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: Man, You People Really Love Jeeps
The Chrysler Group (part of FCA) is years away form being where they need to be but people keep buying their vehicles. Specifically, total sales for the company were up nearly 20% as every brand saw increasing sales (although, as a whole, car sales were down 1%).
Leading the charge was Jeep, with a 41% year-over-year gain led by the new Cherokee. Chrysler also saw a robust increase in Town & Country sales, although I'm curious to whom. Ram continued its strong streak and even Fiat and Dodge managed wins on 500L and Dart sales, respectively.
Granted, the automaker appears to have spent a ton of money on incentives so maybe this shouldn't be a surprise.
2nd Gear: Fiat Is No Longer An Italian Company
Bloomberg has a good take today on Fiat leaving Italy to become the global company it needs to become to survive, although someone wrote "ciao" in the headline, which almost ruins the whole thing.
The new entity's cosmopolitan structure reflects an auto- industry shift away from national champions like Fiat, which for decades prided itself in an Italian and Turin heritage. By combining resources with the U.S. carmaker, the company formerly known as Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino can better compete with heavyweights like General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp., the CEO says. A brush with bankruptcy a decade ago proved the Italian focus was unsustainable.
Goodbye Turin, hello "incorporated under Dutch law, based in the U.K., and listed on the New York Stock Exchange."
3rd Gear: Nissan And Ford Also Up, Sales-Wise, Just Not Enough
The late sales reports are coming in and it looks like Ford's July sales were up 9.6%, which is slightly below estimates. Nissan was up a full 11.4%, which is also slightly below estimates.
These are still some of the best months the companies have had since pre-recession and for Ford the silver lining is Lincoln was up 13.6%. Oh, and did we mention Ford is selling a lot of Police Interceptor Sedans and a lot more Police Interceptor Utilities?
For Nissan, Versa sales were up a whopping 73%.
4th Gear: GM Should Have Listened To Rental Car Agencies
Numerous rental car companies reportedly knew that there was an issue with air bag deployment in GM vehicles — specifically the Cobalt — and yet when they told GM nothing happened.
A driver in a new Chevrolet Cobalt rented from Vanguard's Alamo unit lost control on a warm, dry and clear day in September 2006. Traffic had been light, according to the police report. The sedan drifted across lanes, got caught in a gravel median and rolled over. The seat belt was buckled. The air bag didn't deploy. The driver was killed.
A Vanguard claims adjuster wrote to GM and said even though the cause of the crash wasn't immediately known, "due to the serious nature of this accident we feel that it is imperative that you open a claim and inspect this vehicle for possible defects," according to a review of documents obtained by Bloomberg News after a Freedom of Information Act request.
Not a good look.
5th Gear: The Economy Is Bad/Good
I don't want to get in too long of a discussion about how the stock market and the economy as a whole don't always perform in unison, nor do I have any interest in getting into a debate about what the unemployment rate "really" is. Still, we should understand today's big NFP jobs report.
The good: More people are looking for jobs, with labor force participation rate slightly ticking up, which is what we'll need to actually improve the economy (it's why a slight increase in the unemployment rate isn't always bad). With 209,000 jobs added, it was the sixth month of the U.S. adding more than 200K jobs.
The bad: The estimate was for 230K jobs and unemployment did kick up to 6.2%. Also, no decrease in involuntary part-time employment.
What this means: The auto industry added 15,000 jobs, so that's nice. The market may actually react positively, because they think bad news means that Fed Chair/Human Pokeball Janet Yellen will slow down on her plans to actually have these things we used to have called "interest rates." They're wrong, but whatever.
Reverse: It Should Also Give Out American Dollars
On this day in 2007, Citibank opens China's first drive-through automated teller machine (ATM) at the Upper East Side Central Plaza in Beijing.
Neutral: Wassup With Chrysler?
Do Americans just want SUVs? Just cheap cars? Incentives? What's going on?
Photo Credit: AP Images