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: You Gotta Hand It To Tesla
America's favorite electric car company/political movement Tesla knows the benefit of making big, happy, fun news ahead of their 2Q earnings report later today. In this case, it's the news that Panasonic will help partner with Tesla (as they have in the past) to build the lithium-ion cells that make eery Tesla run.
What they haven't agreed on yet is, uh, how much Panasonic will contribute to the likely $5 billion factory to be built... oh... somewhere:
Panasonic will build cylindrical lithium-ion cells and provide equipment, machinery and other tools for Musk's "Gigafactory," the Osaka, Japan-based company said today in a joint statement with Tesla. The companies said they were still discussing the details, including Panasonic's financial contribution to the facility, which Tesla has estimated could cost as much as $5 billion by 2020.
Anyways, I'm scheduled to be on Bloomberg today in the 4:00 PM EST block of time, so tune in to see us talk about it.
2nd Gear: VW Profits... Meh
VW didn't have a great quarter, but they didn't do worse than expecting, posting a drop of about 3.1% over the prior year on sales that were down about 2.2%.
"Significant negative exchange rate effects" and "The weak currencies of key emerging economies pushed prices up and thus put pressure on demand."
I.e., the value of money in emerging markets is down but the price of producing the cars they want haven't gone down with them. There are also issues in Brazil, Russia, and India — all places global carmakers have targeted for growth.
3rd Gear: Volkswagen Isn't Alone
The Wall Street Journal has a nice companion piece to this about the fortunes of all the European automakers who, no longer allowed to just take over foreign countries, have tried their hands at economic imperialism with mixed results.
What are the trends? Europe is getting better as people are finally buying cars and companies, especially PSA Peugeot Citroen, have used the economic turndown to cut costs.
But Russia and Latin America need help if they're going to buy Skodas and Citroens and shit.
4th Gear: Delphi Earnings Slightly Up
Parts supplier Delphi had a good quarter, increasing earnings to $382 million on an improving auto market and because no one seems to care about Delphi's role in the GM ignition recall crisis.
However, all is not rosy:
J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman, in an investors note Thursday, said while Delphi delivered "strong second quarter results," the company's guidance for the third quarter was lower than J.P. Morgan expected.
5th Gear: GM, A Tech Company
Of all the weird things that GM is good at, car-to-world communication is actually one of them. OnStar is a great idea and one copied by basically everyone else. They've also had the fastest in-car wifi since basically forever, including offering 4G LTE in the Malibu and Impala while everyone is still mired in 3Gville.
Granted, I prefer a BYOD (bring your own device) solution as opposed to having a pre-equipped car, but there's probably room for both.
As such, GM is going to make the hard push that, so long as your car doesn't shut off randomly, you'll have a nice web experience in your car.
GM's service ranges from $5 per month to $50 per month, with onetime data packages available up to $200 per year.
The company is offering three-month free trial subscriptions to new-car buyers.
Mahoney said about 99% of customers are activating the free trial.
That's a pretty good take-rate.
Reverse: Danica Wasn't The First
On this day in 1916, the future racing legend Louise Smith, who will become the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, is born in Barnesville, Georgia.
Neutral: Where Is The Gigafactory Going?
Reno? CA? Texas? Any guesses? Here's GCR's theory:
Photo Credit: Getty Images