This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 AM. 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: WTF Nissan/Mitsubishi/Samsung/Renault Nissan's had a rough go of it lately, despite an improving North American product line and a helpful currency. The cause? Lots of recalls and troubles in those expanding markets that were supposed to aid in the bottom line.
The greater cause? Poor management, in this reporter's eyes. After losing his deputy, Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn now has to face the company's myriad problems alone.
It could be worse, though, as he could be the CEO of Mitsubishi. WTF is Mitsubishi doing? Not much, which is why they're planning a big rollout of a new business plan and we're getting a little preview of it via Hans Greimel and it includes a Renault-based mid-sized sedan in the U.S. where Renault already sells a midsize sedan called the Nissan Altima.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to sell a Renault-based mid-sized car in the United States under a new strategic tie-up between Mitsubishi and the Renault-Nissan alliance.
The car will be the first of two Renault-based sedans sold by Mitsubishi under a product and technology exchange announced by the companies today. The cooperation also includes joint development of an electric car and a new compact car, both to be sold globally.
The cars may be build using the Renault-Nissan/Samsung plant in South Korea. Oh yeah, they also build cars for the South Korean market under the Samsung brand.
Anyone have any guesses what the cars might actually be based on?
2nd Gear: Romney Feared Anti-Bailout Stance Would Cost Him Nomination Mitt Romney feared his opposition to the bailout would cost him the GOP nomination, says David Shepardson, who got an early copy of Double Down: Game Change 2012, the latest behind-the-scenes story of how Republicans try to win national elections with a regional party made up largely of old white people who still use AOL.com email addresses.
It's a kind of curious problem Romney faced and it's hard not to feel a little bad for him. He thought he needed a Michigan GOP primary win to ensure the nomination, but supporting the bailout would have cost him basically everywhere else. Of course, as we learned he won Michigan and won the nomination and… his opposition helped (in a small way) cost him in Michigan and northwest Ohio.
Of course, if you do feel a little bad for Romney, you can just read this little detail:
Romney wrote the op-ed on his BlackBerry on the beach in front of his new $12 million home in La Jolla, Calif.
Oh Mitt Romney. You are your own Lucy and your own Charlie Brown, pulling the football of your own relatability away from yourself right when you're going to kick it through the uprights.
You love dogs and road trips? We love dogs and road trips! Wait, you put the dog where?
3rd Gear: Blah Blah Blah Porsche Purists
It seems as if they found exactly one person to complain about it.
The Macan is "going to be a double-edged sword," for Porsche, said Mike Davis, a collectibles dealer in Atlanta who drives a 911 Carrera. He said he doesn't think he would be interested in a Macan. "I'm sure there will be people who see Porsche as less exclusive, that the brand is watered down."
Yes, as you sell more cars you become less exclusive, but so long as the Cayman and Boxster and 911 keep getting better (definitely on the first two, arguable on the latter) I don't think the brand is becoming watered down and I think, at this point, most reasonable people don't care anymore.
I just need them to build a Porsche version of the VW Amorak they can sell in the U.S. so we can finally get some small truck love.
4th Gear: Plug-In Hybrid Sales Growing This Year Plug-in hybrid sales are up 32% through October, compared to the first ten months of 2012 reports Alisa Priddle. That means they make up a whopping 39,000 sales, or less than 1% of all cars sold in the U.S.
Ford's selling more of its Fusion and C-Max Energi plug-in models, besting the Toyota Prius plug-ins and, quietly, the Chevy Volt.
Curiously, sales of Ford's regular gas-electric hybrids are down. Not curiously at all, the we-don't-really-care Focus EV sales also fell.
5th Gear: Qvale Dead At 94
After a turn during WWII as a DC-3 and DC-4 pilot for the Naval Air Transport in California, Kjell Qvale decided to start importing the foreign cars he loved and selling them in the United States. This blossomed into a huge business after picking up the Volkswagen distributorship for the Northwest United States. Just think of the Beetles they sold!
Qvale is also well known for the Qvale Mangusta and other oddities. The Automotive News obit has a few great quotes:
"Most of those terrible cars were English," he remembers of several brands that vanished overnight.
"I don't worry about the mistakes I made," Qvale said in the 2004 interview with Automotive News. "I've done more right than wrong. I'm an eternal optimist who doesn't mind taking a chance — although that can be deadly."
Of all his ventures he said: "Whatever money I lost, it was always mine. And in the end, I've come out way ahead.
Reverse: I Need To Patent "Space Brothel" Before It's Too Late
On November 5, 1895, Rochester attorney George Selden wins U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for an "improved road engine" powered by a "liquid-hydrocarbon engine of the compression type." With that, as far as the government was concerned, George Selden had invented the car—though he had never built a single one.
Neutral: Which Mitsubishi/Renault/Nissan Should They Sell In The U.S.? Mitsubishi makes some interesting cars, as does Renault, and few of them are sold here. What would you like to see?
Photo Credit: Getty Images