This is The Weekend Shift, our one-stop weekly roundup of all the most important auto news you missed during the week. The world doesn't stop just because it's Saturday. Who says you should sleep in?
1st Gear: A newer, better Acura, sort of, hopefully
Acura's been a bit of an also-ran in the luxury car segment for a while now. They make the MDX, the TSX, and something called the "RLX," which you've likely never heard of before. A lot of them are based on the Honda Accord platform, for what it's worth.
And that's been a bit of a problem. It's easy to see the cars as re-badged Accords, with a touch of leather and maybe some new wheels, rather than competitors to Mercedes and BMW, and successors to the original Legend. Now, Honda has saw it fit to split up the Honda and Acura brands, in the hopes of revitalizing their premium offering.
No, they're not creating all-new Acuras, from scratch, because that would be exactly what you'd hope for and also it would cost an absolute fortune. Instead, the company is just splitting up the sales and marketing divisions. That's it, for now. No word yet on whether or not you'll actually see a difference behind the wheel.
2nd Gear: You lot just love taking the subway, huzzah
Rides on American public transit were up to 10.7 billion trips this past year, which is more than any year since 1956. As we've said time and time again, this is good news for people that love cars. Instead of associating your car with nothing but dull, gray, drudgery, you can associate the bus or the subway with the excruciatingly bland nature of commuting.
Instead, your car becomes a place of Joy and Happiness. Plus, less people on the roads means more space for fun, and less oil consumed, which means lower gas prices. It's a win, all around.
3rd Gear: If you're a Japanese worker in a Toyota factory, you just got a raise
You usually whine and moan when you don't get an annual raise. Don't get one for one year, and you start looking for a new job. Don't get one a second year, and you just quit, outright. Toyota workers have gone more than five years without a raise in base pay. Ouch.
But hey, at least they didn't take a pay cut, right?
4th Gear: Sergio Marchionne took a pay cut
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, pictured here possibly begging for a piece of bread, is taking a slight pay cut this year, and will make a pauper's salary of just $5,000,000. Poor guy. It's all because he didn't hit performance metrics for Fiat, even though he doesn't take a dime for managing Chrysler.
Oh, and he's also got $25,000,000 in stock options available, though he hasn't exercised them yet. If only he was a Toyota factory worker, then he'd be rolling in dough.
5th Gear: Everybody's investigating everybody over the GM recall
In case you've missed our coverage, there's a recall going on for a lot of cars made by General Motors. That's not exactly huge, as industry recalls are pretty routine. What is huge is that GM didn't recall the cars until people died, and they knew people had died.
How many people? Well, we're not exactly sure right now. It's probably at least 13, and could be as high as over 300, but the full numbers aren't out yet and it depends on how you're counting. Either way, the Feds are investigating.
And not to let the Feds hog the spotlight all to themselves, Congress is now investigating the Feds into how they've handled the whole matter. Because that is how Washington works.
Reverse: A Two-Mile High Tunnel
On this day in 1968, construction starts on the north tunnel of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel on Interstate 70 in Colorado, some 60 miles west of Denver. Located at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, the project was an engineering marvel and became the world's highest vehicular tunnel when it was completed in 1979. Four months after opening, one million vehicles had passed through the tunnel; today, some 10 million vehicles drive through it each year.
Neutral: What's the fallout from the recall?
I don't mean some sort of horrible blame game. Think there will be new regulations on recalls? Or just higher scrutiny for execs?
Ph0tos Credit: Getty Images