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: Carmakers Worry About What Four More Years Bring
Forbes says President Obama's re-election is not especially good news for the auto industry. There are a number of reasons why, starting with the steps the government has to take to avoid falling over the "fiscal cliff" that looms on Dec. 31. A bunch of temporary tax cuts are set to expire then, which could sock the average family with a tax increase of $3,500. "It really does hit people who buy cars and trucks," said Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research.
Beyond that, Obama's fuel economy standards are looming, and this is when car companies have to start making the investments that will help them achieve a 35.5 mpg CAFE standard by 2016. Even if they're betting that the standard will be repealed once Obama leaves office, there's no guarantee and they have to meet it for at least that year. Other issues, like a potential trade war with China and the sale of Treasury's share of General Motors stock, are bound to come up sooner rather than later.
2nd Gear: Sandy-Affected Buyers Are Getting a Break
The Detroit News reports that Ally Financial will let buyers who live in areas of the country affected by Hurricane Sandy defer their first payment for up to three months. Ally's offer applies to buyers of new GM and Chrysler vehicles, and it's good on 2012 and 2013 model year cars. The deal runs through Jan. 2. Some analysts are predicting that up to 200,000 cars will have to be scrapped on the East Coast due to storm damage, so the deferred payments can help people get into new vehicles as soon as they get an insurance check.
3rd Gear: BMW Serious About Updating The 5-Series
Motor Trend got a really good look at the next-generation BMW 5-series that's been running around Germany. And, it appears that BMW trying out 6-series headlights, helping to give the car a much-awaited facelift. "The showroom-ready version of the new 5 Series could sport headlights that stretch to the grille like the 3-series' headlights. The front bumper on the prototype appears to get new larger air intakes," says Motor Trend. BMW isn't likely to go too crazy with the the 2014 5-series, though, since it is its best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
4th Gear: The New Golf Gets The 10CC Treatment
Carscoop says VW has received 40,000 pre-orders for the new version of the Golf, which is hitting German showrooms on Saturday. There still isn't a date when the seventh-generation Golf comes to the U.S., since it hasn't decided which factory it will use to build it. The starting price in Europe is about $21,700. It's a big, festive beigekrieg weekend at VW dealers who get to sell the car, and VW has launched its first Golf commercial. (The German words in the middle mean, "the one we can rely on." The music brings to mind the opening chords from that 1975 earworm, "I'm Not In Love" by 10CC. You'll hate us all day for mentioning it.
5th Gear: The BMW M6 Gran Coupe Revealed
BMW used the Nürburgring as the venue for the reveal of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe according to BMWBlog. Similar to the M5 and M6, expect a 560 hp TwinPower Turbo V8 with a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, though they're not sure if we're also getting the option of a manual transmission here in America. It should top out at 155 mph (electronically limited) with a trot to 60 mph in around 4.5 seconds. It's estimated to cost around $120,000, which is insane.
6th Gear: Boxster Wins Design Of The Year
Our issue with -OTY awards is they all have such a flexible ethos (if they have any ethos at all) it's hard to determine what the accolades mean. Therefore, we generally view them as meaningless. There are a few exceptions, and the Automobile "Design of the Year" is one of them. We know what it means and we couldn't agree more with their choice of the new 2013 Porsche Boxster. The car is gorgeous and cohesive. A knockout. The best looking new Porsche in a generation.
Reverse: Last Day For The Ford Rotunda
This day in 1962 was the last for the Ford Rotunda, the exquisite exhibit space that stood near I-94 just inside the Detroit-Dearborn border. The next day, the Rotunda burned to the ground in a massive fire that people in Motown still talk about. At the time, the Rotunda was the fifth most-visited tourist attraction in the U.S., behind Niagara Falls, the Smokey Mountain National Park, the Smithsonian and the Lincoln Memorial. Ford built it for the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and moved it after the fair was over. The highlight of the year was its spectacular Christmas exposition, whose theme changed each year. Sadly, a group of school kids from South Bend watched in horror as the place went up in flames. [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 like to know if we have any readers whose cars were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Have you been able to reach your insurance agent? Anyone doing volunteer work or reaching out to help? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.