This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 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: The Volt's Problem Is Every Other Chevy
Why is GM dropping the price of the Volt by $5,000? Because just about every other plug-in electric vehicle that isn't named "Tesla" is doing the same. Demand for the Volt isn't strong enough to move people into the little hybrid, thus the 13% drop.
Volt, which uses a gasoline motor to extend its range to 380 miles, has to compete with fuel- efficient Chevrolets that sell for as little as half its sticker price.
Sure, lower gas prices hurt as well, but when you can get a Cruze for much cheaper that gets a pretty decent MPG do you need the Volt?
2nd Gear: Ford Boosts Fiesta ST Production In UK
The Ford Fiesta ST is a favorite car around here, and we're apparently not alone. Ford predicted 5,000 sales in its first year in the UK, but they've already received 3,000 order in the last five months so they're boosting production
Some interesting facts from Ford on their little hot hatch:
56% of all ordered in Europe were ordered in the UK 56% of orders for the higher spec ST2 models 45% of people asked for the Molten Orange or Spirit Blue paint
3rd Gear: Where Is Don Butler Going?
For the second time in a month, Cadillac has lost a major part of their team. Last month they fired Chase Hawkins for violating a company policy, and this month it's the familiar Don Butler (left) leaving of his own accord.
Unlike Hawkins, it seems like GM sincerely didn't want the popular Butler to go, or at least that's the impression we get former this Detroit News article and from general chatter. I.e., they aren't making him resign.
This is a personal decision,” he wrote in an email to The Detroit News. “I just need to take a step back to recalibrate, reassess my priorities. I know it’s time for a change but I don’t know what’s next. I’m trusting that God will provide.”
That is unfortunately vague and unfortunate for GM as Butler has always been well-liked, although it sounds like he isn't jumping to another job anytime soon.
4th Gear: The Average Age Of An American Car Is 11.4 Years
People are holding onto their old cars longer, says the Polk research firm, which explains why used cars are still expensive and new cars are still highly incentivized. The 11.4-year ownership is a record and a sign that cars are getting better/people are still worried about the recession.
Still, as the AP points out, car sales are also starting rise, so at worst it's juts slowing down the new car sales growth rate.
5th Gear: GM Boosts Encore Production
Here's a product that, for some reason, I knew I'd like. I haven't driven the Buick Encore but the stylish little CUV seems to be a hit. It's not something I would buy, but I see it as something other people would buy.
Dealers have already sold more than 15,400 units through July and that's with a product shortage. The crossovers are built in Korea and even GM didn't think people would like it this much. In fact, the sales pace was "triple or quadruple" what they anticipated reports Automotive News.
It's not often a carmaker finds cleavage in the crowded marketplace, but Buick seems to have gotten to the "small premium crossover" first. Seriously, it's tiny.
Reverse: I Still Miss The 505
On this day in 1991, in a letter to around 150 of its United States franchisees, the French automaker Peugeot (manufacturer of both Peugeot and Citroen cars) announces that it will stop producing cars for the U.S. market as of the following September after five years of steadily decreasing sales.
Neutral: Small Premium Crossover
What's the appeal? Would you ever buy one? What fits in this new category? Anything in Europe?
Photo Credit: Getty Images