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.
Today’s a company holiday so Jalopnik will be a bit slower than normal in the afternoon, but we have some great stories on tap anyway and a team ready to cover the hell out of the 100th Indy 500.
1st Gear: Everything Is Terrible
At this point, anything Takata ever touched is getting recalled.
According to Reuters, eight automakers announced today that a recall of more than 12 million U.S. vehicles will soon be underway to replace potentially lethal defective airbags from the troubled Japanese supplier.
An exact list of affected vehicles doesn’t seem to be out yet but here’s what we know so far:
Honda Motor Co (7267.T) is recalling 4.5 million U.S. vehicles while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI)(FCAU.N) is recalling 4.3 million, according to the documents. The new recall is focused on passenger-side air bag inflators, while prior recalls were for driver-side inflators.
Takata declared 14 million inflators defective in the first phase of its latest recall, and the Friday notice is largely included in that total.
[...] Fiat Chrysler said Friday it is recalling 933,000 vehicles sold in Canada, Mexico and outside North America for Takata inflators. It told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the second phase of the Takata expansion would include 660,000 U.S. vehicles.
The Takata recalls will never end.
2nd Gear: The U.S. Virgin Islands Is Suing Takata Too
Because warm, humid climates are most at risk for deadly Takata airbag detonations, the U.S. Virgin Islands joins Hawaii in suing Takata and its biggest client Honda over the airbags. The state and territory are claiming negligence from both parties. Once more from Reuters:
The U.S. territory joins Hawaii, which earlier this month sued Takata and Honda, the largest user of recalled Takata air bags linked to 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries. The Virgin Islands suit, seeking civil and other penalties, claims the companies committed fraud, used unfair trade practices and were negligent in allowing the use of the unsafe airbags.
Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker said in a statement that there are about 7,000 cars in the U.S. territory equipped with Takata airbags.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said long-term exposure in high absolute humidity areas poses the biggest risk. That includes the Virgin Islands, and Walker said a Virgin Islands resident on St. Croix was gravely injured when her Takata airbag ruptured.
3rd Gear: The Make-Or-Break Giulia
As we’ve reported on Morning Shift many times before, the Alfa Romeo Giulia—which goes on sale in Europe next month—has a lot riding on it. Here’s more on that from Automotive News:
Alfa is pinning its revival hopes on the Giulia, a rival to the BMW 3 series that will go on sale in Europe next month. It is the first of eight new models planned by the brand and Alfa’s first car on its new Giorgio rear-wheel-drive architecture.
“The credibility of the program depends on this car,” Wester said at a press event held to showcase the Giulia at FCA’s Balocco test track in northern Italy.
He said the company invested over 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) to develop the architecture and would spend “many more billions” to develop the rest of the Alfa range.
Alfa expects to sell more than 100,000 Giulias globally in 2017, its first full year on sale, Wester said.
4th Gear: Buick Verano Death Confirmed
The Verano, which debuted in late 2011 as a 2012 model and helped bring new customers to the brand with an entry sedan, is built at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township.
Sales of the Verano are down 11.7 percent through April this year compared to the same months a year ago. Verano sales last year totaled 31,886, down more than 27 percent from the year before.
“When we’re thinking about where we’re investing for the future, with the whole market moving toward SUVs, that’s where we want to put our investment,” said Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle.
5th Gear: May Sales May Be Down
A couple of factors in May could slow down the streak of record new car sales that seems to be without end, reports Automotive News:
May sales will likely fall about 6 percent from a year ago, according to analysts at LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. TrueCar projects a decline of 4 percent.
The forecasts would result in a seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate of 17.4 million to 17.8 million, compared to 17.4 million in April and 17.7 million in May 2015.
“This month’s sales results are set to fall year-over-year with two fewer selling days combined with retail demand that is holding steady, but not growing,” Tim Fleming, an analyst with KBB, said in a statement today. “While this year may not bring the growth the industry has become accustomed to, it is important to remember that sales are still at record levels and economic factors point to continued strength in the near future.”
Reverse: Golden Gate Bridge
Neutral: What Are Your Car Plans For Memorial Day Weekend?
What are you up to? Wrenching? Buying something new? Watching the Indy 500 and/or the Monaco Grand Prix? Being lazy?