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: VW Prepares To Fight
After the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board accused Volkswagen of cheating on diesel emissions with their 3.0-liter V6 engines, the company had a very different reaction than their original mea culpa. This time they’re issuing a denial and asking the EPA for more info. Via Bloomberg:
Software in 3.0-liter diesel engines was not installed “in a forbidden manner,” and Volkswagen is cooperating with the EPA to “clarify” its questions, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement. VW’s shares fell the most in a month.
[...]The expanded probe involves only about 10,000 cars now on U.S. roads, as well as an undetermined number of 2016 models, but draws in the prestigious Porsche brand that had been untouched by the scandal so far. The division was “surprised” by the EPA statement as, “until this notice, all of our information was that the Porsche Cayenne diesel is fully compliant,” its U.S. unit said Monday.
This latest allegation affects thousands of Audi, Porsche and VW models.
2nd Gear: Bad News For The New Boss
In another report from Bloomberg, this news is a really bad situation for new VW CEO Matthias Mueller, who was previously head of Porsche and was supposed to represent a fresh start for the company:
Mueller’s appointment in September was meant to signal a clean break from the group that oversaw the engineers who cheated and to usher in greater accountability. That may be short-lived as the EPA has now accused Porsche of using similar software to trick a U.S. emissions test so its larger V-6 diesel engines could pass clean-air rules. Volkswagen denied that it cheated to meet regulations on additional models.
The inclusion of a Porsche model in Monday’s allegations is problematic for Mueller, even if he isn’t directly implicated. If he didn’t know what his engineers were doing, that doesn’t look good for his management of the sports-car brand. For now, the first step is to try to dispel the accusations, said Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Consulting in Andover, N.J
3rd Gear: Jeep, Ram Win Again
Americans can’t stop buying Jeeps and Ram trucks! From Automotive News:
Another month of solid gains for Jeep, Ram and the company’s light trucks, as well as more generous deals, helped FCA US to a 15-percent increase in October U.S. sales.
The company’s U.S. deliveries have now climbed 67 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis.
Sales rose 33 percent at Jeep, 12 percent at Dodge, 2.9 percent at Ram, and 0.9 percent at the Chrysler brand and Fiat, FCA said today.
4th Gear: And Ford Did Well Too
Ford also scored some big gains thanks to the success of F-Series trucks, the new Mustang, the Edge and the updated Explorer. Reports The Detroit News:
Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday reported an October sales increase of 13.4 percent as the Dearborn automaker sold its new cars and trucks for record-high prices.
Ford sold 213,938 vehicles last month for the company’s best October since 2004. Average transaction prices rose $1,800 to a record $34,600 per vehicle.
“Strong demand for our vehicles provided another double-digit sales increase in October, and Ford vehicles posted all-time record average transaction pricing of $34,600 per vehicle,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Gains in our truck business were especially strong, with F-Series delivering its fourth straight month of sales gains and its best October retail levels since 2004.”
5th Gear: GM-UAW Deal Appears Headed To Ratification
While not all General Motors-UAW locals have approved the proposed dal between the automaker and the union, it looks like it’s going to be approved. From The Detroit Free Press:
In Flint, UAW Local 659, which represents about 1,400 workers at Flint Metal Center and a parts warehouse, production workers approved the agreement with a 66% majority, while 52% of skilled trades workers voted yes. Early this morning Local 598, which represents 2,573 workers at Flint Truck Assembly, approved it by 72% to 28%. Production workers ratified it by an even wider margin that was partially offset by skilled trades workers voting no by 60% to 40%.
This morning Local 651, which represents a parts warehouse in Davison and other facilities, 564 voters ratified the contract by 91% to 9%.
These latest results give momentum toward ratification after a majority of workers at an assembly plant in Fairfax, Kan., rejected it Saturday.
Reverse: O Canada!
Neutral: What Do You Make Of The Latest VW Cheating Allegation?
The automaker’s response to this one is very different from last time. What does that mean?
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