This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 AM. 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: CES Bites Back
This may be the last year that no one from Jalopnik goes to CES given how many car stories were there, even if only a handful of them were that interesting. It also may be the last year that Ford's main marketing/sales guy Jim Farley will go after he said this in a panel dinner, as reported by Business Insider:
Farley was trying to describe how much data Ford has on its customers, and illustrate the fact that the company uses very little of it in order to avoid raising privacy concerns: "We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone," he told attendees.
Rather, he said, he imagined a day when the data might be used anonymously and in aggregate to help other marketers with traffic related problems. Suppose a stadium is holding an event; knowing how much traffic is making its way toward the arena might help the venue change its parking lot resources accordingly, he said.
That's both scary as shit in light of a government report that says some automakers aren't doing a great job keeping that data secure, and also probably overstating it.
That's why Ford denounced that statement saying "We do not track our customers. No data is transmitted from the vehicle without the customer's express consent."
But, as The Detroit News points out:
"Customers give consent when they use a navigation or voice-activated system."
Farley also backtracked on CNBC on Thursday saying "we don't monitor, aggregate data on how people drive. I've given people the wrong impression. I regret that."
Well, maybe you don't "aggregate it," but you definitely have it, and easily could aggregate it.
I like Jim Farley, but this kind of screw up manages to simultaneously tip your hand and show how much data you can and do collect, while portraying that you're maybe not really doing anything with it.
2nd Gear: Detroit's Mayor Says Detroit Will Be "Amazing" For Auto Show
You may not be going to Detroit next week, but hundreds of hungry/bitchy media will descend on the town trying to glean the mood and condition of the city from the tiny slivers of it they see along the paths between the airport, convention center, casino, and full nudity Canadian strip clubs.
It's new Detroit Mayor Bike Duggan's hope that those experiences will be good ones according to the Detroit Free Press.
He also promised show organizers he would do everything possible as mayor to make sure the streets remained plowed and that all city services are top-notch as the world descends on Detroit.
"I was here five years ago when the mood was much different," Duggan said. "It just looks amazing."
3rd Gear: But The Chinese Aren't Coming
Despite providing us with endless amusement in the past, don't expect a huge Chinese presence at the Detroit Auto Show this year.
The Wall Street Journal has the full list of no-shows, and I couldn't help but be a little sad about this:
BYD won't attend this year's Detroit show. A spokesman for BYD America said the timing and the focus of the show made attendance inconvenient for the company.
4th Gear: Dealerships Settle Deceptive Ad Claims
You ever get a flier saying you may have won a brand new speedboat, and all you have to do is go into BFE Ford to claim your prize? Or what about the newspaper ad proudly proclaiming that you, even with your bad credit and pizza delivery job, can afford a new Raptor with no money down and low-low monthly payments?
You're probably smart enough to see that as bullshit, but the Federal Trade Commission took it seriously and decided to crack down on a bunch of dealerships for their clearly bullshit claims and balloon payments.
So far 20 dealerships have accepted 20-year settlements and more have been put on notice.
5th Gear: Nissan Wants To Make Money On Cheap Cars
Despite an overall operating margin of just 5.4%, Bloomberg is hearing from Nissan that they want to make 7% from their emerging market Datsun brand, which has launched in India, Indonesia and Russia.
Given the low cost of production, shared parts, and other factors they think it's reachable and say that the cars will be profitable from day one.
Granted, when you're selling cheap cars even a decent operating margin doesn't necessarily translate into gold, but they're targeting sales of 400,000 unites in three years. That's not small change.
Just build a 510 for us, please.
Reverse: Speaking Of Cheap Cars
On this day in 2008, at the New Delhi Auto Expo in India, Tata Motors debuts the Nano, billing it as the world's cheapest car: The anticipated price tag is around $2,500. Tata, India's largest automaker, called the four-door, bubble-shaped mini-vehicle (it was just 5 feet wide and 10 feet long) the "People's Car" and declared that it would be a vehicle for families who previously hadn't been able to afford a car. (At the time, it wasn't uncommon to see an entire family precariously packed onto a single motorbike.)
Neutral: Have You Ever Gotten The Old Dealership Switcheroo? What's the worst/most deceptive car ad you've ever seen? Have you ever followed a car advertisement into a store only to find they'd been misleading?
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