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: Robocop Remake Turns To Canada Instead Of Detroit
On Location Vacations reports that streets in Hamilton, Ontario, are being dressed up to stand in for Detroit in the remake of Robocop. This is shattering news given the push to commemorate Robocop with a statue in the Motor City. But OLV (one of our absolute favorite sites) says crews are converting a space on James Street North in Hamilton into a restaurant, where a chase scene will be filmed the last week of September. The Robocop remake, which stars Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton, is set to begin filming in Toronto this week. It was supposed to film some scenes in Detroit but now OLV is wondering if the Michigan shots will be scrapped. Any intel on the movie schedule?
2nd Gear: Guangzhou Turns Its Back On Cars
In other "we don't want you" news, The New York Times says Guangzhou, China is going to strictly limit the number of cars on its streets. Guangzhou has introduced license plate auctions and lotteries that are aimed at halving vehicle traffic. Cities all over China are taking steps to clean up the country's notoriously dirty air: According to Keith Bradsher in the Times, Nanjing and Hangzhou in east-central China are moving to require cleaner gasoline and diesel. Coastal cities, from Dongguan and Shenzhen in southeastern China to Wuxi and Suzhou in the middle and Beijing in the north, are pushing out polluting factories. And Xi'an and Urumqi in northwestern China are banning and scrapping cars built before 2005, when automotive emissions rules were less stringent.
Federal officials aren't happy about this for a couple of reasons. First of all, it threatens the growth of the Chinese auto industry, just at a time when the economy is slowing down. Second, it's something of a slap at the government for failing to heed warnings about terrible pollution problems. And of course, car companies which have invested billions in China are wondering if they'll be able to recoup the money they've spent. So, let's review. The European market is stumbling and now there are efforts against cars in China. What's that about international operations being a hedge against softness at home?
3rd Gear: Would You Pay $3,500 For An Electric Unicycle?
The Atlantic Cities brings this look at the the RYNO, a custom-built electric unicycle from Portland, Oregon. It says the RYNO can go 12.5 mph in the city, 25 mph off-road. It starts by a key near the wheel that activates a balancing system, kind of like a Segway, and then the driver duck walks it out into the street before it takes off. At full battery life, the uni can go for 30 miles before exhausting itself. It weighs 125 pounds and can handle hills with up to a 30 percent incline.
Of course, all this awesomeness doesn't come cheap: the RYNO costs $3,500. The company says it is aiming it at urban dwellers who "can slip behind a wall, cut up the alley, around behind the big oak tree, down though the park and emerge at a destination long before anyone driving a car could ever get there. Plus a RYNO can be parked anywhere a bike can be parked, free of charge...." So how about it: is this a better investment than a scooter or a hooptie?
4th Gear: Todo Los Q5 Audis Vendra De Mexico
USA Today reports that Volkswagen will build a new plant in the Puebla state of Mexico for Audi. In fact, the factory will become the sole global source for the Q5 sport utility, and that's all it will build for now. Puebla is the same state where VW builds Beetles and Jettas, and it needs more production of Audis and all its cars in order to accomplish its Beigekrieg goal of becoming the world's biggest carmaker. It's also pushing for Audi to become the world's biggest luxury brand, in I guess what Matt would call Luxkrieg.
There were hopes VW might build the Audi plant near its new factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. But the new Audi plant will be able to share the VW parts network that's already in place in Mexico. Besides, VW will need more production in a lot of places in order to push Toyota out of the way, so there's still plenty of time for Tennessee to expand.
5th Gear: The 2014 Fiesta ST Quietly Debuts
The 2014 Fiesta debuted last night, and brought along news of the new Fiesta ST, which looks an awful lot like the Fiesta ST Concept. Despite being the loudest of the Fiesta models the debut was quietest, with one small image in a brochure about the new vehicle. Here's what we know: "high performance chassis" with Ford's electric torque vectoring and a 1.6-liter, 182 horsepower fourbanger. Will we get it in the U.S. of A.? Sources say "yes" with the caveat that we won't get the three-door pictured here.
Reverse: A Ford, Not A Lincoln, Survives An Assassination Attempt
On this day in 1975, President Gerald R. Ford survived the first of two assassination attempts. The only president born in Michigan was spared when a Secret Service agent wrestled a loaded gun out of the hand of Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme, a Charles Manson follower who tried to kill the president in San Francisco. If either of the assassination attempts had been successful, auto industry history might have been changed and Nelson Rockefeller would have become president. [History]
In keeping with our new discussion system, here's a place for you to own the floor. We're asking each day what you think about an issue that comes up in TMS.
Today, tell us what you think about the efforts in China to limit the use of automobiles. Is it up to local governments to take such steps? Or should they fall to federal leaders? Will the moves keep China from dominating the global industry? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.