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 you need to know.
1st Gear: 98 Percent Ain’t Bad
We already touched on this a bit last night, but I want to delve into it a little more. When Tesla started taking refundable deposits for the Model 3 before anyone in the public had even seen the car, there was some consternation from the nether regions of our comments filled with bad cliches about “drinking the Kool-Aid” and “blah blah blah ARGLE BARGLE people will want a refund when they see it boo hiss BARF.”
But when the car made its debut, it actually looked good. And now we have firm numbers on how many actually did cancel their orders, and it’s really still not bad. 4,200 reservations were canceled because of apparently erroneous duplicate reservations, and only 8,000 were canceled because people decided they didn’t want one anymore. That leaves 373,000 reservations still on the books, for those who want math.
Which means 98 percent of people who plunked down a deposit for the car sight unseen actually saw it, went “yes, this is good,” and are (so far!) satisfied with their collective decisions.
Of course, there’s still a big unknown factor to this. Maybe once people drive it, the Model 3 will be crap. Or maybe it will smell funny. Or maybe it’ll judge you for the bad shirts you wear. The clock’s not over on this one, but already Tesla looks like it’s making out okay on it.
2nd Gear: Fiat Chrysler Is Recalling More Than 400,000 Cars
392,464 Jeep Wranglers are being recalled because a piece known as a clockspring could go bad. It seems that this sort of recall is, in one of those extremely rare circumstances, genuinely and solely a Jeep thing:
An investigation by FCA US determined excessive exposure to dust and dirt – consistent with extensive off-road driving or driving with a vehicle’s top and/or doors removed – may compromise the clockspring and eventually prevent driver-side airbag deployment in a crash.
I still maintain that all cars should have removable doors.
Fiat’s recalling a further 39,217 manual-transmissioned non-turbo Fiat 500s for clutch problems.
3rd Gear: GM Overdid It With The Fuel Economy
This isn’t exactly a crime worthy of the Hague, but GM overstated its miles per gallon numbers on some of its chunky crossovers by an MPG or two. Since everyone’s a bit touchy on things like fuel economy right now (coughthanksVolkswagencough), the company’s going to nip this one in the bud and just start compensating owners, according to Automotive News:
General Motors is hashing out a plan to compensate nearly 170,000 owners of 2016 model large crossovers purchased with window stickers that overstated their fuel economy, just as the first lawsuit over the matter was filed in federal court.
GM wants to respond quickly to soothe hard feelings among customers for what it has called an “inadvertent error” that led it to publish incorrect EPA ratings for the ’16 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, overstating their fuel economy by 1 to 2 mpg, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.
How much money? No one knows just yet. I imagine it’ll be literally some dollars.
4th Gear: Germany Actually Seems To Have A Good Electric Car Idea
German car companies have been in no way leaders of the electric car trend, but the German government actually seems to have a good idea on this one. Rather than just throw money at consumers (though it is doing that, partially), it’s throwing money at the infrastructure instead (via Bloomberg, emphasis mine):
A third of the money will go for rebates for buyers of all-electric and hybrid vehicles, and the rest will fund a nationwide network of roadside battery chargers, said Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – the big hinderance to electric adoption isn’t price, it’s charging. Build charging stations all over, or miles better yet, incredibly superfast direct current charging stations all over, and suddenly you get rid of a lot of the range anxiety surrounding electric vehicles.
The country wants 15,000 charging stations on primary roads, which is a nice start but still probably nowhere near enough.
5th Gear: Detroit’s Population Rank Is Back To Where It Was in 1850
Ever wish you could go back in time, pre-Civil War, and move to a frontier town? Try and see if you could make it living a hardscrabble life with nothing but future, promise, and cheap real estate ahead of you? Now you can, since the Detroit News says that the city is ranked back where it was in olden days:
For the first time since before the Civil War, Detroit is not among the nation’s 20 most populous cities.
Detroit’s population was 677,116 as of last summer, a loss of 3,107 residents from the previous year, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The last time Detroit wasn’t a Top 20 city by population was the 1850 census, when it ranked 30th, according to the bureau. In 1940, it was the fourth largest city behind New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
We should all move to Detroit.
Los Angeles, California, is the first stop on a cross-country road show launched on this day in 2007 by Smart USA to promote the attractions of its “ForTwo” microcar, which it had scheduled for release in the United States in 2008.
Neutral: What Do You Think The Final Number Of Tesla Model 3 Cancellations Will Be?
Five more? 5,000 more? ALL OF THEM? Wild, unreasonable, and baseless speculation goes in the comments below.