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: GM Spending Big Money On America
As United Auto Workers review the proposed contract with General Motors before sending it off to union members to ratify, details have emerged about said contract. Namely, that it has big commitments to America. From Automotive News:
The UAW’s tentative labor contract with General Motors includes a commitment to spend $8.3 billion over four years on upgrades to 12 U.S. plants, along with the union’s first significant wage increases in a decade and an $8,000 signing bonus to persuade workers to support the package.
The union said the $8.3 billion in investment would “create and/or retain” more than 3,300 jobs.
About $6.4 billion of the planned outlays have previously been announced by GM. The investment “is designed to ensure optimal utilization of the company’s U.S. facilities and provide job growth,” the union said in its contract summary.
2nd Gear: It’s A Better Deal Than Fiat Chrysler Workers Got
You know who’s likely to be unhappy with this deal? Fiat Chrysler. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM’s workers secured a much better deal with their automaker:
The UAW’s deal with General Motors matches wage increases reached in a contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; doubles the signing bonus and includes other enhanced payouts while preserving current health care and profit sharing plans.
Workers will get an $8,000 signing bonus — compared with $3,000 to $4,000 for FCA workers — and GM will give $2,000 to temporary workers, according to highlights of the tentative agreement released by the UAW Wednesday evening after briefing local union leaders.
3rd Gear: Alfa Romeo Retools
Fiat Chrysler is planning a huge expansion and product boom for the struggling Alfa Romeo, a brand they want to turn into a global competitor to BMW and other luxury marques. But on the heels of the China slowdown, they’re having to rethink things a bit. Again from Automotive News:
FCA stands by its plan to boost Alfa’s annual global sales to 400,000 in 2018, the CEO said. But a large portion of the volume projection that had been assigned to China would have to be absorbed by other regions, including North America and Europe, Marchionne told analysts on FCA’s third-quarter results call on Wednesday.
FCA unveiled in May 2014 plans to invest 5 billion euros in Alfa including the addition of eight new models.
All of the planned Alfa vehicles will still be developed and FCA will still spend the same amount on developing Alfa, Marchionne said. But the new vehicles may come in a different order to satisfy consumer tastes in Europe and North America and the planned investment will be completed in 2019 or 2020, he said.
4th Gear: A Smaller, Smarter, More Profitable Volkswagen
Speaking of companies retooling, the Volkswagen Group’s new CEO Matthias Mueller announced the development of a new path for the beleaguered automaker called Strategy 2025. It focuses on profits over volume growth (they could use the cash right about now) and fewer cars in general. One more from Automotive News:
Mueller outlined key steps that will help the automaker restructure amid its diesel emissions cheating scandal.
His priorities include reducing the number of models built by VW Group, whose portfolio includes luxury brands Bentley, Porsche and Audi, along with sports car maker Lamborghini and mass-market marques VW, Skoda and Seat. Analysts have long criticized the automaker for developing costly halo projects such as the Bugatti Veyron supercar.
“We will review in detail our current portfolio of more than 300 models and examine the contribution that each one makes to our earnings,” Mueller told analysts on a conference call Wednesday.
If the era of Ferdinand Piëch vanity car craziness wasn’t over before, it sure as hell is now.
5th Gear: Mazda’s Diesel Likely Delayed Again In America
Remember how certain U.S. Mazdas were supposed to have the SkyActiv-D diesel engine by now? Development has slogged along as Mazda has tried to make it meet America’s tough emissions standards, and with tests set to get even more stringent on the heels of Dieselgate, the automaker expects it will be delayed even further. From Reuters:
The U.S. launch of Mazda diesel cars, originally planned for 2016, will nevertheless likely be delayed because regulators there are expected to add extra steps to emissions and fuel-economy testing processes, he said.
“We’re committed to launching diesel-fueled cars in the United States,” Fujiwara told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show. “There is no doubt about that.”
But the tougher testing, he said, “will cause a delay in plans for everybody looking to sell diesel cars in the U.S. market. That’s why we cannot say when we are going to be able to launch our diesel cars in the U.S. market at this point.”
Who is going to want to buy a diesel Mazda now? I think the more likely outcome is that this thing will be quietly killed as they move on to something cleaner, more efficient and with more future potential than diesels. Like rotary engines.
Neutral: Does Mazda’s Diesel Have A Future?
Or did VW ruin any chance of that happening?
Photo credit AP
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