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: It’s Not That Bad!
The number of cars whose carbon emissions Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) understated is far fewer than feared, it said on Wednesday, providing some relief for the automaker as it battles a wider diesel-emissions scandal affecting 11 million cars worldwide.
Volkswagen said only about 36,000 vehicles were affected, far fewer than the 800,000 for which it said last month it had understated CO2 emissions and consequently their fuel usage.
“Only a small number of the model variants of new cars will have the catalog (CO2) figure slightly adjusted,” VW said.
The affected cars are mainly in Europe. Happy days are here again!
2nd Gear: Dieselgate Lawsuits To Be Heard In California
Speaking of Volkswagen, the venue for the civil suits related to Dieselgate will be the Northern District of California, which is San Francisco. Here’s Reuters again:
The panel noted that while the Volkswagen litigation is “international in scope,” nearly a fifth of the cases filed so far were brought in California, while the California Air Resources Board played a key role in uncovering VW’s emissions fraud in 482,000 2.0-liter VW cars.
The order will apply to more than 500 lawsuits that accuse Volkswagen of equipping certain “clean diesel” models with software that enabled them to cheat on emissions tests. The panel deferred on deciding whether the consolidated litigation should include several securities lawsuits against Volkswagen, as well as a case in Montana that says owners of VW vehicles should not be required to make payments on current loans.
Both the U.S. Department of Justice and Volkswagen wanted the lawsuits heard in Detroit, but that’s not happening now.
3rd Gear: Consumers Are Optimistic, And Connected!
The world may be going completely to shit, but the consumers who took part in Ford’s annual trends report are optimistic about cars, the market, technology and many other things. Here’s The Detroit News:
“In our four years of researching and compiling consumer trends, never have we seen optimism, resilience and self-reliance figure so prominently,” Sheryl Connelly, Ford global trend and futuring manager, said in a statement. “It gives us hope for what the future holds, and we see that same creativity and enterprising spirit driving innovation in every part of our business at Ford.”
Among its findings, the report discovered more than half of millennials agree “that standing out is more important than fitting in — revealing an increased focus on self-reliance and purposefulness.”
It also said consumers are eager to spread good news instead of bad. It found the elderly are trying to enhance their quality of life and do things like continue to drive. And it looked at new technologies and demands on time are creating a need to be connected at all times — even behind the wheel.
4th Gear: NACTOY Finalists Are Mostly FURRIN’ CARS
If you give a shit about car awards (you shouldn’t because they’re stupid, buy whatever you want) you may care that the North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists were announced the other day. And guess what? Five of the six contenders are FURNER BRANDS! Via The Detroit Free Press:
Five of the six finalists, announced Tuesday at an event hosted by the Automotive Press Association, are made by foreign-owned automakers.
Finalists for 2016 Car of the Year are: Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Civic and Mazda MX-5 Miata.
On the truck side, they are: Honda Pilot, Nissan Titan XD and Volvo XC90.
5th Gear: Acura Returns To The Super Bowl
No word yet on whether Jerry Seinfeld will be back too or not, but Acura will return to the Super Bowl with a new ad focusing on its “North American roots,” reports Wards Auto:
The Honda near-luxury brand makes says the commercial will run during the first quarter of the annual NFL championship game, to be played Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, CA.
“As the Acura brand continues to gain momentum and the next-generation NSX supercar is about to make its market debut as the pinnacle expression of Acura performance and prestige, the Super Bowl is the perfect place for Acura to make a powerful brand statement to one of the largest viewing audiences in American history, and one that is incredibly attentive to advertising,” Jon Ikeda, vice president-Acura, says in a statement.
Last year the Super Bowl reportedly was viewed by its biggest U.S. audience ever, 114.4 million people.
Reverse: Leaded Gas