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: We're Back, Baby
Americans are buying cars like Jay-Z is buying diamond-studded selvedge denim diapers, which is to say they're buying a shit ton of them. The SAAR, which is a measure of the annual selling rate adjusted for seasonality and not a character on Game of Thrones, is estimated to be somewhere between 15.5 and 15.9 million cars. That's the best June SAAR since 2007, pre-recession.
The Detroit Free Press has the full chart, but you can see Nissan and Ford doing the best of the big brands, growing 12.9% and 13.4%, respectively.
Ford's market share is now 16.7%, compared to 18.9% for GM, which is a narrowing of the traditional role. Toyota is still firmly in third at 13.9% of the market. Yesterday's losers? VW, Mitsubishi and Kia were all down, as was Ferrari, which dropped 35.4% for the month… although they say they're doing that on purpose.
2nd Gear: We're exporting, bitches!
The good o'l U.S. of A. is sending more cars to the rest of the world than it has ever, with more foreign automakers locating their plants in the U.S. and higher demand abroad. The slow-down in our auto market, while a major pain in the ass, has caused car companies to look outward at international markets says The Wall Street Journal.
In a sign of the turnaround, Honda Motor Co, once a big importer of Japanese-made cars, says it expects to export more vehicles from North America—with nearly all of them coming from its U.S. factories—than it brings in from Japan by the end of 2014.
Last year, more than one million cars and light trucks were exported from U.S. auto plants, the highest recorded and a more than threefold rise from 2003, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration.
Sure, we're still importing more cars than we export, but growing markets like Russia are starting to even that up.
3rd Gear: And We Want The Japanese To Help Us Export More
With the exception of the "Chicken Tax," there aren't many impediments to importing Japanese cars into the United States (2.5% tariff on cars, 25% tariff on trucks). But selling U.S. cars in Japan? Good luck.
Per Reuters, the Big Three couldn't keep Japan out of the big Trans-Pacific Partnership talks so now they want other goodies.
Specifically, they want tariffs on U.S. cars to be taken down over the next 30 years and want strong and enforceable provisions to prevent Japan from intervening in currency markets to depress the value of the yen."
There's been no sign from the administration that this is happening.
4th Gear: You Down With H-U-D? Yeah, You Know Me
The Heads-Up Display (HUD) has been a technology used by GM and a few other automakers with limited success, but Karl Henkel has a report today that says analysts at IHS Automotive think the number of vehicles with the tech will jump from 2% last year to more than 9% in 2020.
The article focuses on Cadillac, Buick, and mentions that BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are getting into the game.
What's missing here? The 2014 Mazda3 will be offered with one. Mazda is still a small car company, but the Mazda3 is a major volume product.
5th Gear: How GM Can Sell A Buick Wagon In The U.S.
Our Buick Regal is Europe's Vauxhall/Opel Insignia (and our Verano is their Astra), and as such it's possible that any model offered in Europe could theoretically be offered in the U.S. Granted, not every model is designed with the appropriate engineering to meet our regulations, but it's at least something that can be done within a generation.
We haven't yet recieved the Cascada coupe/convertible as a Verano CC, which is a surprise to me. We also haven't had the pleasure of being offered a wagon version, which doesn't surprise me at all.
The solution? The Vauxhall/Opel Insignia Country Tourer. Because of our seriously fucked emissions regulations, GM could sell this as a light truck because it's slightly lifted, has AWD, and features body cladding.
Great, sell it here. The new A4 Allroad is the new A4 Avant, so why not?
Reverse: Great Scott!
On this day in 1985, the blockbuster action-comedy "Back to the Future"—in which John DeLorean's iconic concept car is memorably transformed into a time-travel device—is released in theaters across the United States.
Neutral: Can It Last? Or all these good vibrations going to last or are we still going to hit "peak car" soon?
Photo Credit: Getty Images