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: America!
With all this talk of an inevitable slow down in car sales, we're clearly not there yet as the big number from yesterday's car sales is: 17.5 million. That's the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), per the Freep, which is the first time in eight years that number has been above 17 million.
Analysts had expected somewhere around 16.6 million as the SAAR, which means that expectations were beat by nearly a million cars. Now, that doesn't mean a million more cars were sold (there were about 1.58 million cars sold in total), just that taken as a year and adjusted for seasonality the amount of cars sold over 12 months is more than expected.
It's good news, and you can thank low interest rates, an improving/stable economy, and a lot of advertising.
2nd Gear: SUV/Trucks/Crossovers Lead The Way!
Winners and losers last month can generally be classified as "people who make lots of crossover/suvs and everyone else." Jeep was way up at 48.7%, as was Toyota and Audi.
Toyota's improvement was somewhat unexpected and heavily bolstered by the Toyota RAV-4.
And while GM faltered overall with a weak August, GMC did well with a 10.4% year over year increase. Big SUV sales are also helping out GM as they now hold four of the top five spots thanks to quartet of new vehicles (well, two brands and two lengths on one new platform). Overall, full-size SUV sales are up 23.4% year-over-year and that's with every non GM full-sizer sinking.
Therefore, while sales may have leveled off at GM, you can expect it was a profitable month for the truck division.
3rd Gear: How Is GM Going To Fix Cadillac?
Here's the thing with Cadillac. They make great cars, but luxury buyers want at least better-than-mediocre crossovers and the SRX is, at best, mediocre. Sure the Escalade is great, but that's never going to be a real volume play.
They also, as Bloomberg points out, probably overpriced the new CTS. The solution?
Besides putting out a new SRX and a luxury flagship, they're going to have to look at those prices:
“There is a tremendous growth in the luxury segment of the world car market and we are currently not capitalizing on this growth to the same degree that we hoped for,” Ellinghaus said last month at a resort near Carmel, California. “The price is definitely an argument” when trying to break through to target buyers who aren’t yet considering Cadillacs.
Still, average transaction prices are up and, you know, they're not Lincoln.
4th Gear: Also, CUE Sucks
Having automakers design consumer electronic interfaces is like having Apple engineers design an engine cooling system. It sounds like a kind of neat idea and then your gorilla glass radiator cracks and your car starts spitting coolant everywhere.
Thus, the high-tech systems in most cars — even though largely based on platforms created by tech companies — massively disappoint people.
As America's happiest newsman Jerry Hirsch reports from a recent J.D. Power study:
Technology issues are now the most prevalent type of problem with new vehicles, according to the J.D. Power report on consumer reaction to the features on their newly purchased cars.
The biggest complaint? Built-in voice recognition systems.
Bluetooth connectivity is the second-most frequently reported problem, followed by wind noise and navigation problems.
The problems abound even in a climate of high consumer demand for increasing levels of technology in new vehicles, the report said.
INSERT LANA KANE "YEEEP" GIF HERE.
5th Gear: Maybe People Don't Like Working For Carlos Ghosn
We wondered earlier this week if the bigger news of Andy Palmer's departure from Nissan to Aston Martin was about Carls Ghosn's inability to keep talented deputies and now it seems The Wall Street Journal is wondering the same thing:
Still, the revolving doors in the management suites at Renault and Nissan have raised concerns about the ability of Mr. Ghosn, who is 60 years old, to groom a successor and retain his best managers.
Analysts said Mr. Ghosn's long hold on power, along with his top-down management style, might have frustrated deputies and potential successors.
People want to know when you're leaving, which is why I've promised my deputies I'd leave as soon as Pontiac reintroduces the G8 Sport Truck as something I can buy.
Reverse: A Day That Will Live In Infamy
On September 4, 1957—"E-Day," according to its advertising campaign—the Ford Motor Company unveils the Edsel, the first new automobile brand produced by one of the Big Three car companies since 1938. (Although many people call it the "Ford Edsel," in fact Edsel was a division all its own, like Lincoln or Mercury.) Thirteen hundred independent Edsel dealers offered four models for sale: the smaller Pacer and Ranger and the larger Citation and Corsair.
Neutral: Why Do You Think The Car Market Is So Strong? Is it the economy stupid? Better cars? Better rates?
Photo Credit: Getty Images