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 Focus ST Lures In The Affluent
Ford has wanted to lure a more affluent demographic into its dealers. But instead of buying Lincolns, these rich folks are getting in a hatchback with a lot of power.
The Focus ST has been sold to people with an average salary of $127,000, which is basically double that of a regular Focus buyer. That's still lower than a Boss 302, GT500, or a Raptor, but the ST is also a much younger skewing car than those. It also has a lower price of entry. Almost all have bought their ST with the more expensive seats and interior package. This is great for Ford, but can it last?
Ford has the hot flavor of the moment in the hot hatch realm with the ST as buyers have come from VW, Subaru, and others, but what if the new Golf R or another competitor outdoes the little Ford? Will these buyers come back and move to a Fusion? No. They'll buy the new cool car.
2nd Gear: The Tesla Model S Is Out Of Juice, Literally
Tesla revealed a loss during earnings yesterday, which sent the stock plummeting $25 for a huge one day lost. The problem is that Tesla just doesn't have enough batteries to meet demand, which means they can't totally meet estimates.
And the battery shortage won't be fixed until next year when the agreement to get about a bazillion batteries from Panasonic kicks in. It's just another month and a half, ride it out Tesla.
3rd Gear: Mitsubishi Wants to Refocus
A lot of you would probably be surprised to learn that Mitsubishi is still an active company that is in business and selling cars here in America. Cars that aren't called the Evo.
They are refocusing their flagging sales on EVs and SUVs, areas where Mitsubishi has traditionally done well. In the US, they want to sell 150,000 cars by 2017, which means a refresh and refocus on the popular Outlander. They will also try and normalize its shareholder structure so it can partner up with other brands, if needed.
Hopefully this renewed focus doesn't get rid of the rally weapon small sedan we know and love so very much.
4th Gear: Volvo Wants To Sell Cars
Sounds simple enough. Volvo builds cars, they'd like to sell more of them. In the US, their numbers have been on the decline for a while sales have doubled worldwide.
Why don't we buy Volvos?
Volvo is investing $11 billion to change that, with a new XC90 coming as well as a new ad campaign. They also have ambitions to nearly double production to 800,000 cars by 2020. In the US, they want to get back to their peak number of 139,000, which they achieved in 2004.
5th Gear: KBB Heads East
Kelley Blue Book is basically the bible for used car buying. And now it's heading to Chinanow it's heading to Chinanow it's heading to China, where the used car market is poised to take off very, very soon.
KBB will go to China with the help of Chinese site Bitauto and the Chinese Auto Dealers Association in a joint venture. This partnership comes right as the used car market starts to develop in China, with automakers and dealers just starting certified pre-owned programs.
The used market is barely a fraction of the new market, so we'll see how it develops over the next few years. But KBB is in a pretty good spot.
On November 7, 1965, a drag racer from Ohio named Art Arfons sets the land-speed record—an average 576.553 miles per hour—at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. (Record speeds are the average of two runs, one out and one back, across a measured mile.) Arfons drove a jet-powered machine, known as the Green Monster, which he'd built himself out of surplus parts. Between 1964 and 1965—a period that one reporter called "The Bonneville Jet Wars" because so many drivers were competing for the title—Arfons held the land-speed record three different times. He lost it for good on November 15, 1965, when a Californian named Craig Breedlove coaxed his car, the Spirit of America, to an average speed of 600.601 miles per hour.
Does the high priced demo of the Focus ST bode well for Ford? How can they convert those Focus ST buyers into full-on Ford buyers?