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: Obama And A Bunch Of Senators Win Because Of The Bailout
If the projections are correct, Barack Obama is getting a second term, boosted by votes in Midwest states helped by the auto bailout. The rescue plan also looks like it elected and re-elected a bunch of other people last night. First and foremost, Michigan's Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow won re-election to a seat Republicans once thought they'd be able to take. Stabenow famously got emotional during Senate debate over the bailout in 2008, and while she wasn't able to convince her fellow senators to approve it, she's always been a big bailout booster. Meanwhile, Democrats appear to have grabbed Senate seats in Wisconsin and Indiana, too, much to the shock of Republicans who thought that because they had captured the governor's chairs, they'd take the national offices, too.
Democrat Sherrod Brown won a tough re-election fight in Ohio in one of the nation's most expensive races. And, while you can't draw a direct line from the bailout to Elizabeth Warren's Senate victory in Massachusetts, she was very much involved in the Obama Administration's financial overhaul plan. The vote proves something: when the UAW wants to get out the vote, it can (and it doesn't hurt that union members at the Detroit auto companies had the day off, either.)
2nd Gear: Whose Car Videos Do You Love Most?
Econsultancy says that when it comes to car videos shared on the Web, Volkswagen beats the other car companies hands down. It accounted for 25 percent of all shares between June 2011 and 2012. Kia came in second, with 21 percent of video shares, followed by Chevrolet at 15 percent. The figures come from a study by Unruly. Volkswagen's Super Bowl ad, "The Force," is the most shared of all time, with more than 5.5 million shares, and 62.5 million views. The study says "The Force" resulted in a 127 percent increase in Web traffic, and apparently led to 20,000 additional sales, although Econsultancy is a little skeptical about the sales figure. Here's an interesting number, though: for every single video that's shared, 25 more people may view it. Meanwhile, when it comes to shares just via social media, "The Force" is edged out by those dancing hamsters from Kia.
3rd Gear: Ford and GM Ride To The Rescue Down Under
Reuters reports on an unusual rescue plan that Ford and General Motors came up with for a key Australian parts supplier. The pair agreed to under write $6.5 million in debt for Autodom, so they could avoid a crippling production shutdown. :Last week, Autodom closed its plants in two Australian cities. According to Reuters, the closings raised fears the shutdown would halt Ford and GM Holden production as soon as this week. Although the auto industry is getting $2.6 billion in government subsidies, the Australian manufacturing sector is struggling to hang onto its manufacturers.
4th Gear: Sandy's Damage Toll Reaches Toyota
NorthJersey.com says Toyota dealerships all over New Jersey have sustained losses from Hurricane Sandy. Toyota determined over the weekend that it may have to trash 3,000 of the 4,000 cars that were caught in a storm surge at its Port Newark processing center. Hudson Toyota in Jersey City lost 650 new and used cars, while Toyota of Hackensack made out much better. It moved cars to higher ground before the storm and only lost one car, a Prius that was parked inside its showroom. The situation comes as many Jerseyites are finding that their cars were so damaged from the storm that they will be total losses. Those folks will be out car shopping. But the Toyota dealers say their counterparts in other parts of the country are stepping up to ship them replacements.
Reverse: The King of Cool Dies
On this day in 1980, Steve McQueen died. If you've never seen Bullitt, download it from iTunes right now. McQueen was an avid racing fan, and doctors theorized that his death from cancer actually may have happened because he was exposed to asbestos in racing suits, although it almost certainly came from his time stripping it out of old war ships while he was in the Navy. McQueen's filmography includes a number of spectacular car-related movies, from The Getaway to The Great Escape. [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, we'd love to know: what's your favorite car video? Did you pass "The Force" around, or are you enthralled by the Kia hamsters? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.