Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Wait what?
The lower gas prices that we had over the winter were a boon for drivers and people who like saving money. As far as I can tell, that’s most people. But now, an article over at Morning Consult shows evidence that the lower gas prices may not have had the stimulus effect that many thought it’d have.
Analysts were saying that the prices would come off akin to a $125 billion tax cut, but it doesn’t appear that has been the case after the fact. What has been found is that the extra spending that the lower gas prices were supposed to initiate just never happened in the first place.
From Morning Consult:
There are two leading theories for this question: either households are carrying so much debt that when they have additional disposable income they spend it on debt reduction rather than on themselves, or that they thought the dip in gas prices was a short-term blip and didn’t react.
Both wouldn’t be a shock. People have been over-leveraged in debt for years, so suddenly having some extra cash to pay it down would be a great gift. Also, gas prices fluctuate all the time. Seeing them low for a while wouldn’t initiate confidence in consumers that it’d stay like that forever, hence the minuscule reaction to it.
2nd Gear: Opel Thinks Fiat Is Right To Want To Merge, But Doesn’t Want To Merge
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Opel honcho Karl-Thomas Neumann said that while GM won’t be merging with Fiat, Marchionne is right that consolidation is a must in the industry.
“In principle (Fiat CEO Sergio) Marchionne is right, the auto industry develops the same things 10 times over,” Neumann said, referring to an email Marchionne was reported by the New York Times to have sent to Opel parent General Motors’ (GM.N) Chief Executive Mary Barra in March suggesting combining the two companies.
It makes sense to consolidate and do the work together instead of separately on the same components that most people won’t give a shit about. Especially in an economy car or a family car, cars that aren’t bought to go autocrossing, racing, or to flog on a back road.
Still, don’t look for it to happen in the near term.
3rd Gear: Beijing Requires A Parking Space
Beijing is one of the most congested and crowded cities in the world with a real parking issue. And now the city plans to require people purchasing a car to have evidence of parking for it. That’s right, before you have a car there, you have to have a place to park it.
The plan is to introduce the rule next year, which has been proposed since 2010. It would be the first city in China to have such a rule and would be similar to a law like it in Tokyo.
4th Gear: Thanks, Camaro
The 2016 Camaro will not be built in Canada. Instead, production of the pony car is moving to Lansing, MI. And GM has just announced plans to invest $175 million in the plant and to bring back the second shift. There is also the possibility for new hires.
This is yet another investment from GM’s billions that have been dedicated to plant improvements.
5th Gear: More Takata Recalls
FCA, Ford, and Honda have all expanded their Takata recalls as the airbags remain a national focal point.
FCA is adding 1.8 million cars, including an additional 440,000 Rams. FCA has more than five million cars impacted by the recalls. Ford is adding 950,000 cars to its recall, including new Mustangs and the Ford GT. Honda is adding 350,000 cars in America. When will it stop?
Did you spend more because of lower gas prices?
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