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: I Don’t See What The Problem Is?
Apparently people hated Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system so much that Cadillac is debuting a new generation that is more user friendly. You’ll see it make an appearance in the CTS sedan, reports Automotive News. What’s new?
Among the changes is a new summary view, which displays climate, audio, phone and navigation on the screen simultaneously.
The navigation function has been redone to operate more like a smartphone app, which should provide better search results and more up-to-date information when the owner has an active data subscription. The system now creates cloud-based personalized profiles, allowing drivers to more seamlessly transfer their settings and preferences between vehicles.
Even Cadillac’s performance surveys by Consumer Reports and J.D. Power took a hit because people found CUE so distasteful. Can’t have that, now.
Honestly, I don’t know what the fuss is. I’ve driven a couple of Cadillacs and I never had a problem with CUE. Granted, the earliest versions of the system got a bad rap for being overly clunky, but it got better and faster over the years. You just have to learn how to use it. How much more simplified does it have to be? Perhaps it’s because I’m a stupid millennial who grew up in the age of smartphones and tech and this stuff comes naturally to me.
Automotive News also reports that although CUE is being upgraded, Cadillac won’t be bringing back buttons and switches. Guess the fingerprint-covered touchscreen is here to stay.
2nd Gear: No Diesels Allowed
When the latest emissions standards of the Euro 6 standard, the latest EU anti-pollution rule, go into effect, you’ll be seeing a lot fewer diesel cars in Stuttgart, reports Automotive News Europe. The city joins more and more large European municipalities in cracking down on diesels:
Stuttgart, home to Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, will ban from next year diesel cars which do not meet the latest emissions standards from entering the city on days when pollution is heavy.
Only around 10 percent of diesel cars in use on German roads at the start of 2016 conformed to the Euro 6 standard, which is the latest EU anti-pollution rule.
Particulates often exceed thresholds set by the European Union in at least 90 German towns, including Stuttgart, which is particularly affected because it is in a valley.
Germany has already been sued by the EU for exceeding those thresholds for more than a maximum of 35 days per year.
Obviously, this ban is partially because of that dirty thing Volkswagen did; diesel is getting a lot of attention right now, and it’s increasingly hard to see a future for oil burners.
But hey, in return people can get some better air quality and have fewer cars adding to congestion? I think that seems fair.
3rd Gear: Good Guy PSA Peugeot-Citroën Group
While the whole PSA-might-buy-Opel-from-GM thing is still getting talked over, PSA has already made a statement regarding job redundancies, which is something everyone has to think about when they are working for a company that’s about to be sold.
Though some analysts still say that thousands of jobs will probably go in the event of a sale, PSA still pledged to keep existing job guarantees if it buys Opel, according to Reuters. From the story:
“PSA Group reaffirmed its commitment to respect the existing agreements in the European countries and to continue the dialogue with all parties,” Peugeot maker PSA said in a statement on Tuesday.
General Motors (GM) has pledged not to impose forced redundancies on some of its German workforce until the of end 2018, IG Metall said, while some existing agreements about building certain models at Opel stretch beyond 2020.
Yet, analysts still say that PSA will eventually “need to make big cuts” in order for Opel to start making a profit, something it has struggled with. We’ll just have to wait and see.
4th Gear: You Get A Chrysler 200! And You Get A Dodge Dart!
Raise your hand if you like cheap cars and terrible resale value. Yeah? You?
Well, does Chrysler have a deal for you, reports the Detroit Free Press. After FCA made the decision to phase out the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, the problem of getting rid of all the remaining ones arose:
But don’t hesitate. For once, the huckster’s cry — “Supplies are limited!” — is true. Fiat Chrysler stopped building the 200 and Dart late last year. Whatever’s left on dealers’ lots is all there is. It’s the ultimate factory closeout because the factories that built them are closed for retooling to sell other — Chrysler hopes, more popular and profitable — vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler is offering 0% financing for 84 months — that’s right, seven years — on the cars, according to AIS Rebates, which tracks auto incentives. If you prefer cash rebates, the offers start at $3,500 to buy or lease a Dart. Shoppers considering a 200 can get 15% off the advertised employee price.
Seven years at zero percent interest! I think the next step is dealers driving these damn things straight into the ocean, or some sort of lake.
My advice? Buy one and drive the wheels off of it because no one is going to want that car after you’re done with it, not even your grandma.
5th Gear: Withdraw It, Pretty Please
The Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration announced strict fuel economy rules in 2011 that would double the national average at the time to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
On Jan. 13, then-EPA administrator Gina McCarthy rebuffed efforts from automakers to delay the increase after Trump took office.
But with the new administration in town, automakers are trying to get that changed, according to Automotive News. From the story:
A trade association representing General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and nine other automakers on Tuesday asked new EPA chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw an Obama administration decision to lock in vehicle emission rules through 2025.
Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a letter to Pruitt the decision was “the product of egregious procedural and substantive defects” and is “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis and a failure to engage with contrary evidence.”
Automakers have argued that the rules could result in the loss of up to 1 million jobs because consumers could be less willing to buy the more fuel efficient vehicles since their engineering will result in higher price tags.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE GAS GETS MORE EXPENSIVE, HUH?
Also, it’s surprising to me that Toyota is included in that list because the Prius is one of the most popular hybrid vehicles on the market.
The EPA says that it’s reviewing the letter.
Neutral: What’s the most confusing, clunky and janky infotainment system you’ve ever experienced? Maybe it was CUE for you. Was it? You can tell me.