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: Tentative Agreement Reached Between GM And UAW

Unlike what happened with Fiat Chrysler a month ago, a tentative contract agreement between the United Auto Workers leadership and General Motors was reached before the midnight deadline last night. Here’s what we know of it so far, from Automotive News:

In a statement, the union said its bargaining committee “secured significant gains and job security protections” in the proposed pact, which still must be approved by local union officials. It didn’t disclose details.

“We believe that this agreement will present stable long-term significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future,” UAW President Dennis Williams said in the statement. “We look forward to presenting the details of these gains to local union leaders and the membership.”

GM confirmed the tentative deal, calling it “good for employees and the business” in a statement issued by Cathy Clegg, vice president of labor relations.

We’ll know more about the specifics of the proposed deal after it goes to local UAW leaders this week. A vote by the members will happen sometime after that.

2nd Gear: Toyota 2.0?

It would seem Toyota CEO and scion (see what I did there?) Akio Toyoda is at the helm of the most aggressive re-tooling the company has ever seen. More efficient factories, new engines, a new global platform, more decentralization, more hybrids and hydrogen cars, and an ultimate goal of all but eliminating internal combustion engines by 2050 are all on the menu. A detailed report from Automotive News:

Like never before, in the memory of most of today’s workers at least, Toyota is reinventing itself to be leaner and meaner.

Call it Toyota 2.0. It is a sweeping metamorphosis. Years in the making, the overhaul aims to aggressively sharpen Toyota’s game in everything from manufacturing and product planning to design and human resources.

“They are ready to make life very difficult for the competition,” says Kurt Sanger, an auto analyst with Deutsche Securities Japan, who gives Toyota shares his only “buy” rating among Japanese automakers. “It’s all quite impressive.”

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Very interesting and very ambitious.

3rd Gear: Fords Getting More Expensive

On the heels of strong sales of the F-150, SUVs and the new Mustang, Ford’s doing quite well at the moment. They’re also slowly getting pricier, and that’s happening on purpose. One more from Automotive News:

But the vast majority of Ford’s profits come from the U.S., where the automaker is enjoying a potent combination of rising prices and increasing sales.

Ford’s average transaction price rose $2,100, or 6.6 percent, from September 2014 to September 2015, according to data it provided from the Power Information Network.

That surge, on top of a 23 percent sales gain for the month, translates to a revenue increase of $1.8 billion, or 31 percent.

The higher pricing is a legacy of Fields’ predecessor, Alan Mulally, who worked to elevate Ford slightly above other mainstream competitors with innovative features and in-vehicle technology.

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4th Gear: Record Consumer Borrowing

Ford’s not the only ones with creeping new car pricing, as we’ve seen the same happening in recent months with most manufacturers. So with the average new car price right below $34,000, where are folks getting money to buy them? That’s right, their financing departments! From The Detroit News:

The Federal Reserve reported earlier this month that consumer borrowing in the United States is at a record level of $3.47 trillion.

Lenders in Wisconsin, including the largest state-based bank and credit union — Associated Bank and Landmark Credit Union — have felt the increase in consumer borrowing.

“When we look at auto loans from the first to second quarter, we’re up about 74 percent in funded dollars,” said John Halechko, executive vice president and director of branch banking for Green Bay-based Associated.

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Everything’s swell until interest rates go up. Let’s all just close our eyes and hope for the best! Think happy thoughts, people!

5th Gear: Get Back To Work, All Of You

If you work for Volkswagen, don’t expect to make a big move up the ladder next year, reports Reuters! Also, the next Golf won’t be a huge revolution now, thanks to cost-saving measures.

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will freeze managerial promotions next year at its VW division as part of a savings drive to help meet more than 30 billion euros of costs arising from the diesel emissions tests scandal, a German business magazine said on Saturday.

The German company also plans to re-use as many parts as possible in the next generation of its popular Golf model to save hundreds of millions of euros, according to the Manager Magazin report, which cited Volkswagen sources.

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Reverse: Did Anyone Normal And Buttoned-Down Ever Do Sprint Car Racing?

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Neutral: How Much Did You Pay For Your Last New Car?

And what kind of rate did you get if you financed?

Photo credit AP


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.