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: Ford Learns A Lesson
When the financial crisis hit the US in the last decade, GM and Chrysler needed bail outs from the US government in order to survive. Ford mortgaged everything, slashed tons of jobs, and came out the other side looking rosy.
Their European operation has been struggling for a few years, and now they're applying those lessons to that side of the pond. Guess what? It's working.
What Ford has done in Europe is close some plants, slash jobs, cut production, and then refresh as many cars as possible as well as introduce new models. The result is in a down European car sales environment, Ford actually gained marketshare the last two months while others declined. Looks like everything is coming up Milhouse.
2nd Gear: The Lease Drought Is Over For GM
Back in the Carpocalypse when GM declared bankruptcy, most car buyers decided that it might not be the best time to lease a car from the beleaguered manufacturer. So they didn't. The problem is that lack of confidence cut off a very lucrative revenue stream for the manufacturer.
After the crisis, people started leasing again, but the real payoff comes at the end of the term, when they turn in the car and hopefully lease another from the same dealer. And guess what? Those 36 month lease terms from right after the crisis are coming to an end, which means customers are coming back to GM showrooms now. This is a good thing, and could be a new source of income for GM over the coming year. We'll have to keep an eye on it.
3rd Gear: Lexus Wants To Whip It, Whip It Good
Lexus wants to appeal to the hip young kids. What do the hip young kids like? Devo. They like Devo.
The new Lexus IS will be getting ads made under the guidance of Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo (and the writer of the theme to Rugrats) and Jonas Akerlund, the man who directed Madonna's Ray of Light video. That means the Lexus IS will appeal to people who just can't get enough of 1997.
The first ad is above. I think it's weird.
4th Gear: Automakers Being Forced To Sell Electric Cars
States want people to buy electric cars, so they set regulations that say a certain percentage of cars sold must be zero emissions. The people that live in these states don't necessarily want to buy electric cars. Automakers don't necessarily want to spend the exorbitant funds to develop a car nobody will buy.
But too bad they have to.
Here's an example. Right now, California, New York, and New Jersey are requiring that zero emission cars become 15 percent of new car sales by 2025. That doesn't sound bad, but then you look at the numbers that are being sold right now. Honda has sold a total of 83 of its electric Fit. TOTAL. Their goal was 1,100 sales over two years. That's not close to any percent. Right now, of the 6.4 million cars sold this year so far, one third of one percent have been electric. That's nothing.
Automakers don't need to freak out quite yet, but if consumer attitudes towards electric cars don't change soon, then we could be facing situations where automakers that don't sell electric vehicles might have to pull out of certain states in the coming decade. I sincerely doubt something like that will happen, but it isn't totally out of the realm of possibility.
5th Gear: This Weekend In Racing
There were a number of motorsports on this weekend. We like motorsports. Here's what happened in those motorsports.
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Milwaukee Indy Fest in a pretty convincing way, also bolstering his championship defense. Gustavo Yacaman set a Daytona Prototype on fire at Mid Ohio in the Grand Am race which was won by Action Express racing. Greg Biffle won the Sprint Cup race at Michigan as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s engine blew, Jimmie Johnson's tire blew, and Kasey Kahne also blew a tire while leading, making a rough day for Hendrick Motorsports.
Viewers across the nation are glued to their television screens on this day in 1994, watching as a fleet of black-and-white police cars pursues a white Ford Bronco along Interstate-405 in Los Angeles, California. Inside the Bronco is Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson, a former professional football player, actor and sports commentator whom police suspected of involvement in the recent murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
What do you think about the requirements to sell a certain number of zero emissions vehicles? Is it a good idea or just dumb now? Should there be regulations once the tech catches up?