regulation of pricing in recent years under its antitrust law that was enacted in 2008. It has taken aim at a variety of foreign brands ranging from pharmaceutical producers to the baby-formula milk-powder industry, sometimes leading to considerable fines. Another arm of the Chinese government blocked a proposed alliance of European shipping lines last month, marking only the second time it has blocked a corporate combination since its antitrust law went into effect.
4th Gear: Recall Database Coming
Strangely, there's no big database for people who want to see if their car is recalled, which the government is trying to address with a website that'll open on August 20th, searchable by VIN.
Unsurprisingly, automakers are somewhat opposed to this step.
The agency's enforcement chief said in a Federal Register notice Monday that the agency had rejected a bid by the two major auto trade groups, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, to delay the effective date of the rules by several months.
"Neither presents any details as to why it would take manufacturers with existing recall look-up tools longer than the year provided by the agency," NHTSA's associate administrator for enforcement, Nancy L. Lewis, wrote in the notice, saying many automakers are actively working on testing the system.
5th Gear: Can Mary Barra Really Change GM Culture?
Other than what's been reported, I have almost zero insight into Mary Barra's character or thought process, and all of what's been reported feels massaged and manufactured.
But if GM is going to change their culture, the buck stops with her as Daniel Howes points out:
Reality is this: senior management is heavy with GM veterans, starting with Barra and product chief Mark Reuss. The company's directors are proving less aggressive than the crew that led the automaker after its bankruptcy. Akerson is gone from the board, as are hard-headed business types like Ed Whitacre, David Bonderman and Robert Krebs.
Outsiders couldn't fix GM, as Howes points out, so now it's time to give the Insiders a chance. Game on, Insiders.
Reverse: Nice Price
On July 29, 1909, the newly formed General Motors Corporation (GM) acquires the country's leading luxury automaker, the Cadillac Automobile Company, for $4.5 million.
Neutral: What Car Do You Want The Gov To Lower The Price Of?
Since President Obama is a SOCIALIST (at least according to Facebook posts I've seen), we should get the benefit of cheaper cars right? Where should we start?
Photo Credit: AP Images