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: Return Of The Muscular Pony Car Wars
The return of the Challenger and Camaro meant we could run comparison tests like these with the Camaro SS, Mustang GT, and Challenger R/T facing off.
It also meant buyers finally had a choice if they wanted a RWD American muscle/pony car, rather than defaulting to the Mustang. And they didn't default, handing more sales to the Camaro than the Mustang over the last few months.
But, as Chris Woodyard reports, the Mustang outsold the Camaro for the second time in July with 10,263 Mustangs to 7,326 Camaros.
It's more a Cold War than a hot one, with Ford sales down 9.9% to Camaros decline of 20.7%. Curiously, the aging and perhaps soon departed Challenger was up 27.2% to 5,191 cars sold. Will the newly face-lifted Camaro reverse this trend? What about an Ecoboost Mustang? IRS? Barracuda?
Methinks it'll be more interesting in a year.
2nd Gear: Egypt Unrest Screwing With Automakers
Whether you think it was a military coup or the people asserting themselves against an oppressive regime in Egpyt, shit got crazy there last week with President Morsi getting the old heave-ho from a bunch of armed men in uniforms.
Egypt is a small car market, but not an insignificant one (it's the third largest car producing market in Africa reports Automotive News. BMW, Toyota and GM all have operations in the country and all had to shut down last week as the country tried to tear itself apart and put itself back together again.
Toyota continued production but shut down its dealerships, while GM shut down everything.
3rd Gear: Fiat Gets A Little Closer To Buying All Of Chrysler
Fiat wants full control of Chrysler and it's a little closer to doing so today after exercising an option that allows it to raise its stake in the company by 3.3% says Bloomberg.
If you asked yourself "This is still going on?" as you read this headline I wouldn't blame you. It's been a slow process as Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured) tried to get as much of the stock from the UAW's medical trust, which owns the 41.5% that Fiat doesn't have.
The big outstanding issue is over how much the rest of the company is actually worth. The UAW says one number, Fiat says a lower number, somewhere in between a Judge is probably going to have to decide.
4th Gear: Carmakers Going Digital For Ads, But Not Dropping TV
Automakers are huge advertisers, as any of the last two seasons of Mad Men should have convinced, so where they spend their money is a big deal. Automotive News has a nice breakdown of the latest Advertising Age report that shows just that.
The ten biggest car companies spent $6.25 billion on TV last year, up 34% from 2011, and about $5.82 billion on "unmeasured advertising" that includes SEO, online videos, social media and the like.
Jaguar, for instance, spend $6,001 on measured-media for every car it sold in the U.S. last year. Honda spending was up 29% last year across the board. GM spend $3.07 billion advertising cars in the U.S., ahead of every other company in any other category but for Procter & Gamble.
5th Gear: NHTSA Finally Close To Making An Online Database Of Recalls
The way recall notices work is pretty stupid given that we have a thing called the Internet that does pretty decent job of recording, sharing, and modifying information. I'm in the second recall on a Honda I own for what is, basically, the same problem in a different part of the car and I just got a "letter" in the mail for it.
According to David Shepardson, NHTSA is getting close to a database that a new law required them to put in place that tracks all of these.
This will require automakers to submit VINs for all recalled vehicles so people can look up their cars. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says this is a burdensome and costly endeavor, which is of course what they would say.
We'll see if it costs more for them to lobby against the system than it costs for them to actually implement it.
On July 8, 2004, Suzuki Motor Corporation and Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, agree to a settlement in an eight-year-long lawsuit in which the automaker accused Consumer Reports of damaging its reputation with claims that its Samurai sport utility vehicle (SUV) was prone to rolling over.
Neutral: Which Muscle Car Is For You? Stang? Camaro? Challenger?
Photo Credit: Getty Images