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: Wait, MTV?
While I definitely agree with the premise that we've historically overhyped how little interest the 18-34 demographic cares about cars, I was not expecting MTV to step in and make the case that Millenials heart emoji cars as much as they woman in red dress dancing Snapchat.
From MTV via The Detroit News:
The TV channel, a division of Viacom, said Friday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention that 75 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 — commonly known as millennials — would rather give up social media for a day than forgo their car. About 72 percent agree they would rather give up texting for a week than their car.
It's part of a study called "Millennials Have Drive," the first of two car studies Viacom will release this year.
"The insights gleaned from this first auto study show a generation that emphasizes car ownership and the critical role it plays in their day-to-day lives," said Berj Kazanjian, senior vice president, ad sales research, for MTV. "Millennials, like other generations, see car ownership as a way to establish independence, but millennials also see car ownership as a way to craft their unique adult identity."
A few things here.
- I question the impetus behind this study. Car ads are big money, Viacom sells car ads, and I wonder if they're worried about not getting as much money from that market.
- I'm not sure how thoughtful stats like "82% of millenials find buying/leasing a new car exciting" actually are.
- The ultimate conclusion is correct. Young people still mostly need cars, depending on the geography.
2nd Gear: Honda Goes With Rival To Takata For Airbags
Given that Honda owns part of Takata and has been involved with the company for a while, the news that they're going to go with one of Takata's competitors for airbags in the new Honda Accord is basically like your cousin standing you up for the prom.
Honda's decision to shift to a competitor for the most important vehicle in its largest market represents a major blow for Takata after a safety crisis involving its air bags that forced the recall for more than 21 million vehicles globally.
Honda spokeswoman Akemi Ando said the company had no immediate comment. Takata also had no immediate comment. Toyoda Gosei spokesman Shingo Handa said the company would not comment on its customers as a matter of practice.
Toyoda Gosei will supply driver's-side air bags as well as knee and curtain air bags for the North American version of the Accord, the people with knowledge of the move told Reuters.
Right in the kidneys.
3rd Gear: E'rbody Wants A Macan
Porsche. Porsche ain't dumb. Porsche smart.
Exhibit M: The Porsche Macan. They've sold many of them. Almost too many of them. They can't deliver them fast enough.
Lawrence declined to estimate the number of Macans that will be allocated to the U.S. market in 2015. Porsche sold 7,241 Macans during the seven months it was on sale last year.
Though Porsche’s U.S. executives are pushing for higher allocation of the Macan, it’s not confirmed, Lawrence said.
“We would be happy to get more,” he said. “But the factory is constrained, and the worldwide demand is so strong on that car.”
Just remember that every time you hear someone say SUVs are killing Porsche.
4th Gear: Government Wants Fuel Economy, We All Want Fast Cars
The Detroit Auto Show was full of green cars like the Chevy Bolt, but it was also full of supercars like the Ford GT and Acura NSX. With big Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets to hit, what's going to give?
Marchionne says meeting proposed CAFE standards in the U.S. is possible but requires a large investment. "There is not a single carmaker that cannot make the 54 number. The question is, at what price?"
Given the cost and limited demand for electrification, "the question is whether 2025 is a realistic date for which to achieve it," Marchionne said. "Fifty-four (m.p.g.) will not change. The date of implementation might."
We'll see. I tend to think we should make them try to hit it.
5th Gear: VW And Dealers Try For Reasonable Sales Targets
The recent approach to selling cars in China was to just tell your dealers that they'd have to sell, oh, let's say 20% more cars than they did the previous year and then require them to buy all of those cars.
That actually worked for a while, but as the economy has cooled (to just 7% year-over-year growth in the car market) and dealers have been left with way too much inventory. Some automakers have shrugged off the complaints, but China's dealership association has pushed back and at least Volkswagen seems to have gotten the message.
Volkswagen Group said it has reached an agreement with its dealers in China and pledged to continue setting reasonable sales targets to ensure a financially sound distribution network.
Larissa Braun, a Beijing-based VW spokeswoman, confirmed the agreement without giving additional details. The state-backed China Association of Automobile Dealers said Jan. 23 that the company and its distributors had found ways to "actively cope” with tough market conditions.
Dealerships in China have asked for financial support and lower sales targets from manufacturers after a combination of rapid expansion of sales networks and increasing car ownership restrictions by cities hurt profit.
It's not good for anyone to have their dealership network crumble.
Reverse: Just Some Good Ol' Boys
On this day in 1979, "The Dukes of Hazzard," a television comedy about two good-old-boy cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS. The show, which originally aired for seven seasons, centered around cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and their ongoing efforts to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner "Boss" Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best).
Neutral: Do Millenials Really Want Cars? Do you want your MTV?
Photo Credit: Getty Images