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: Gotta Stop That Big, Overreaching Federal Government, You Know
California is allowed to set its own emissions rules under a deal with the federal government dating back to 1970. That’s worked out just fine for the the 16 other states (including New York, Florida, and New Mexico) that follow California’s emissions rules and the federal government for the past 48 years, as consumers and voters get to choose the cars they want to buy and sell in their own states, and a whole lot of people get to breathe a little easier. Really the only losers here are the big oil companies, as a few million people are getting slightly better fuel economy, and those that act entirely on their behalf.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt would like to act on their behalf, the Washington Post reports:
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Tuesday that EPA is not planning to set stricter fuel economy standards beyond 2025 and questioned whether states such as California should be able to enact their own tougher emissions rules for cars and light trucks.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Pruitt said that California — which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act giving it authority to set its own auto emissions standards — cannot dictate vehicle emissions across the country. The Obama administration reached a 2009 deal with California and the auto industry that set the first carbon limits on tailpipe emissions.
Pruitt, a believer in “small government”, also believes that California shouldn’t have the right to protect its own air. We’ve covered this time and time again, but the reason why regulators in both the state of California and the federal government know just how easy it is for automakers to meet this standards is because they do extensive testing before proposing any rules affecting emissions. These rules are the result of a negotiation in which both sides easily know the score.
So any argument that the rules are “too harsh” or “too difficult” is really just entirely disingenuous. Whew. Really glad to be done with that.
2nd Gear: Volkswagen Wants To Double In American Size
America’s shores have been assaulted by the beigekreig over the past decade or so, as we swim in Volkswagens that are mostly illegal or bland. Gone are the Cabrios, Buses, Phaetons, and Karmann-Ghias of yore, replaced by Jettas, Atlases, Tiguans and also more Jettas. But with the helping hand of a ton of electric cars, Volkswagen aims to double the amount of cars it sells in the United States, Automotive News says:
Herbert Diess, global head of the brand, told journalists through a translator that Volkswagen “intends to become a leading volume provider and aim for around 5 percent market share.”
In 2017, Volkswagen’s market share was 2 percent in the U.S., up 0.2 percentage point from 2016 but still far below the 3 percent market share it had in 2012.
Since it began selling vehicles in the United States, Volkswagen has achieved a market share of 5 percent or more in only two years: 1968 and 1970. The 2012 market share of 3 percent was the first time the brand had hit that mark since 1974.
I’m not exactly a Big Business Man, but Volkswagen, in between the hundreds of thousands of more cars you need to sell, how about a Golf R400? Or a Golf Syncro? Or an Up! GTI? Or really just an Up! in general? Those things are awesome and cool and good. We want the awesome and cool and good cars.
3rd Gear: South Korea Is Working To Try To Save GM Korea
General Motors is in a bit of a spat with South Korea, as it’s apparently looking to pull out of the Korean carmaking business entirely, while the South Korean government doesn’t want to see thousands of its citizens suddenly out of work. To that end, the South Korean government is looking to sweeten the deal a bit, Reuters reports:
South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank said on Wednesday it would provide short-term loans to General Motors’ (GM.N) South Korean unit after April, should the company cooperate with due diligence.
This will probably not be enough.
4th Gear: Yet Another Exec Is Leaving Tesla
Tesla’s got a bit of a reputation for a high turnover rate among its executive ranks, and now another exec is leaving, Bloomberg says:
Tesla Inc. has lost two of its most senior financial executives in short succession within weeks of when the electric-car maker will report production figures for the Model 3 sedan that it’s struggled to mass manufacture.
Susan Repo, Tesla’s corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, left to become the chief financial officer of another company, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last week, Tesla disclosed Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz parted ways for personal reasons.
It could be easy to draw a conclusion like “OH HO HO, I GUESS TESLA IS GOIN DOWNNNNNN,” but people are constantly coming and going from Tesla’s corporate headquarters. Read whatever you want into this.
5th Gear: Toyota Is Raising Salaries
But not by a lot, Reuters says:
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) has agreed to increase base monthly salaries by more than 1,300 yen ($12.20) for the year beginning April, according to the automaker’s union.
$12.20 over the course of a month? Maybe enough for a nice sandwich. Toyota is expected to announce $17.54 billion in profit for 2017. They got cash, is what I’m saying.
John “Jack” Mack, who co-founded what would become one of North America’s largest makers of heavy-duty trucks, is killed when his car collides with a trolley in Pennsylvania on March 14, 1922.
Neutral: What Non-American Volkswagen Would You Buy?
UP! UP! UP! UP!