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 that will make you slowly sink into a deep, dark depression about the state of the universe. Right before a cheerful holiday.
1st Gear: This Is Insanity
Bad bad bad bad bad. Not good. BAD! Sad.
But it turns out the Germans – and everyone else that isn’t American – are the ones actually making America great again, and the greatness is only growing. From Reuters:
Years before Donald Trump began promising to bring back good manufacturing jobs by getting tough with U.S. trade partners, such jobs have already been on the rise, largely thanks to foreign companies now cast as villains in Trump’s narrative.
Reuters analysis of federal jobs data shows that out of 656,000 new manufacturing jobs created between 2010 and 2014, two thirds can be attributed to foreign direct investment.
More recent jobs numbers are not yet available, but over $700 billion in foreign capital has poured in over the last two years bringing total foreign investment to $3.7 trillion at the end of 2016, a world record.
While the traditional Big Three are indeed building plants in other countries (along with their plants in the U.S.), foreign companies build a ton of cars here. Mercedes-Benz has a plant in Alabama. BMW has one in South Carolina. Volvo’s building one in South Carolina. Subaru’s in Indiana. Honda’s in Ohio. Volkswagen’s in Tennessee. Toyota’s in Kentucky, and in Texas.
And on and on.
Let’s stop all the jobs coming into the United States, because they are Bad.
2nd Gear: Prosecutors Looking Into Three Managers At Bosch Over Dieselgate
Dieselgate – it’s still a Thing!!!! And this time, that Thing’s tendrils have extended to include three managers at Bosch, Bloomberg says:
While Stuttgart prosecutors didn’t identify the employees, the step indicates that investigators may have found specific evidence in the probe. Previously, prosecutors have said they were looking into the role “unidentified” Bosch employees may have played in providing software that was used to cheat on emission tests.
“We have opened a probe against all three on suspicions they aided fraud in connection to possible manipulation in emissions treatments in VW cars,” Jan Holzner, a spokesman for the agency, said in an emailed statement. “All of them are mangers with the highest in middle management.”
Bosch is also under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, as Bloomberg notes. A move that is probably long overdue. The Bosch name seems to comes up an awful lot in these Dieselgate investigations. A recent year-long study by the University of California, San Diego and Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany even found “strong evidence that both defeat devices were created by Bosch and then enabled by Volkswagen and Fiat for their respective vehicles.”
3rd Gear: You Should Be Able To Get An Electric Car Even If You’re Poor
Just because electric cars tend to be a high-income symbol now, thanks to the luxuries of limited range and because Tesla has positioned its cars that way, doesn’t mean they will always be expensive. Choice of fuel should be available to all drivers, regardless of income. The California Air Resources Board agrees, and is forcing Volkswagen to put a lot of its electric infrastructure (that it must create to atone for its Dieselgate sins) in low-income areas, Reuters reports:
Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) on Thursday told California it was expanding efforts to build electric car infrastructure in poorer communities, responding to regulators who described “shortcomings” in VW’s plan.
The California Air Resources Board in May said that VW’s Electrify America unit needed to spell out how it would spend 35 percent of funds in lower-income areas.
The German automaker has agreed to spend $800 million in California and a total of $2 billion nationwide on clean car infrastructure to atone for diesel emissions cheating.
In a supplemental plan released on Thursday, the VW unit said it aimed to spend 35 percent of investment funds in such areas during the first $200 million, 30-month tranche.
Maybe Dieselgate has been a blessing in disguise?
4th Gear: The McLaren 570 Made McLaren A Ton Of Money
It turns out that making mid-engined supercars for the merely fabulously wealthy, instead of the ludicrously wealthy, can help your bottom line, according to Automotive News:
The automaker reported Thursday that pretax profits for 2016 were 9.2 million pounds ($11.9 million) on revenue of $844.7 million. That’s a 70 percent increase from 2015 profits and marks the fourth consecutive year of profits for the independent McLaren brand.
Much of the company’s higher profit tally in 2016 reflected the popularity of its expanding Sports Series lineup. Demand for the higher-volume vehicles, positioned as the gateway to the McLaren brand, led to total sales of 3,286 in 2016, a 99 percent increase from 1,654 in 2015.
I’m just going to ahead and make a suggestion to McLaren. McLaren, if you don’t like it, you can send it right back.
McLaren... make a Honda S660 competitor.
You’ll make even more money.
5th Gear: Airlines Only Want You To Think They’re On Time
Every so often you’ll see an airline commercial boasting of its on-time rate, and how its planes are so reliable, and how you should fly only that airline if you hate delays. And while there is some variability of on-time performance, airlines can game the system by “padding” schedules, and Delta is the worst offender, the Wall Street Journal notes:
DOT data show Delta has increased its schedule cushion every year since 2009. This year through April, the most recent month available, Delta’s flights have been scheduled about nine minutes longer than they actually took, on average. That’s about a 6% cushion. In 2009, Delta’s schedule employed just two minutes of padding, on average, or 1.4%. That year only 78.6% of Delta flights arrived on-time, according to DOT.
In general, though, airlines are getting more reliable. So there’s that.
On this day in 1953, the first production Corvette is built at the General Motors facility in Flint, Michigan. Tony Kleiber, a worker on the assembly line, is given the privilege of driving the now-historic car off the line.
Neutral: Any long weekend plans?
We’ve got a half day today, and we’re off until Wednesday. Any good driving plans coming your way? We’ve got an NSX.