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: A Large Amount Of SUVs
Recently, Fiat Chrysler recalled about 50,000 2017 and 2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and nearly 1,200 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats. And a new recall, announced today, will affect approximately 646,394 U.S.-market 2011 to 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.
The company issued a press release, announcing that the SUVs are being recalled for brake-booster shield installation re-inspection. From the release:
The shields are designed to protect the boosters from water intrusion. Should water get inside and contribute to corrosion, and/or freeze, brake function may be degraded.
A booster compromised by water will still deliver brake function in compliance with U.S. federal safety standards. However, customers may experience excessive brake-pedal firmness.
Additionally, a potential booster issue may be preceded by a warning light, and/or activation of the anti-lock braking system.
FCA said that it is aware of one accident that could be potentially related to this issue, though no one was injured.
This recall actually follows a first recall that was announced in 2014, which involved the same cars. After warranty data was reviewed, an investigation discovered that the shields on some vehicles were not installed correctly.
Oh, and additionally, this recall affects 42,304 cars in Canada in 21,139 cars in Mexico.
2nd Gear: German State Appealing The Diesel Ban
After Volkswagen was found out to be cheating on emissions levels with its diesel cars two years ago, the scrutiny fixed upon diesel has never been tighter. In Europe especially, where there have been talks to ban diesels altogether.
The German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which is located in the southwest part of the country and where Daimler, Porsche and Robert Bosch GmbH are headquartered, has said that it will appeal against diesel banning court ruling, reports Reuters. From the story:
The government of the southwestern region said on Monday it would appeal, after a court said a ban was the only way to meet European Union nitrogen oxide (NOx) and dust particle emissions standards. Stuttgart regularly reports pollution levels above the designated safe levels proscribed by the EU.
Baden-Wuerttemberg, governed by a coalition of conservatives and environmentalist Greens, had already said it would study the court ruling before deciding if and when it would impose the ban, sought by environmental group DUH, in January 2018.
The ban, which was announced in July, was seen as a setback in the automakers’ fight for diesel’s future.
Frankly, I’m not certain why automakers are clinging to diesel so desperately. Environmental regulations are tightening left and right electric cars are becoming more and more mainstream. And it’s pretty much become a dirty word in a lot of countries. It certainly feels like the end of diesel is near.
3rd Gear: ‘Team Edison’
Aw, that’s kinda nice, I guess. Two big American names: Ford and Edison. Teaming up for a new and ambitious Ford EV plan for the future.
Word of it comes via Automotive News, which reports that Ford is setting up an internal team called “Team Edison” to “study and develop fully electric cars” separately from Ford’s other hybrid vehicles. From the story:
Ford... will increase its battery electric vehicle offerings beyond the 300-mile range crossover EV it plans to offer by 2020.
Ford is on track to deliver 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years. The automaker has announced seven of those vehicles, which include the 300-mile range crossover... Ford will increase the number of battery electric vehicles it will offer, but did not offer details or a timeline.
[The] new team will explore partnerships. Ford was rumored to be in talks earlier this year about acquiring Lucid Motors, and in August said it would form a joint venture with Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to manufacture all-electric vehicles for China.
It sounds similar to the all-electric initiative Mercedes has going on for itself, though I’d say Ford’s name for the project is slightly better. ‘Murica!
4th Gear: Ducati Sale Called Off
In April, it seemed that Dieselgate would claim another victim in the form of Ducati. It was rumored that Harley-Davidson would buy it for up to $1.67 billion. Over the weekend, it seems that sale talks have halted, however.
Oppostion from labor groups have frozen sale initiatives, an Italian union leader told Bloomberg:
“Ducati’s CEO told workers Friday that the VW supervisory board decided to halt the sale process,” Bruno Papignani, regional head of FIOM CIGL union, said in a phone interview. “IG Metall sustained and helped Ducati workers in their request to remain inside the VW group which should keep investing in our company.”
Volkswagen reportedly considered selling off Ducati in order to raise some money to help pay for its very pricey Dieselgate snafu.
It was a bit of a mystery as to why VW bought Ducati in the first place in 2012. We’ve mused that it was because Ferdinand Piëch, the then-supreme leader of Volkswagen Group, saw Ducati as a trophy that had to be had. Plus, Piëch enjoyed adding strange and wonderful projects to his legacy. Projects like the Bugatti Veyron, the Volkswagen Phaeton and basically saving Lamborghini.
What will happen next to Ducati remains to be seen.
5th Gear: September Looking Promising!!!
Carmakers are expected to have done well in vehicle sales in September. Analysts predict an increase of between 0.4 and one percent in year-over-year sales last month.
Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds weighed in, according to the Detroit News. From the story:
Kelley Blue Book is projecting that new vehicle sales will have risen by 1 percent in September 2017 in a year-over-year comparison with September 2016, going from 1.43 million last year to 1.44 million last month.
Similarly, Edmunds.com is forecasting a year-over-year increase in sales of 0.4 percent with a projection that 1.435 million new cars and trucks were sold last month.
Part of the increase comes from hurricane recovery. People are looking to replace the cars damaged in Harvey and Irma. I’m going to wager that people aren’t buying sedans or small economy cars, though.
Reverse: ‘Over My Dead Body’
Neutral: Do you think the end of diesel is near? Is it looking like diesel will be faded out, soon to be replaced by hybrids and electric cars?