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: Don't Call It A Comeback
The Morning Shift is back and I, as Editor, couldn't be more proud to place it in the capable hands of our newest contributor Micki Maynard. You may know Micki from her six years on staff at The New York Times where she served as a Senior Business Correspondent and Detroit Bureau Chief. Or, perhaps, it's from her work at Forbes.com and the excellent Changing Gears project for public radio. It's quite possible you read her book "The End Of Detroit" — a piece of business writing that predicted bankruptcy for at least one of The Big Three years before it happened.
In case you already knew she was a badass, here are some facts about our newly crowned Auto Diva you maybe didn't know: There are 28 references to her in the Jalopnik archives; Jackie Stewart once tapped her on the knee to teach her how to drive on the Ford test track; The German magazine Stern called her the "Bravest Woman In Detroit"; Her dad was a finance guy at American Airlines and she has almost every airport code in the world memorized; She lives in Ann Arbor and is thus the only Jalopnik contributor currently based in Michigan; It's been a longstanding goal of mine to get her to write for Jalopnik so I'm extremely psyched.
In addition to writing The Morning Shift, Micki will also contribute in-depth pieces on the car industry. Let's all welcome her to Jalopnik in the comments! — M.H.
2nd Gear: Crossovers Come Under NHTSA Scrutiny:
Reuters is reporting that two crossovers, the Honda Pilot and Toyota RAV4, are the subject of new federal safety investigations. NHTSA is looking at stability control failures on the 2005 Pilot and possible rusting rear suspension arms on RAV4s sold during model years 2006 to 2008. These aren't recalls, but they could lead to them if it's determined that any accident caused by these issues could lead to fiery death. Sales of both are up this year, the Pilot by 6 percent, the RAV4 by 16 percent, according to Autodata.
3rd Gear: The 'Don't Call It An Astra' Ragtop
Car Magazine has what it says are the first shots of the next Vauxhall Twintop convertible (no name yet, but we're not supposed to call it an Astra). Car says it's a standalone model, something like the Volkswagen Eos, instead of a chopped Astra hatchback. It seems the car will reach the British market this fall, after it's unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. With all the concerns over Opel and Vauxhall, a convertible might help cut through the angst.
4th Gear: Why Do They Have The B-Class And We Don't?
While America cools its heels and waits for the Mercedes B-class, it's going on sale in Indonesia, according to the Jakarta Globe. Mercedes says it will appeal to growing demands there for more family cars. And they may have a point: 60 percent of the people who buy cars in Indonesia are women. You can't buy a B-class in the U.S. but you can go up to Canada to see it. Or lust after one when you take that flight to Europe this summer.
5th Gear: Greece Is The Word
Reuters quotes Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne as saying the break up of the Eurozone is "possible." That's just what President Obama said on Friday that he wants avoid. Car companies are already skittish about worsening financial conditions across Europe, which they've always counted on to be a lucrative market. For them, Greece giving up on the Euro could cause a bunch of dominos to fall, and lead to economic meltdowns both overseas and here in the U.S. At the very least, it means getting those souvenir drachmas out of storage for that Mediterranean cruise.
6th Gear: The Hyundai Accent Won't Be Cheap Any More
Edmunds.com reports that Hyundai is raising the price of the 2013 Accent by $2,000. If you want the new one, it will start at $15,320, and that puts its price above that of its competitors, including the Ford Fiesta. You actually can spend more than $17,000 for the top-of-the-line Accent SE. Yes, Hyundai and its Korean sister Kia are having good years, but that seems like a significant jump in this economy and for a company that's always been like Southwest Airlines, offering a decent, affordable ride.
Detroit Could Be Broke At The End of The Week [Detroit Free Press]
Ray LaHood REALLY Wants You To Stop Texting In Your Car [The New York Times]
Five U.S. Dealers Sue Mahindra For Fraud [Automotive News]
Unhappy Moments In Electric Cars [Fortune Magazine]
2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Is Sold Out [ New York Daily News]
Could Your Prius Power Your House? [Edmunds.com]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 1955, Pierre LeVegh's Mercedes-Benz went out of control at 150 mph at Le Mans and crashed into the grandstand, killing him and 81 other people. LeVegh was driving the 24 hour mile race alone. It now requires teams of three drivers. The tragedy caused Germany and and Switzerland to cancel races, and led to a permanent ban in Switzerland that remains to this day. [History]