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: Incentive-mania, Brother
By most accounts, the trend of record new car sales appears to be slowing down a bit. The word “plateau” gets tossed around a whole bunch. What does this mean for you, the consumer? It means you could save some money on your new car purchase as automakers ramp up incentives, reports Automotive News:
The Detroit 3 spent $655 more per vehicle on incentives last month than in July 2015, an 18 percent increase, according to Autodata. BMW’s incentive spending jumped $1,884, or 42 percent, and Volvo’s climbed $839, or 25 percent. The industry average rose $337 year-over-year, or 11 percent.
Industry sales rose just 0.5 percent in July. But that was enough to push the seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate to 17.86 million, the highest since November.
Get out there and claim those incentives!
2nd Gear: Why Buy A Tesla When You Can Buy A BMW Right Now
One thing that amazes me about Tesla is that while it’s still a relatively tiny niche player largely built on hype more than anything else, it still has established players quite rattled—especially in the luxury game. And as Ad Age points out, BMW is taking aim at the upcoming Tesla Model 3 (whenever that comes out) with a new series of commercials to run during the Olympics:
One ad shows a sad-looking man sitting on his front porch. “You will wait, and wait and wait some more — all before that electric car company’s new model ever even arrives,” says the voiceover, before promoting the BMW 330e as “the car you’ve been waiting for without the wait.” Another ad shows a woman walking by two empty charging stations in a parking lot before jumping in her BMW 330e.
“The reality is that there is a much-hyped car out there but it’s not out there,” Paley said. “It’s not available. You can’t buy it right now. You can’t drive it right now, and BMW’s answer is there is a terrific car — it happens to be a plug-in hybrid and it’s now.”
You can buy a BMW right NOW, do you hear that!
3rd Gear: Let’s Get This Moving
Investors in Germany are attempting to sue Volkswagen over the Dieselgate mess, and now the German courts are trying to move things along more efficiently. As Germans are wont to do. Via Reuters:
A German court will adopt a rarely used class-action style procedure to more efficiently process claims by investors seeking damages from Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) over a diesel emissions cheating scandal, according to a ruling.
The regional court in Braunschweig near Volkswagen’s (VW) Wolfsburg headquarters said on Monday it will pick one case to act as a model to help resolve as many as 170 other damages claims, the closest thing Germany has to class-action lawsuits common in the United States.
Private and institutional investors are suing VW alleging managers at the carmaker failed to disclose its involvement in a diesel emissions cheating scandal in a timely manner, a claim VW rejects.
4th Gear: Trump VS. NAFTA
Donald Trump was back on the stump in Detroit yesterday, and once more he targeted NAFTA and manufacturing job losses to Mexico, something that will no doubt resonate with Michigan’s voters. Via The Detroit Free Press:
In an hour-long speech, Trump said his trade reform plan “includes a total renegotiation of NAFTA, which is a disaster for our country. A total renegotiation. And if we don’t get a better deal, we will walk away.”
But Trump also appeared to try to assuage fears he might recklessly walk away from NAFTA and other trade deals.
The other take:
“It is the North American Free Trade Agreement that has enabled the U.S. auto industry to thrive over the last three decades,” Paul Ryan, vice president of trade and competitiveness for Global Automakers, told the Free Press last week. “We continue to press the case that … a continuation of the U.S. trade commitments to trade is the best course.”
That’s going to be an interesting election issue, especially in that region of the country.
5th Gear: Safety Groups Pissed At Tesla, NHTSA
As expected, the fatal Model S Autopilot crash this summer is pushing autonomous and semi-autonomous safety to the forefront. Via The Detroit News:
The Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumer Watchdog and Public Citizen groups wrote in a letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind that they are “dumbfounded that the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in Florida that killed a former Navy SEAL did not give (Rosekind) pause, cause NHTSA to raise a warning flag, bring you to ask Tesla to adjust its software to require drivers’ hands on the wheel while in autopilot mode, or even to rename its ‘autopilot’ to ‘pilot assist’ until the crash investigation is complete.
“Instead, you doubled down on a plan to rush robot cars to the road, declaring that NHTSA cannot ‘stand idly by while we wait for the perfect’ and ‘no one incident will derail the Department of Transportation and NHTSA from its mission to improve safety on the roads by pursuing new lifesaving technologies,’ ” the consumer groups wrote to the highway safety chief in the letter, which is dated July 28.
In the speech the consumer groups were referencing, Rosekind said “no one incident will derail the Department of Transportation and NHTSA from its mission to improve safety on the roads by pursuing new lifesaving technologies.”
Damn these robot cars!
Reverse: Oh God Remember This