This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 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: When God Closes A GDI, He Opens A Phaeton
There's only one real reason I buy that the Phaeton failed in the United States, despite being one of the best engineered cars ever made: Price.
The United States wasn't ready for a Volkswagen that could cost as much as $100,000, even if what you were getting was a Bentley at a crazy discount. No one explains the appeal better than Jonny did.
Still, for all the effort they put into building it, they did a poor job selling it and it soldiered on in Europe while it retreated from the U.S. And yet, apparently, it's coming back. Michael Horn, CEO of VW group, told Bloomberg's Matt Miller (half of crime-fighting duo Hardigree & Miller), that they were bringing it back:
"Yes we plan to bring it back somewhere in 2018, 2019"
2nd Gear: Europeans Still Fighting For Market, Not Margins
The European car market, finally, is turning around, but don't expect European automakers to suddenly start raising prices to make profits.
Discounts outgrew first-quarter sales, according to the data seen by Reuters, casting doubt on the strength of the recovery and the earnings outlook for carmakers in the region.
Registrations rose 10.4 percent in March, the Association of European Carmakers said, rounding off an 8.1 percent gain for the first three months, after six straight years of contraction.
But average retail incentives jumped 12 percent to almost 2,750 euros ($3,800) per vehicle in the five biggest markets, the findings of a major market researcher show.
So, right now, it's a recovery that's about as firm as warm brie.
3rd Gear: Blame The Buick Encore
My favorite crossover/SUV segment is the very small crossover/SUV segment, because they're basically hatchbacks that are a little more versatile. Therefore, as Brent Snavely points out, I should be excited about the future.
And of course, we love the Jeep Renegade.
4th Gear: Good News For GM
A federal judge ruled yesterday that the popular idea of making GM make its customers not drive their Cobalts and Ions ain't going to happen. Why?
No judge has ever sought to compel an automaker to urge its owners to stop driving. Members of the public would still have been free to continue driving. It's not clear how a request could have been enforced, since millions of owners would have to comply — and under current law are free to ignore recall notices if they choose.
"The 'park-it-now' alert conflicts with the existing notices issued in connection with the recall arising from the defective ignition switches. The court is of the opinion that NHTSA is far better equipped than this court to address the broad and complex issues of automotive safety and the regulation of automotive companies in connection with a nationwide recall," Ramos wrote.
5th Gear: Bad News For Barra
Ain't nobody letting that recall shit go, even at the auto show.
As the WSJ reported, questions about the recall aren't going away any time soon.
Here's Mark Reuss explaining what's going on, in a way that only Mark Reuss can:
"We have pulled the wagon a long way, and we are not about to give up right now," Mr. Reuss said. "We have to power through this and we will. As far as the integrity team, this is a long time coming, but the market has changed and we have to change."
Reverse: At Least One Country For Old Men
On this day in 2009, driver Mark Martin wins the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona, and becomes the first 50-year-old to claim victory at a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Sprint Cup race since Morgan Shepherd did so at a race in Atlanta in 1993. Besides Martin and Shepherd, only two other drivers age 50 or older have won Sprint Cup events.
Neutral: How does VW sell the Phaeton in America?
Please tell us, so we can tell them.
Photo Credit: Getty Images