This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. 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: So Fucking S-Classy
The death of Maybach, Benz's wasteful attempt at relaunching a defunct luxury brand no one cared about it, could mostly be blamed on the fact that no one could picture spending so much money (up to $470,000) on what was really just a nicer version Mercedes S-class.
Dr. Z's big solution to this program? Just sell a nicer version of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class according to Automotive News. Or, more specifically, a 2016 model to debut in 2015 that'll cost in the $200-$250K range.
That'll help Mercedes deal with entry-level offerings from Bentley and Rolls-Royce that they can no longer compete with sans Maybach. What will be different, other than the price?
To differentiate it, Zetsche said Mercedes will offer technology and interior appointments that top those of the 2014 S-class sedan that goes on sale in September.
Ok then… what about a V16?
2nd Gear: They're Creating The Biggest Ad Agency… IN THE WORLD
Ad agency Omnicon and ad agency Publicis Groupe, perhaps super stoked after getting wicked drunk and watching the last season of Mad Men, decided it would be awesome if they just got hooked up and combined all their clients.
There's a fuller list from Automotive News, but the big accounts include Mercedes, Cadillac, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, and Chevy.
If you remember your Mad Men, you'd remember that you're not supposed to have rival clients ("we can only have one juice!"), but these days that's not so big of a deal.
What'll this mean long-term? Hard to say, although there may be some… redundancies.
3rd Gear: It's A Good Time To Buy Used Again
Per the AP, used car prices are finally starting to go down as incentives drive the price of new cars down, thus creating more inventory.
One of the dumber aspects of Cash-For-Clunkers was that, just as the economy was turning around, people who needed affordable used cars to get to their new jobs couldn't find any. But, reports Manheim auctions, the average price of a used car dropped to $11,031 in June, down 6% from the peak in May 2011.
As people suddenly have money and are upgrading to nicer, newer, cheaper cars, they're leaving cars for other people to buy as they enter (or re-enter) the workforce. Given how many good deals are out there, and low financing, I'd still say it's a good time to buy new, but I may soon change my appraisal.
4th Gear: Car Companies Going Digital For Advertising
If you hadn't noticed on this site, car companies are advertising online! On websites! With ads!
The Detroit News has a rundown of the activities, including Ford's Fiesta project, something to do with putting the Jeep Compass on some fashion show, and Acura doing "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."
This little bit regarding the Fiesta Movement made me think:
Ford is trying to get the Fiesta message out to 25- to 30-year-olds. “They would rather the story be told to them by their social network than by a corporation,” Zaremba said.
Yeah, I think consumers understand when they're being talked to by a social network on behalf of a corporation it's still a corporation. Right? Nevertheless, I think the effectiveness of it is that people will still view something that's different even if they don't believe it's fully authentic.
We're programmed to gloss over traditional ads, but I'm not sure our detectors are good enough to entirely gloss over the quasi-ad stuff.
5th Gear: Toyota Expanding Highlander Production
Aesthetically, I think the new Highlander is an improvement over the old one, so Toyota's announcement that it'll expand Toyota production in Indiana to meet demand isn't a surprise.
Specifically, they'll spend $30 million more at their TMMI plant in Princeton, adding about 200 jobs.
This goes along with planned increases in Alabama, West Virginia, Canada, and Kentucky.
Reverse: Good Buy
On July 29, 1909, the newly formed General Motors Corporation (GM) acquires the country's leading luxury automaker, the Cadillac Automobile Company, for $4.5 million. Cadillac was founded out of the ruins of automotive pioneer Henry Ford's second failed company (his third effort, the Ford Motor Company, finally succeeded). When the shareholders of the defunct Henry Ford Company called in Detroit machinist Henry Leland to assess the company's assets for their planned sale, Leland convinced them to stay in business. His idea was to combine Ford's latest chassis (frame) with a single-cylinder engine developed by Oldsmobile, another early automaker. To that end, the Cadillac Car Company (named for the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac, who founded the city of Detroit in 1701) was founded in August 1902.
Neutral: Non-Traditional Advertising Does it work on you? Do you notice it? Do you love it? Do you hate it?
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