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: That’s Not Good
As it grapples with the costs associated with Dieselgate, Volkswagen announced it won’t announce its financial results in March as anticipated. Reuters reports VW needs more time to work out its numbers.
German carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said it would push back publication of 2015 results and its annual shareholders’ meeting as it continues to grapple with effects of its emissions test-rigging scandal.
More than four months after the scandal broke in the United States, Volkswagen (VW) still lacks a technical solution for almost 600,000 diesel cars and is facing a growing number of legal allegations.
Top players on VW’s supervisory board have been meeting more frequently lately to discuss the crisis, including how to account for the scandal in the carmaker’s annual results which originally were due to be released in full on March 10.
2nd Gear: Fiat Chrysler Poaches Ex-Ferrari, BMW Guy To Aid Alfa Romeo
Roberto Fedeli used to be chief engineer at Ferrari before going to BMW. Now he’s back at Fiat Chrysler, and will be tasked with fixing several issues plaguing Alfa Romeo and Maserati, reports Automotive News:
Fedeli arrives at time when FCA has a number of technical problems to solve. The launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia is months behind schedule. Supplier sources have told Automotive News Europe the Giulia failed to pass internal front, side and rear crash tests, which has resulted in an extensive re-engineering that has added about six months to the midsize sedan’s development time.
Maserati’s product launch cadence also is off schedule. The automaker’s first SUV, the Levante, was supposed to debut in mid-2015 but is not scheduled to go on sale until this summer. The production version of the Levante is expected to appear at next month’s Geneva auto show.
3rd Gear: Volvo Still Believes In Wagons
SUVs and crossovers are the hottest things right now, and despite success with the new XC90, Volvo is still a big believer in wagons. That includes the U.S. market, reports Automotive News:
Volvo will show its commitment to station wagons, whose sales are being hit by the global boom in SUVs, when it unveils its new V90 later this month.
Volvo’s flagship station wagon will go on sale globally, including in the U.S., a key market for the resurgent Swedish automaker as it seeks to expand under its Chinese owners.
[...] The three models will use Volvo’s new SPA modular architecture and will roll off the line at the automaker’s main plant in Torslanda, near Gothenburg. The three vehicles also will offer a plug-in hybrid variant as part of Volvo’s aim to extend the alternative powertrain across all of its model lines.
Fine by us.
4th Gear: Takata Posts A Quarterly... Profit?
In spite of having to deal with millions of potentially explosive airbags, and the ire of their automaker customers, it turns out beleaguered supplier Takata’s finances aren’t entirely in the sewer yet. Here’s Bloomberg:
Takata Corp., the air-bag supplier at the center of a global consumer safety crisis, reported quarterly profit rose from a year earlier, as it seeks to convince automakers including Honda Motor Co. to continue to support it through expanding recalls.
Net income climbed to 8.1 billion yen ($69 million) in the quarter through December from 2.8 billion yen a year earlier, on the back of higher sales in the U.S. and Asia, Takata said Friday. Revenue for the quarter climbed to 184.1 billion yen from 167.9 billion yen.
The results come as Honda, its largest customer, said it will recall another 5.7 million vehicles globally to fix faulty air bags that have been linked to 11 deaths and prompted more than 20 million recalls in the U.S. alone. The safety devices have been found in some cases to explode with too much force, rupturing and shooting metal and plastic parts at vehicle occupants.
Never give up on your dreams!
5th Gear: Super Bowl Ads!
Hey, it’s almost time for the gigantic festival of marketing that is the Super Bowl! Several automakers, including Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Audi, Kia, Mini and more will be spending big bucks for a TV blitz during the game.
You won’t be seeing any of them on Jalopnik, unless they are somehow newsworthy or rise to this level of amazingness. Advertising doesn’t need our help. But enjoy the ads, if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy.
Reverse: Andre Citroën!
Neutral: Do Wagons Have A Future?
Even in Europe, where the wagon has long been dominant, crossovers and SUVs are growing in market share thanks to improvements in fuel economy. Can the wagon last or will it be killed to add ride height eventually?
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