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: We Can't Just Replace Everything At Once
For the same reason that automakers can't suddenly dump Takata despite making their lives miserable (or more miserable), we're probably months away from getting all the replacement airbags needed for the millions of cars that have been recalled.
Reuters said "until January or later" — actually, they initially said "after Friday" — which is hopeful in a way.
I'm less convinced as the number of airbags needed keeps growing and, at the moment, the recalls are still largely regional in nature. If it goes beyond that it's going to be even longer before everyone gets what they need.
2nd Gear: NHTSA Wants Those Airbags NOW!
Once again, where was NHTSA in all of this? That's going to be a question for whomever President Obama appoints to take the job full time, but for now NHTSA is shaking the cage a little bit to get people to notice as the Wall Street Journal reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent letters urging a speed up of repairs and released details of industry meetings which indicated it could be several more months before there are enough parts to complete the recalls.
The letters follow sharp criticism by lawmakers and safety advocates of the agency, auto makers and air-bag maker Takata Corp. over the slow pace of repairs and uneven safety campaigns to deal with the problem. NHTSA estimates at least 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with air bags that can explode with too much force during a collision, sending shrapnel flying through the car.
NHTSA, to their credit, has been helping by having their website crash and giving out incorrect information.
3rd Gear: U.S. Economy: BOOM!
The U.S. economy grew 3.5% (GDP at an annualized rate) in the third quarter of 2014, which beat estimates of about 3.0% from 87 economists polled by Bloomberg.
What gives? Unemployment is, relatively, low, although those measures are always slightly misleading. We're rebounding from a shitty winter. Durable goods are up. Auto production is up.
There are probably two weird things in this report think about:
1. Energy production is up while energy prices are lower for Americans, creating growth but also putting more money in the hands of consumers. Granted, energy producers will take a hi, but that's a longer term cost relative to the immediate bounce from cash.
2. Government spending is up, as it should be. The lack of government spending is slowing the recovery down. Granted, the spending now is from defense projects, as opposed to shit like roads and education.
4th Gear: Fiat Chrysler: MEH!
Fiat Chrysler is now listed on the NYSE and has put out their first quarterly report since and it's... about what we'd expect. Overall, things are roughly the same as last year, which is bad. Things are looking up in the U.S. and Asia, which is good. Europe is still a shit-show but less of a shit-show.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne called the earnings “a decent set of results” that puts the newly-merged automaker on track to deliver on its full-year targets, including a profit of 600 million euros ($763 million) to 800 million euros ($1.2 billion) in 2014
“It’s a big day,” he told media and analysts during a call Wednesday morning. “I think today we resolved a number of issues that we have been facing here at FCA for a number of years.”
So why did the stock surge yesterday? They're selling Ferrari.
5th Gear: Volkswagen: SKODA!
Have we mentioned how much we love Skoda? I feel like we have...
Volkswagen had a beat this quarter thanks in part to Skoda... and also the enduring popularity of Audi products.
Earnings before interest and taxes rose 16 percent to 3.23 billion euros ($4.1 billion), the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer said in a statement today. The figure exceeded the 2.81 billion-euro average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 4.1 percent to 48.9 billion euros.
“We have turned in a solid performance,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in the statement. “However, we must continue to focus on laying the foundations now that will enable us to respond” to challenges in the auto industry.
This is reportedly part of a larger shift away from trying to beat Toyota to trying to continue to make money, which is a better goal
Reverse: We've Come A Long Way
October 30, 1893 is the last day of Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition, a great fair that celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World and offered fairgoers a chance to see the first gas-powered motorcar in the United States: the Daimler quadricycle. The exposition introduced Americans to all kinds of technological wonders—for instance, an alternating-current power plant, a 46-foot-long cannon, a 1,500-pound Venus de Milo made of chocolate, and Juicy Fruit gum—along with replicas of exotic places and carnival-style rides and games.
Neutral: How Long Before This Takata Mess Goes Away?
February? June? How pessimistic are you?
Photo Credit: Getty Images