This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. 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: This Is Revenge For The Time They Invaded Colorado
Russia has seemed mostly impervious to the many sanctions placed against them following their seizure of Crimea, shadow invasion of Ukraine, and just generally being a bunch of anal warts.
Sure, it sucks if you're wealthy and want to visit your money in the United States. If you were dumb enough to keep your wealth in rubles you're also probably smarting now. However, Vladimir Putin relies on a sort of general national popularity that makes him more immune to the whims of the wealthiest than other strongman leaders.
The most immediate, if not the most important, impact in Russia of the downturn has been the absolute cratering of the Russian car market.
Sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles dropped to 128,298 units in February from 206,526 a year earlier, the Association of European Businesses in Russia said Tuesday in a statement. That’s the biggest decline since 2009 and follows a 24 percent slump in January. The median estimate of seven economists surveyed by Bloomberg was a decrease of 28 percent.
Automakers in Russia are suffering after the ruble weakened 46 percent against the dollar last year, the world’s second-worst performance, and the economy slid to the brink of recession. Car manufacturers are offering discounts or slowing output to counter low demand, with consumers hurting from inflation at 16.7 percent in February, the fastest pace since 2002. The car market probably won’t rebound until 2019 or 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Worse than decreasing sales and slowing output is the response from some automakers to just take their ball and go home, perhaps not to return anytime soon.
Hopefully, we can use this to pressure him to join our peacekeeping forces in the Jordan Valley.
2nd Gear: There's Little Wait For The Most Expensive Tesla
Do you want a Tesla P85D? Of course you do. What crazy person does not want a P85D?
The great news is that they've increased production of the P85D so you don't have to spend the usual-for-Tesla weeks or months (or years if you ordered a Model X) to get one.
The bad news is that you're going to have to wait a while longer if you're ordering a cheaper model.
The worse news is why Tesla is probably doing this, as reported by Mike Ramsey:
The Palo Alto, Calif., auto maker launched the dual-motor P85D late last year at a price designed to increase its average transaction prices and potentially bring the money-losing company closer to steady profitability. The company missed its reduced fourth quarter delivery goal by about 300 units.
Demand is probably high for the P85D given the great press for the vehicle, so it's not entirely unreasonable or unwise for Tesla to do this. The Raymond Tusks of the world are surely excited.
However, it shows how far Tesla has to go before it becomes a stable car company.
3rd Gear: Ford Is Not Hiring People Through Facebook
Don't trust everything you read on Facebook. In fact, don't trust anything you read on Facebook.
An advertisement on Facebook was reportedly offering prospective employees a job with Ford for $18 an hour. It is not real, according to the Freep:
A statement from Ford calls the Facebook post "not genuine. This was not posted by Ford and the hotline provided is not owned or operated by Ford. We do not recruit for U.S. hourly manufacturing positions through social media and we do not have a hotline to apply for these jobs."
The Free Press traced the phone number to Ross Innovative Employment Solutions, which said it works with MichiganWorks! The number is to one of their Livonia phones, because they've done hiring referrals for Ford — two since December for 75 jobs.
"What we assumed happened is someone took a little information, got it wrong and promoted we are hiring directly for Ford. Or to be honest, we're not certain it's not something malicious," said Ross spokesman Brad Speck.
MichiganWorks! is not to be confused with "America Works."
4th Gear: Some Hyundai Shareholders Still Pissed Over Property Deal
Hyundai/Kia is still a family run business, and thus it can sort of do what it wants to do while only being slightly irked by investor behavior.
For example, they spent $10 billion on the land for a new headquarters without telling anyone, basically. It's like just suddenly taking all of your FEMA funds and using them to create jobs.
Hyundai's second largest shareholder, the National Pension Service, will reportedly vote against (or abstain from voting for) some directors of the company in the next meeting. However, this won't do anything because the NPS only has 10% of the company.
5th Gear: Hyundai To Expand In The United States, Because Of Course
Hyundai news is just leaking all over the place, with three people claiming that the company will expand its Alabama plant to build crossover/SUVs as well as Elantras and Sonatas since crossover/SUVS are all anyone wants these days.
"It's a new assembly line right next to the current Alabama line. State of Alabama is negotiating final terms," one of the sources said, referring to the company's planned new production facility.
A Hyundai spokesman said there were "no plans at this stage" to increase capacity in the United States.
Hyundai currently builds its Santa Fe at affiliate Kia Motors' production facilities in Georgia, while importing Tucson compact SUVs from Korea.
This would be the least surprising thing since Frank Underwood announced he'd be running for reelection.
Reverse: That Is A Lot Of Prii
The Toyota Motor Company announces on this day in 2009 that it has sold over 1 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles in the U.S. under its six Toyota and Lexus brands. The sales were led by the Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid car, which was launched in Japan in October 1997 and introduced in America in July 2000.
Neutral: Is This A Problem For Putin?
Or is a country full of people used to waiting 48 months for a Lada patient enough to deal with no new SEATs?
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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