Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Average Fuel Economy Climbs
Since gas prices have been hanging around at lower numbers than we’ve seen in ages, you might expect that the increased sales of SUVs and gas guzzling cars of all types would signal a decline in fuel economy numbers.
For May, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the USA reached 25.5 MPG, an all time record. It’s a substantial improvement of more than five MPG from when records were started in 2008. That might not sound like much, but if you look at the entire fleet of cars that are sold across America, it’s insane that there has been such an improvement in that short amount of time. Now imagine how much it’ll shoot up when gas prices skyrocket again?
2nd Gear: Ford Under Fire
A software maker that Ford has worked with in the past is accusing the automaker of intellectual property theft. Versata worked with Ford in the past, specifically it had an $8.5 million yearly contract with the automaker to provide software that was used in the product development process.
Ford recently stopped using the software from Versata, and that’s where the suit comes in to play. Versata says that Ford’s new internal software is actually using their intellectual property to make it work. They go so far as to say that the patent that Ford submitted contained “stolen code.”
Versata filed a lawsuit in response to a complaint that Ford had filed to show that their software wasn’t the same as Versata’s. This isn’t going to end soon.
3rd Gear: FCA Doesn’t Want The Hearing, NHTSA Doesn’t Care
Fiat Chrysler has been under for how it has handled recalls related to fires in its cars. NHTSA wants to have a hearing with FCA on July 2nd regarding the delay in the recalls for the cars that were at risk for fires.
They also asked FCA for answers to a list of questions by the beginning of June, which FCA totally complied with. FCA thinks that the way it handled the questions and it’s compliance should be enough to cancel the hearing. NHTSA says otherwise. They say that the hearing is a way to make sure that FCA has met its obligations. Also, NHTSA has five million pages of documents from FCA to go through, so I think that they just want FCA to come to the hearing since they had to wade through all that paperwork.
4th Gear: Takata’s Quality Chief Appointed To Board
Yep, Takata is still in the news. Now, the Japanese company has announced that it will appoint quality chief Hiroshi Shimizu to its board and grant him more authority. He has been head of QC at the supplier for two years, so it’s not like Takata is appointing someone that had been in that position through the whole of the recall scandal.
Takata has also announced that former President Stefan Stocker will step down from the board.
5th Gear: GM Sales In China Down
GM’s sales in China dropped 4 percent in May compared to a year ago with 252,567 cars sold, despite heavy price cuts. GM says the drop is due to model changeovers, not because of any economic or outside factors.
On this day in 1998, 3,400 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union walk out on their jobs at a General Motors (GM) metal-stamping factory in Flint, Michigan, beginning a strike that will last seven weeks and stall production at GM facilities nationwide.
Where do you see fuel economy averages in one year? Five years? 10 years?
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