Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: More Takata Recalls
Takata’s airbags have been at the center of a massive recall push for the last several months. Basically, airbag inflators supplied by the Japanese company might shoot shrapnel when the airbags deploy, which could potentially injure or kill people in the car.
Toyota and Nissan are recalling 6.5 million cars between them, which means that more than 31 million cars have been recalled for faults involving Takata products in the last several years. The Toyota recall is for five million cars across 35 models. Nissan is recalling 1.56 million cars for the same issue.
Both automakers have said that there have been no reports of injuries or deaths for the cars being recalled. There have been reports of about 105 injuries that are connected to the airbags across other cars.
2nd Gear: GM China Price Cut
GM has seen its sales fall in China as growth contracts in the market. In order to ump start sales of its cars, GM and SAIC (its partner in China) are cutting prices pretty massively.
And when we say massively, we mean that prices can be cut by up to $8,700 on Chevys, Buicks, or Cadillacs. The slump that GM encountered is real, with a 5.6 percent drop last month for the company as a whole and 8.5 percent for Buick, which is massive. Especially because Buick is one of China’s most revered brands.
3rd Gear: Will BMW’s New CEO Be Overshadowed By His Old Boss?
BMW has a new CEO in Harald Krueger. The old CEO, Norbert Reithofer, has moved to become Chairman of the company. Normally, the recommendation is that people moving from CEO to Chairman at BMW is to spend two years away so that the new CEO can enact their plans and strategies without interference.
That might not happen here. And while Reithofer helped make BMW into the powerhouse that it is today, will Krueger be able to make his own mark without Reithofer looking over his shoulder and making subtle suggestions? Not only that, but Krueger comes in at a weird time for the automaker, as they have a sales lead, but that lead is shrinking thanks to a contracting Chinese market. Lower gas prices are also making the i subbrand a harder proposition to sell.
This will be an interesting ride for Krueger.
4th Gear: Tesla Gets Go Ahead In Maryland
Tesla’s direct sales model has been controversial for the auto industry since it was introduced. Now, Maryland has approved Tesla sales with an oddly specific bill.
Basically, automakers can be considered dealers as long as they deal in “electric or nonfossil–fuel burning vehicles.” Basically, as long as they deal in Teslas. Or want to have a dealer just for a Chevy Spark EV.
This just leaves Arizona, Texas, West Virginia, and Michigan that ban direct sales from manufacturers.
At the annual meeting of the Chrysler Corporation on this day in 1980, stockholders vote to appoint Douglas Fraser, president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW), to one of 20 seats on Chrysler’s board of directors. The vote made Fraser the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation.
Will BMW’s new CEO be able to make meaningful change with his old boss over his shoulder?
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