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: GM Finds Truck Owners Want Trucks To Look Like Trucks
The Detroit News says General Motors, which is unveiling the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra this morning (look below), did extensive testing on the trucks' interiors while the vehicles were under development. Its finding: truck owners didn't want trucks with fancy car-like interiors. (Remember the Lincoln Blackwood? No?) "They want it to look like a truck. They want it to feel like a truck," said Helen Emsley, GM's interior director of design for performance vehicles and full-size trucks. (Yes, that's her title.) "They want it to handle like a truck, and the interior especially," she told the News. The story details the numerous clinics that GM did on the trucks, which are replacing some of the oldest models on the market. It's important for GM to get these trucks right, because pickups only get a complete overhaul every decade.
The 2014 Chevy Silverado and its GMC Sierra stablemate debut via webcast later today, but little bits of the new truck are already leaking out. Here's an upskirt shot of the new nose and headlight cluster from WDIV in Detroit.
It clearly shows a more masculine, evolutionary design from GM for its... More »
3rd Gear: Will Chrysler Keep Building Vehicles For VW? Stay Tuned
Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen and Chrysler are expected to hold negotiations about future production of the Routan, or maybe something else. Yesterday, we told you that it looked like the Routan was going away. Bloomberg reports Chrysler hasn't built any for Chrysler since July at its Windsor, Ont., plant, even though the production agreement between the two companies runs through the 2014 model year.
Volkswagen and Chrysler plan to review their agreement in early 2013, Dino Chiodo, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 444 in Windsor, told Bloomberg. Many analysts think Routan will be replaced by a crossover, so it's always possible that vehicle could go into the Windsor plant. On the other hand, there's a pretty intense rivalry between VW and Fiat, so maybe the pair will just shake hands and call it a day.
4th Gear: New Top Toyota Exec In Elvis' Hometown
The North East Mississippi Daily Journal says veteran Toyota executive Doug Formby has been named the highest-ranking America at the company's new plant in Blue Springs, Miss. He replaces David Copenhaver as vice president for administration, which basically makes him the public face of the plant. Copenhaver is retiring. Formby has held key Toyota jobs in Princeton, Ind., Georgetown, Ky, and Erlanger, Ky., at its North American engineering and manufacturing headquarters. He was one of the company executives who picked the Mississippi site, which is just outside Tupelo, better known as Elvis' birthplace. He's coming in as Toyota is widely expected to expand the Mississippi factory, which is already at full staff only a year after it opened.
Reverse: President Wilson Hits The Road
On this day in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson began the first presidential trip to Europe. He took the SS George Washington across the Atlantic, and then traveled by road to Versailles. There, he headed the U.S. delegation to treaty talks that marked the end of World War I. Europe was basically left in ruins by the war, and Wilson's trip led to the creation of the League of Nations. It was definitely worth the road trip, even though Europe was barely at peace for another 20 years. [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, to mark the unveiling of the new GM pickups, tell us what you think about pickup trucks. Was it ever a good idea to make luxury trucks? What makes the quintessential pickup? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.