This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. 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: Honda Drops The Mic On Subprime Lending, Fleet Sales
“In addition to a heavy reliance on fleet sales to boost volumes, we are seeing some of our competitors adopt short-term tactics to stoke sales, like big jumps in subprime lending and 72-month terms,” Mendel said, without naming specific companies. “We have no desire to go there.”
Via Bloomberg: BOOM goes the Honda as the company's Exec VP of Sales John Mendel called out everyone else for counting fleet sales and using subprime loans to make their sales look better.
Honda, to their credit, does not do this, which makes sense given that a fleet sale isn't the same as a profitable direct consumer sale. The subprime loan thing could still be a reaction to the economy so...
2nd Gear: Honda Sales Down... But Going Up?
Mendel's comments come as the Accord appears to be besting the Camry through the first six months (which makes sense, it's a better car) and Civic sales are strong, but overall sales are down 1% compared to a growing market.
So, aside from Honda not playing the other game what's going on? Per the Freep, Honda thinks the redesigned Fit and HR-V will help. Here's my favorite part though:
Mendel said Honda styling has been criticized as bland “all of our corporate lives.” He thinks quality, durability and maintaining value are more important to buyers and explain Honda’s sales success.
“We’re not going to chase design trends,” Mendel said. “We’re never going to make you look stupid from a customer perspective.”
He said... hoping no one would remember they made the Honda Crosstour or the entire Acura lineup years 2007-2011.
Mendel is probably right there, though. Honda will always do well and I think the next 12 months are probably set for growth for the brand if they can actually get their cars to market in time.
3rd Gear: People Looking For Jobs Again There's a belief amongst some economists that you're going to see unemployment rise a little bit and it'll indicate a stronger economy, because it'll mean that more people are looking for jobs who gave up on them.
I hold with this theory as well, although the hope is that employment growth is so strong that we don't see much of an increase as those people returning to the workforce quickly find jobs.
Reuters seems to sense this trend in their latest pole:
The poll of 7,727 individuals aged 18 and older who said they were unemployed, retired, or declined to provide their employment status, found that 34 percent said they had stopped looking for work because the job market was so bad. Despite the falling unemployment rate, 40 percent said they were no more optimistic about their job search today than when they initially stopped working.
Among those who said they had halted a job search, many were ready to resume the hunt if they received the right signals from the market – those signals included more job postings that match their qualifications, evidence of a stronger economic recovery, and word that friends or relatives had landed jobs.
For people who identified themselves as retired, 40 percent said they would have preferred to keep working and 30 percent said they would go back to work if the right job came along.
Not great signs, but not terrible ones either.
4th Gear: Online Recall Check Now Up
Despite resistance from automakers, NHTSA now allows you to check your car out online to see if there are any recalls.
It seems obvious, but as the AP reports:
Without the search feature, car owners who hear or read about recalls of their make and model had no way of finding out if their car was covered, said Carroll Lachnit, consumer advice editor at the Edmunds.com auto information site.
5th Gear: LG Chem To Provide Batteries For Audi
South Korea's Lucky Goldstar (i.e. LG) will be the battery provider for all of Audi's next generation plug-in hybrids reports the WSJ.
LG Chem didn't disclose the exact value of the deal, saying only that it is worth hundreds of billions of won. It also declined to reveal when it will start delivering the batteries, saying only that the timing will be closely linked to the launch of Audi's new vehicles.
That probably won't help sell any, though.
Reverse: We Could Beat That
On August 20, 2004, 83 tow trucks roll through the streets of Wenatchee, Washington, in an event arranged by the Washington Tow Truck Association (WTTA). "The Guinness Book of World Records" dubbed it the world's largest parade of tow trucks.
Neutral: Is Honda Right? Should we not count rental cars?
Photo Credit: Getty Images