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: All Politics Is Local
Just a day after it said that it was interested in buying Jeep, China’s Great Wall Motor threw water all over that fire, Bloomberg reports:
Great Wall said there are “big uncertainties” whether it will continue to study Fiat Chrysler, the Baoding-based automaker said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange. The Chinese company’s efforts have “not generated concrete progress as of now,” and it has not established contacts with Fiat’s board.
“We cannot ignore the potential policy hurdles involved in a potential cross-border M&A,” Ha and Sun said in the note. “The chance of a significant M&A for GWM is still remote.”
And part of the reason why this deal could have fallen apart before it even truly got started is because the political mood in the United States isn’t exactly favoring massive takeovers of storied American #brands at the moment, Reuters says:
Any bid now - and it would potentially be one of China’s largest ever overseas deals - would come at a time when Beijing is trying to limit extravagant Chinese purchases abroad, and when the political environment has cooled in the United States.
China’s cabinet on Friday issued rules on overseas acquisitions for the first time.
I am sort of curious about what Fiat Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne will do if he can’t sell off the company either as a whole, or in pieces. Maybe he’ll sell his desk or something.
2nd Gear: Well I Guess We Can Rule Out Chery
While GWM might be in a buying mood for Jeep, another big Chinese carmaker appears to be ruling itself out. Chery, which exports more cars than any other Chinese brand, is apparently not a buyer, Reuters notes:
Chinese state-owned Chery Automobile Co [CHERY.UL] aims to rely only on organic means to grow its international sales, its CEO said, underlining a strategy that is different from its private sector rivals who have either made or are considering acquisitions.
And while the company was open to forms of cooperation such as joint ventures, it was not actively looking for mergers and acquisitions in its bid to crack markets such as Western Europe, Chen said.
“We’re today not active in the merger and acquisitions market, in the big deals so to speak. We are open for cooperation as always, but fundamentally, we have consistently organically grown our markets by our own capability and sometimes with cooperation,” he said.
Has anyone heard from Geely yet? I can’t wait for a Wrangler with Volvo safety and Lotus-tuned suspension.
3rd Gear: Diesel Is A “Vital Interest” For The German State
Diesel-fueled engines have been a staple of the German automotive industry for decades, but as of this moment it looks like Dieselgate will be its death knell. Everyone from Volkswagen to BMW to Mercedes is seemingly pouring massive resources into electric propulsion instead, but that doesn’t mean the German state is giving up, Bloomberg reports:
“We have a vital interest in preserving diesel as a technology because it emits far less CO2 than other technologies,” Peter Altmaier, Merkel’s chief of staff, said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Berlin. “At the same time we have to make sure that all the rules are respected and all the regulations are fully implemented.”
But how far does Germany go to preserve diesel technology? And when does it give up?
4th Gear: It Turns Out All Those Technological Doo-Dads Are Working
Olds the world over may be lamenting the death of the REAL CAR where you did everything yourself because the REAL CAR MEN like to do everything themselves even the manual spark advance, before dying from drinking too much radium. But a study from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says a lot of the new safety tech in cars is actually working:
Results of the new study indicate that lane departure warning lowers rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes of all severities by 11 percent and lowers the rates of injury crashes of the same types by 21 percent. That means that if all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane departure warning, nearly 85,000 police-reported crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015.
The analysis controlled for driver age, gender, insurance risk level and other factors that could affect the rates of crashes per insured vehicle year.
Another IIHS study went on to note that blind spot detection systems appear to reduce lane departure crashes by 14 percent.
Sure, a lot of those lane departure warnings might be over-sensitive and annoying as hell, but we’re living.
5th Gear: WHY
Reverse: My Man Was Thinking Ahead In August
On this day in 1904, Harold D. Weed of Canastota, New York, is issued U.S. Patent No. 768,495 for his “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires,” a non-skid tire chain to be used on automobiles in order to increase traction on roads slick with mud, snow or ice.
Neutral: A Volvo Lotus Wrangler
What the hell does that look like?