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: Honda To Restate Last Year’s Earnings Over Takata Airbags
Recalls are expensive. The largest and most complex consumer product recall in U.S. history is going to be very expensive. As automakers prepare to recall approximately eleventy bazillion cars with potentially explosive and lethal Takata airbags, Honda’s already feeling the heat.
The Japanese automaker (and the one with probably the most Takata airbags) announced they’ll revise their financial results for last year to the tune of $363 million to pay for the recall. From Reuters:
A Honda spokesman said the added quality costs had to be booked for the year that ended on March 31, rather than during the current year, due to accounting rules in the United States. The revised earnings figures will be disclosed at the end of this month, the company said.
The financial cost of this is just getting started, for everyone involved.
2nd Gear: Western China Growth Plans Suck And Automakers Are Sad
Over the past few years, automakers have been putting most of their eggs in the China basket, now the largest automobile market in the world. In particular they’ve focused on the western part of the country, one they see as a growth market compared to the already car-saturated coast and eastern areas.
That hasn’t really panned out, according to the Wall Street Journal:
An analysis of new-car registration data by Chinese automotive research firm Ways Consulting Co. showed that first-quarter sales across 12 western provinces grew about 12% from a year earlier to 1.2 million vehicles.
That gain trails a 15% rise over the same period for the country as a whole, and represents a shift from a year ago, when western provinces outgrew the rest of the country. New-car registrations are considered a proxy for auto sales.
Luxury car registrations fared even worse, down seven percent since last year compared to a 50 percent rise the year previous. China’s west has been hit hard by an economic slowdown as of late.
3rd Gear: Lawyer Says GM’s Law Firm Enabled Cover-Up
In the consolidated class-action lawsuit against General Motors regarding the ignition switch fiasco, now linked to more than 100 deaths, a Texas plaintiffs’ lawyer has also accused GM’s law firm of taking part in a cover up. From The Detroit News:
Lawyer Bob Hilliard filed a motion Thursday in the class-action lawsuits consolidated in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking additional documents from GM and Atlanta-based King & Spalding, accusing them of “burying what they knew” and settling cases that could have shed light on the deadly defect.
The motion accuses King & Spalding of violating professional conduct rules after it learned of alleged “ongoing fraudulent concealment” regarding the ignition switch issue from GM. Hilliard wants documents that typically wouldn’t be disclosable under attorney-client privilege rules.
4th Gear: A New Toyota Prius Is Coming Soon, Thank God
I’ve been wondering about this lately and I know you have too! But fear not, an all-new Toyota Prius is set to debut soon. From The Detroit Free Press:
The unveiling of the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius is expected this year, which would quell rumors that the automaker’s bread-and-butter hybrid has been delayed.
Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, would not provide specific timing but hinted strongly the car will be shown soon. Lentz met with media today in York Township for the groundbreaking of an expansion of the Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor.
Now I can finally sleep at night!
5th Gear: LE MANS!
Look! The greatest weekend in all of racing has arrived! Our gal Stef Schrader is there and will tirelessly report from the scene on Black Flag. Here’s how to watch the race and, oh, look at that, Ford is coming back, OMG get excited.
Reverse: We Showed Those Jerries What-For
On this day in 1940, Edsel Ford telephones William Knudsen of the U.S. Office of Production Management (OPM) to confirm Ford Motor Company’s acceptance of Knudsen’s proposal to manufacture 9,000 Rolls-Royce-designed engines to be used in British and U.S.
Neutral: How Long Until The China Bubble Bursts?
Because it will, sooner or later.
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