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: It’s A Goddamn Takeover
When I think of European roads, I think of small and compact cars. Cute lil’ hatchbacks and wagons. Or powerful sedans cruising on the Autobahn. News from March—where 25 percent of the European car market has lost itself to SUVs (!?)—shook me up good.
And the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping either, reports Automotive News Europe. From the story:
The rise shows no signs of slowing. In Europe, SUVs accounted for 26 percent of all passenger car sales last year, up from 8 percent in 2007, according to JATO. This year automakers are forecast to sell more than 4 million SUVs in Europe, which would push the market share up to 28 percent, analysts at LMC Automotive predict. By 2020, Europe’s SUV volume is expected to reach nearly 5.7 million resulting in a market share of 34 percent, LMC believes.
European SUVs face an issue that we don’t really have here, however: backlash against diesel. A gasoline-driven SUV in Europe would simply be out of the question. Either they hit the new CO2 targets—or they electrify.
With diesel falling so fast out of favor, automakers will have to act quickly to keep people interested. As it stands, Volvo, Jaguar and Audi have already started making moves towards electrifying crossovers and SUVs.
2nd Gear: Post-Brexit UK Isn’t Doing So Hot
It’s not been good for Britain so far after it voted to leave the European Union.
Construction, exports and car manufacturing were all in decline in June, giving the UK “an uninspiring end to the weakest first half of any year since 2012,” as Reuters puts it. From the story:
Britain’s goods trade deficit jumped to a nine-month high of 12.7 billion pounds ($16.5 billion) in June from 11.3 billion pounds in May, exceeding all forecasts in a Reuters poll, and the figures also showed the growing importance of exports to the European Union just as Britain is preparing to leave the bloc.
Car production recorded its biggest quarterly fall since 2011 and construction declined by the most since 2012.
If anything, these figures emphasize the importance of EU markets to Britain, which is where over half of the country’s goods go. And, adds Reuters, “over the past year these exports to the EU have grown almost twice as fast as those heading elsewhere.”
However, a Reuters poll from today shows economists expecting Britain to grow, on average, by 0.3 percent a quarter over the coming year. So, there’s that.
3rd Gear: Camaro Versus Mustang And Challenger
The Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger are three, closely competitive American muscle cars. Any and all Camaro/Mustang/Challenger comparison tests have been written to death—but that’s beside the point here!
The point here is that GM is thinking of decking out the Camaro a bit more to help it better compete with the other two, according to Automotive News. GM product chief Mark Reuss said,
“I think we’ve got opportunities at the very low end of the Camaro range and some remix of some of the V-8 options on it so we don’t force people to buy all the options with a V-8, just to get a V-8.”
The company refused to elaborate further, but personally I’ve got my fingers crossed for a four-cylinder Camaro with rocket propulsion capabilities.
4th Gear: Germany Checking Up On Ford
For obvious reasons, Germany is on high-alert for any more emissions-cheating diesel engines.
Now, the German transport ministry has its sights set on the Ford Mondeo (the Ford Fusion for us), according to Automotive News. From the story:
Germany has ordered its road transport watchdog to look at whether Ford’s mid-sized Mondeo model contains an illegal emissions cheating device, business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported on Thursday, citing the transport ministry.
WirtschaftsWoche said the inspections were prompted by emission test data that could indicate the use of such devices.
In an email to Automotive News, Ford’s German division said that each one of its cars and engines totally comply with current emissions regulations, okay? It is not using illegal cheats to pass emissions tests, alright? God.
Ford has also said that it will cooperate with the German government during this inspection. Here’s to hoping that everything is fine, dandy and normal.
5th Gear: Uber And Lyft D-I-S-R-U-P-T-I-N-G Car Buying, Maybe
Yesterday, we reported on ride-sharing and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft becoming popular and viable options over rental cars, especially in urban areas.
A study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Columbia University looked at Austin, Texas, where Uber and Lyft withdrew after a spat with the local government, reports Reuters.
Researchers studied Austin residents’ car buying patterns after Uber and Lyft left the city. Here’s what they found:
The study found that 41 percent of 1,200 people surveyed said they used their own car to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft, and 9 percent purchased a vehicle for this purpose.
Can you imagine using Uber or Lyft so much that you were forced to buy a car after they left?
Reverse: JUST KIDDING!!!
Neutral: What are your feelings on SUVs? Hate ‘em, love ‘em or meh?