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: The Ride Sharing Wars Get Ugly
Since we're in the middle of a summer slump of auto-related news, today's top story comes to us from San Francisco, where app-based ride share service Lyft has accused its arch-rival Uber of some dirty tricks.
It seems Lyft alleges Uber employees booked and then canceled some 5,500 rides since October, causing confusion and backlogs in their system. From CNN Money:
Lyft claims to have cross-referenced the phone numbers associated with known Uber recruiters with those attached to accounts that have canceled rides. They found, all told, 5,560 phantom requests since October 3, 2013.
There was nothing to suggest that Uber's corporate office commissioned the canceled rides or even that they were aware of them.
One Lyft passenger, identified by seven different Lyft drivers as an Uber recruiter, canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10. That user's phone number was tied to 21 other accounts, for a total of 1,524 canceled rides.
Uber has been accused of this before with another taxi-based app in New York. But the company responded by implying "the people identified by Lyft could have been average passengers looking to make money, as opposed to professional Uber recruiters."
2nd Gear: Jaguar Land Rover Makes That Money For Tata
After India's Tata Motors took over Jaguar and Land Rover, they did something previous owner Ford was unable to do: they dumped a ton of money into them. That investment has showed in their products, and it's showing in their profits now, too.
Tata's profit surged to 54 billion rupees ($882 million) in the fiscal first quarter ended June 30 from 17.26 billion rupees a year ago, the Mumbai-based company reported.
Earnings were boosted by contributions from Jaguar Land Rover, where pre-tax profit more than doubled to 924 million pounds ($1.6 billion) from 415 million pounds during the same period last year.
Automotive News says Tata just tripled its first-quarter net income on the strength of surging Jaguar Land Rover retail sales. In particular, the Range Rover line and Jaguar F-Type have been a big hit, and now all eyes will be on the Jaguar XE to continue the streak.
3rd Gear: China Cracks Down On Pricing
It must be nice to be the Chinese government, which can control the country's economy by simply telling corporations what to do. For years the target of their ire has been automakers and auto parts supplier companies, and now Shanghai GM, a venture between General Motors and SAIC Motor Corp, is under the microscope as well.
They are not the first company to be targeted by the country's price-controlling National Development and Reform Commission. From Bloomberg:
China's main economic planner, which has primary responsibility for oversight of pricing, has pressured carmakers in the past month to cut prices as part of an investigation into the auto industry that started in late 2011. The NDRC has said the probe was meant to ensure market order and protect consumer interests.
Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Chrysler Group, Toyota and Honda have announced price cuts of vehicles or spare parts since July in the wake of an investigation by the NDRC into more than a dozen automakers.
4th Gear: VW Is Doing Swell In China And Europe Though
Much Internet-ink on The Morning Shift is spent bemoaning Volkswagen's troubles in the U.S. I won't go into them again here, but the good news for the brand is that gains in Europe and China are offsetting weak sales in the U.S. Per Reuters:
Sales of VW brand-badged cars and sport-utility vehicles rose to 491,600 last month, compared with 472,800 a year ago, Wolfsburg-based VW said on Tuesday. Seven-month sales were up 3.8 percent to 3.56 million vehicles.
So that's good.
5th Gear: Settle Your Ignition Switch Lawsuits Already, GM
I thought maybe I could get through one Morning Shift without some GM recall fiasco news, but I guess not. A federal judge said Monday he will encourage GM to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits over the ignition switch defect. From the AP:
U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman told dozens of lawyers at a hearing that he'll be careful not to interfere with the work of a bankruptcy judge who is deciding if the Detroit-based automaker's 2009 bankruptcy protects it from economic damages claims.
[...] He said he planned "to encourage settlement as much as possible" once any potential payouts were better defined after rulings by the bankruptcy court. Lawsuits were filed after General Motors Co. in February began recalling 2.6 million of the cars, mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions.
Reverse: I Should Watch That Movie Again
On this day in 1988, director Francis Ford Coppola's critically acclaimed biopic "Tucker: The Man & His Dream" premieres in U.S. theaters, starring Jeff Bridges as the brash Chicago businessman-turned-car-designer Preston Tucker who shook up 1940s-era Detroit with his streamlined, affordable "Car of Tomorrow."
Neutral: What's your take on Uber?
Way of the future, or assholes who undermine a system that's been in place for years and play dirty with competitors?