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: That's Like Twice The Record
The previous record for recalled cars in a year was 30.8 million in 2004 which, man, we passed forever ago. Automakers recalled so many cars we've basically lapped it at 60.5 million recalls this weekend (and the year isn't over yet!).
What's going on? From Bloomberg:
“I don’t think we’re going to see a year like this for a long time,” said Neil Steinkamp, a managing director at Stout Risius Ross who studies warranty and recall issues.
Recalls may remain above historical levels for a while, he said. The Takata air-bag crisis continues to grow, and following its slow response to GM’s ignition-switch defect, NHTSA has been pressuring automakers to recall cars more quickly when evidence of a flaw is discovered, using subpoena power and the threat of $35 million fines as motivation.
“Automakers do not want to be accused of dragging their feet, so they’re very quick to issue a recall” now, said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Autotrader.com. “We’re going to see lots of recalls because cars have gotten so complex and there’s so much sharing of parts by all automakers.”
I agree. Takata + GM panic + NHTSA's fear that they're not doing their job = fuck it, recall all the things.
2nd Gear: Should VW Swap Winterkorn For Sergio?
I doubt it'll happen, but there's a fun theory going around that Volkswagen could let Winterkorn go to FCA for Sergio Marchionne. Why?
Because Sergio is great at the financial engineering in the same way that Winterkorn's VAG is skilled at the actual engineering.
“What if the best-in-class financial engineer and the best-in-class auto engineer were to swap jobs,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Schwarz.
WHAT IF LIONS HAD ELEPHANT TRUNKS AND AND ELEPHANTS HAD BIG TEETH? SUPER ELEPHANTS.
3rd Gear: Speaking Of Chrysler, They've Had 56 Months Of Y-O-Y Growth
Chrysler is closing in on six years of year-over-year growth, a remarkable record considering that six years ago they were crawling their way out of a messy bankruptcy .
How'd they do it? The Freep focuses on three products: The Jeep Cherokee (160,793 sold so far), the Ram (having almost doubled its share), and the Chrysler 200 (about 14k a month, still half of the Camry).
In 2009, there were few Chrysler products I'd recommend. In 2014, there are a bunch of them. So why do they need Winterkorn again?
4th Gear: Nissan Is Going To Export More
With the Yen in the terlet and markets like Russia spiraling out of control, Nissan is letting people know that they're going to be building more cars in Japan.
This makes a lot of sense given that they'll be building the cars at a much lower price relative to the market they're selling in (the yen is like ¥120 to the dollar), thus bringing back sweet sweet profits. However, Nissan isn't going to suddenly abandon local market production (which is naturally shielded from currency fluctuations), rather, the plan is to take advantage of the situation to tweak production.
Nissan is also sticking to a general strategy of localizing production, Mr. Ghosn said, but he added that there will always be room to tweak and optimize production plans, and that is where Japan will play a bigger role.
“The yen is not any more handicapped. It’s not even in neutral territory but it comes in favorable territory, encouraging companies and particularly Nissan to bring more workload to the Japanese plant and to source more markets from Japan,” Mr. Ghosn told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
Seems smart to me.
5th Gear: Ok, One More Recall Story
You didn't think you'd get out of TMS with just one recall story, right?
GM has a plan in place in the event that they can't get enough Takata airbags and are thus forced to allow people to keep cars on the road that might, in some instances, shoot shrapnel in the faces of people who just got into accidents.
How will it work? Reuters has the story:
GM's plans include directing Takata to share with rivals TRW (TRW.N) and Autoliv (ALV.N) the No. 1 U.S. automaker's air bag specifications and data so any replacement parts made by others would work in GM vehicles, GM spokesman James Cain told Reuters in response to questions about the company's plans. This approach secures future capacity if it is necessary, he said.
"Basically, we bought an insurance policy so that the capacity is there if we need it," Cain said. "We don't want to be caught short-handed.
"There is only so much inflator capacity in the industry and we need to be prepared, so what we've done is prudent," he added.
If the people who provided your computers monitors can't provide any additional ones, you just call up one of any of a dozen companies. Auto suppliers are often specialized and there are only a small handful of them, meaning that companies like GM and Honda can't just pick up and take their business elsewhere.
Reverse: Good Deal
On this day in 1900, the first car to be produced under the "Mercedes" name is delivered to its buyer: Emil Jellinek, the Austrian car racer, auto dealer to the rich and famous, and bon vivant. Jellinek had commissioned the Mercedes car from the German company Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. It was faster, lighter, and sleeker than any car the company had ever made before, and Jellinek was confident that it would win races so handily that besotted buyers would snap it up. (He was so confident that he bought 36 of them, paying D-M-G 550,000 marks in all.) In exchange for his extraordinary patronage, the company agreed to name its new machine after Jellinek's 11-year-old daughter, Mercedes.
Neutral: Have We Reached Peak Recall?
Or could it possibly be worse?
Photo Credit: AP Images