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: How Much Will It Cost To Combine Fiat And Chrysler?
Bloomberg reports that investors are fleeing Fiat shares, for fear that it will be expensive to combine Fiat and Chrysler. Fiat shares have dropped about 18 percent since Oct. 30, when Sergio Marchionne outlined a plan to focus on upscale models. Philippe Houchois, an analyst for UBS in London, estimates Fiat might have to raise as much as $5 billion in order to put the two companies together. UBS cut its rating on Fiat shares from "buy" to "neutral," joining seven other analysts who have cut their rating on the stock since the plan was announced. Nobody has raised their estimate for Fiat since then.
2nd Gear: Tupac Shakur For Ford Fusion (Sort Of)
Ford rolled out a new ad campaign yesterday for the Fusion that features the late rapper Tupac Shakur. Or at least, his poem, "The Rose That Grew From Concrete." Ford says it's the company's latest effort "targeting the African-American community." (Of course, Shakur was the target of someone in Las Vegas, where he died at age 25 in 1996 in a drive-by shooting.) Ford multicultural marketing manager Shawn Thompson says Shakur's poem is "the perfect description of how the Fusion design came to be. As it's described in the words of the poem, the Fusion is a clear testimony of what we can do if we keep our dreams."
You might not think to fit Shakur's poem to car design, but here it is.
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong,
it learned to walk without having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.
3rd Gear: Close, But No CR For Dodge Dart
Bloomberg reports that the Dodge Dart did pretty well on Consumer Reports' latest ratings of small sedans, but fell just short of the level that would allow it to get a coveted "recomended" tag. It's kind of unusual for CR to disclose a consolation prize, but quality is a key issue for Chrysler. The Dart is the first car sold in the U.S. from Fiat's "compact wide" platform, which also is the basis for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. It was lengthened and widened for American buyers.
"The Dart is the first decent compact car from Dodge in decades," Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center, said in a statement. "It has some solid positives. But overall it can't yet measure up to the best in class." So, who did well? CR rated Subaru Impreza first among small sedans, followed by the Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and the Chevrolet Cruze. The ratings come out in CR's January issue.
4th Gear: NHTSA Probing BMW Bikes For Fuel Leaks
The Associated Press reports NHTSA is investigating BMW's R-series motorcycles for fuel leaks that could result in fiery deaths. The probe affects 24,000 motorcycles sold between 2005 and 2008. According to the AP, the housing around the fuel pump can crack, and leak gasoline. No fires or injuries have been reported, but the safety agency has received 28 complaints from owners of the bikes. At least two owners say that gas soaked their pant legs, the AP says. The agency will look into the reports and decide if a recall is needed.