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?
1st Gear: Chrysler Turns $507 Million Profit
Chrysler has been on a bit of a roll lately, and that has just been verified by a $507 million profit for the second quarter of 2013. That's a good thing. It's also a 16 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago.
Naturally, Sergio Marchionne is rather pleased about this, but they aren't resting on their laurels.
Here's part of what he said in a letter to employees:
The competition has noticed our resurgence, and our rivals keep getting better, so we need to get better at a much faster pace. Our values must continue to guide our choices, including the willingness to engage in competition and to better ourselves every day. I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication, which have created the conditions for our profitable growth. We must continue to keep our heads down and pay attention to the fundamentals on all fronts; the second half of this year is full of challenges and it will require a world-class level of execution.
For the rest of 2013, they have actually lowered estimates of sales, saying that their vehicle deliveries will be at the low side of the 2.6 to 2.7 million vehicles that they said they'd sell. Income projection are now also between $1.7 to 2.2 billion for the year, not the solid $2.2 billion they had earlier stated.
Still, for a company that was in the doldrums not too long ago, this is positive news.
2nd Gear: But They Might Have A Cherokee Problem
This news isn't as positive. Chrysler had planned a media drive of the new Cherokee for early next month in Seattle. We were invited to go, and were looking forward to it.
That event has just been postponed, and it isn't because of weather or some sort of Phish concert in Seattle. It's because Jeep is making more powertrain tweaks to the Cherokee.
They say it isn't a big deal and that the cars will be available for media to drive and people to buy in early September, but this is the first media drive I've heard of being cancelled/postponed because of the car itself.
It does sound like the tweaks to calibration of the drivetrain are rather minor and will increase durability and is a good thing for people buying the car. But if they're still making these tweaks just weeks out, maybe they were too ambitious with the car in the first place.
3rd Gear: Zetsche Under Pressure
Diester Zetsche has issued directives at Mercedes to double sales to two million units, and that's because Merc has gone from number one amongst German competitors to third behind Audi and BMW.
Merc has stumbled a bit in the Chinese market and makes less profit on its cars than Audi or BMW, even though they cost more. Zetsche says the company will refresh nearly every model in the next two years, introduce 13 new models in the next decade, and work to fix its problem in China.
Still, if he fails, this could be the end of his long reign at Merc.
4th Gear: Ford Might Need Your C-Max Back, Please
I recently rode in my first Ford C-Max taxi here in Manhattan, and found that it was a rather agreeable experience. Good thing it didn't crash.
33,000 C-Maxes are being recalled because they do not meet standard in head protection in crashes. The cars will have a new 'energy absorber' installed in the headliner to presumably make your head less likely to get all banged up if it hits.
5th Gear: Hey, Here's A Suzuki Concept Truck Thing
The Frankfurt Motor Show is coming up soon, and for it Suzuki is bringing a concept truck called the i-V4. No, we don't get Suzukis in America anymore. So why should you care?
I always thought that the Suzuki Vitara was cool. I know, I know. I think this is a Vitara replacement with a bunch of LEDs. I like it, I thought you would too. you're welcome.
On this day in 2003, the last of 21,529,464 Volkswagen Beetles built since World War II rolls off the production line at Volkswagen's plant in Puebla, Mexico. One of a 3,000-unit final edition, the baby-blue vehicle was sent to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered.
What do you think of Jeep postponing the Cherokee event? Problem or non-issue?