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: Loeb Takes It At The Peak
Yes, the course is now entirely paved, but don't let that take anything away from Loeb's Pikes Peak record. The nine-time WRC robot destroyed the overall record of 9:46.164, set last year on the paved course, by over a minute and a half with a time of 8:13.878.
And how'd our friends in the EV class do? Not as well. Mitsubishi shut down Toyota's TMG EV P002 car at 10:24.301, pulling a 10:21.866 with Masuoka and 10:23.649 with our friend Greg Tracy. Those would both be EV records until… Monster Tajima broke the 10-minute EV mark with a 9:46.530, which would have almost topped the overall record last time.
Tajima was running the custom E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special which has no major automaker backing.
Still, nothing came close to Loeb, proving that gasoline engines are still the best way to win... for now. An EV bike beat everyone in the motorcycle division.
2nd Gear: June Is Going To Continue To Rock For Car Industry
Bloomberg has the chart that shows what analysts think about June's sales. Specifically, they think it rocked like Lapo Elkann with a bunch of coked up tranny prostitutes.
Despite complaints from some Ford execs, analysts expect no impact from Ben Bernanke signaling a slow down in the Fed's aggressive monetary policy. In fact, they say we should continue to see the strongest market since pre-Carpocalypse days continue.
Our favorite analyst, Jessica Caldwell, says she sees the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of car sales at 15.5 million. She also shows Ford leading the way with a 12% year-over-year increase. Chrysler won't be far behind with 10%, Honda at 9.4% and Nissan at 7.3%. Toyota should pull in a respectable 7.0% while GM lags at 1.3% growth.
The worst? Everyone seems to agree Hyundai/Kia and VW will both drop this month. We'll find out soon.
3rd Gear: Heikkinen And Doran Trade X Games Gold
The Global Rallycross portion of the X Games Munich, sponsored by Ford, was also good for Ford drivers with Toomas Heikkinen winning out overall in one heat, edging out Liam Doran in the Mini Countryman, and teammate Tanner Foust, who came in 3rd.
This was the first career win for Heikkinen in either a GRC or X Games event.
Of course, Liam Doran won the other race in the double-header, beating out Ken Block (2nd) and Heikkinen. Ford is destroying in the manufacturer portion of the racing series.
4th Gear: What's Leading Sales Growth? Blame trucks and consumer confidence for our happy happy car sales fun times, says Reuters.
"We think housing is a driver, but also domestic energy production and also the general economic health of states like Texas, which is a big pickup truck state," said Barclays analyst Brian Johnson, who expects an annual sales rate in June of 15.6 million vehicles.
Demand for big pickups is so strong that sales this year will top 2 million for the first time since 2007 if the current pace holds, according to Doug Scott, marketing manager for Ford Motor Co.'s top-selling F-150 truck.
5th Gear: The Scion Problem
Everyone agrees the Scion FR-S is a fantastic car, but can the same be said of any other vehicle in their lineup? The aging xB and xD aren't the best vehicles in any class and the Scion iQ is just strange, although not a bad vehicle in-and-of itself. Scion also came in last in the JD Power and Associates rankings for initial quality.
The problem is that Scion buyers are not as young as they once were. While the average age of Scion customers is still the youngest in the industry, the percentage of Scion buyers who are 34 or younger has been shrinking. And the percentage who are 65 or older has been growing.Today, less than 15 percent of Scion customers are under 35, while almost 14 percent are 65 or older. In 2008, more than 20 percent were under 35 and less than 8 percent were 65 or older.
The numbers look worse the deeper you delve into them. Just over 1.5 percent of Scion customers are between the ages of 18 and 24, while nearly 4 percent are 75 or older. In 2008, more than 2.5 percent were in the 18-to-24 sweet spot and less than 1.9 percent were 75 or older.
The kicker to this article is that Jim Farley is hailed as the man who could save Scion, but of course he works for Ford now.
Reverse: Goodbye T-Bird
Thunderbird sales slowed during the 1990s, and Ford discontinued the Thunderbird in 1997. In 2002, however, in an attempt to capitalize on car buyers' nostalgia, the company launched production of a retro T-Bird, a two-seater convertible that took some of its styling from the original classic. The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus offered an early special edition version in their 2000 Christmas catalog, priced at just under $42,000; their stock of 200 sold out in two hours and 15 minutes. Despite brisk early sales and good reviews, sales of the new Thunderbird couldn't justify continued production, and Ford discontinued it again in mid-2005.
Neutral: What could save Scion? More new product? Refreshed product? Millenials getting jobs?
Photo Credit: Getty Images