This is the Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parcel it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: Sergio Sends Stupid Snappy E-Mail To UAW President
Sources close to UAW-Chrysler negotiations told The Detroit Free Press that a deal was imminent with General Motors when Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne decided to fire off a sharp letter to UAW President Bob King at 10 p.m. Wednesday, accusing the union leader of violating their gentlemen's agreement to sign off on a deal by the 11:59 p.m. deadline. Shortly after the letter was sent, talks stopped at both companies. Chrysler and the UAW agreed to extend their current contract for one week. Talks resumed Thursday between the two sides, but nothing of substance is being discussed at the bargaining table, according to people familiar with the talks. Smooth move, Sergio.
2nd Gear: Jeep Wants To Be Imported From Detroit To China
Automotive News reports this morning that Jeep CEO Mike Manley hopes to negotiate a deal in the next several weeks that will result in Jeep production in China. Manley departed for China Wednesday to negotiate a deal with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd. Good. Because the truth is that nothing brings Democracy to a country faster than a Jeep. Of course usually it's a Jeep carrying U.S. Armed Forces.
3rd Gear: "Revolutionary" Next Mustang Design "Being Locked Down"
Ford's design chief, J Mays, says the styling for the next-generation Mustang is "being locked down." The redesigned car arrives for 2014 and coincides with a big historical event for Ford enthusiasts, Mustang's 50th anniversary. So can we expect another evolution of today's retro look? No way, Mays said this week during an interview at the Frankfurt auto show. Mays points to the Mustang redesigns introduced in 2005 and 2010: "Both of those cars everybody would say, ‘they are retro vehicles.' " But Mays said the next-generation Mustang will follow a different road. "The challenge or the opportunity for 2014 with a 50th anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well," he says. I can't help but think that the reason for a change from evolutionary to revolutionary design is that the Mustang's been getting its lunch eaten by the Chevy Camaro this past year — partly because the Camaro has a much more future-forward design.
4th Gear: Just Remember Who Was The First To Welcome Our New Korean Overlords
As we told you last month, every automaker fears competition from Korean automakers, once mocked for their low value and unimaginative design. Hyundai and its affiliate Kia earned high praise from rivals at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show. "They're a very powerful company and a powerful competitor, and they've come on a lot in the last three or four years," General Motors Europe President Nick Reilly told Automotive News, who knows the two well, having run GM unit Daewoo in Korea. "They have caught up to being a very good, leading company."