Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: No Merger
The talk over the last few weeks has been FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and his desire to merge his company with another large automaker. One that has been frequently mentioned is GM, even though GM has denied any interest in such a merger.
Now, GM CEO Mary Barra has come out and said that GM has no need for a merger and it can get bigger returns without one at all. In fact, Barra called a deal with a company like FCA a distraction, which is the opposite of help.
GM wants to succeed with the investments it’s making in South America and Europe, as well as the money that it’s putting into Chevy and Cadillac. Analysts agree that GM has no reason to merge with FCA and it would have more problems than solutions.
Maybe next time, Sergio.
2nd Gear: VW Needs A Piech Successor
The turmoil that surrounded VW in the last few weeks may have calmed down on the outside, but the work on the inside at the company is just beginning to ramp up. The entire company is hard at work trying to find a successor to the man that literally shaped the company for decades.
And by “entire company,” I mean the executives and supervisory boards are trying to find a suitable successor. An announcement yesterday from CEO Martin Winterkorn said that the company was trying to swiftly resolve the remaining issues. He also said that it’s good to return to calmer waters and be able to concentrate on the business.
I bet. It’s always nice to not think your boss is trying to undermine you and get you fired.
3rd Gear: Lambo SUV Might Get Some Tax Breaks
The Lamborghini Urus, an SUV concept that everyone thinks Lamborghini will make but hasn’t been committed to yet, might be a step closer to hitting the road. That step is coming in the form of possible tax breaks from the Italian government that could be worth $111 million if production is kept in Italy.
It’s thought that Lambo could add 300 jobs at a new factory to support the Urus, which would be a boon to a country with unemployment above 12.5 percent. It’d also add some stable manufacturing jobs to the country. Problem is that much of the Urus will be built at other VW plants, since it will share a lot of parts with the Porsche Cayenne.
Lamborghini thinks it could sell 3,000 of the SUV each year.
4th Gear: Guess What Car Was The Most In Demand In April. Do it. Guess.
Well, actually, you probably aren’t because you saw the picture above. And no, this is not a joke, but the VW Sportwagen, the only manual diesel wagon you can get in the USA, is the most in demand car on dealer lots. It took an average of nine days to sell one when it hit a lot.
On the other end of the spectrum, it take 172 days to sell a Kia K900. That’s a problem.
5th Gear: GM Ignition Deaths Rise To 97
Time for the ignition switch update: GM has approved seven more death claims and 179 more injury claims in its ongoing investigation. 130 of the claims have accepted money from GM while five have declined.
If they accept the money, they agree to not sure GM, so those that decline the money have left the option open for further litigation against the automaker.
Is GM better off on its own?