National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

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: National Guard Is Done

National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

A report earlier this year stated that the National Guard's sponsorship of NASCAR and IndyCar had resulted in precisely zero new recruits. That wasn't good, so this was only a matter of time.

It has been announced that the Guard's $40 million+ sponsorships of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR and Graham Rahal in IndyCar will end after the current season is done. This is a huge hit, considering the investment, said to be $32 million in NASCAR and $12 million in IndyCar, were some of the highest paying and most sought after sponsorships in the field.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team will likely have no issue finding a replacement sponsor, since he's so marketable and popular that he could sell ketchup to a snow leopard, but IndyCar is another issue. Rahal fought for that sponsorship in the off season, so to see it go away after just one season is a hit to the little team. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

2nd Gear: Takata's Airbag Recall Is Going To Hurt

National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

Takata is the supplier behind the simply massive airbag recall that is hitting automakers all over the world. And they aren't getting off without a penalty.

It appears that Takata is expecting to take a $235 million loss due to the recall. They had predicted a profit of $150 million. That's a big difference. Takata had already taken a massive $440 million charge in the first quarter for the recalls.

Analysts believe Takata will survive, since they do hold about 20 percent of the market. But they might not thrive for a little while longer.

3rd Gear: Chrysler Is Making Money

National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

Chrysler has reported second quarter earnings of $619 million, up 22 percent from a year ago. Not too shabby. Marchionne has also said that if dissent becomes too much, they will wait on their official merger with Chrysler. Even though they already own the company, they won't become the Dutch-English-American-Italian hybrid company as soon as they want.

Stay tuned.

4th Gear: China Is Also Investigating Toyota

National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

Hot on the heels of China's dive into Audi and Chrysler's business practices, the same anti-monopoly task force is said to have started investigating Toyota.

Right now, it's not clear if the probes are part of the same anti-trust investigations that have resulted in sanctions for Audi and Chrysler. If they are, expect big problems for Toyota as well.

5th Gear: Awww, Shucks Toyota, That's Really Nice

National Guard Ends $40+ Million Sponsorship After Recruiting Nobody

The Detroit Institute of Arts has a goal of raising $100 million to prevent the sale of the museum's art during the bankruptcy hearings. Toyota just stepped in to help out by donating $1 million to the cause.

Creditors want Detroit to sell the art since the value is nearly $5 billion (!!!!!!!), but people don't want to see it go since it's part of the city. Toyota's donation is nice start to keep it in the city.

Reverse

On this day in 1944, under the threat of Allied bombing during World War II, the German car manufacturer Volkswagen halts production of the "Beetle," as its small, insect-shaped automobile was dubbed in the international press.

[HISTORY]

Neutral

What does the National Guard ending its motorsports sponsorships say about the landscape of racing? Or our government?