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 parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: What's Mark Reuss Doing?
Somehow I missed this, but a Holden VF Ute was spotted at the 'Ring and pulled an 8:21, which is pretty decent for a truck. Even better, ex-Holden chief and current Dream Fulfiller Mark Reuss was driving.
Like Kate Upton doing the 'Cat Daddy' on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, it's that most forbidden of fruit in that most hallowed of places. So what's that gotta do with us?
CarSales.com.au wants us to believe that the 'Ring stunt "could be part of a plant to export Holden's new Ute to America."
Sure, Reuss was involved with the export deal that brought us the similarly-platformed Chevy SS. Sure, this is exactly the kind of vehicle Reuss would love us to have. He's a car guy. He gets us.
But I don't think Reuss is going to go down the path of spending all his time promoting small-batch halo vehicles when there are some serious steps that need to be taken to expand the company's reach (ahem, Malibu). We've also been burned before, so forgive my skepticism.
If he is, though, more power to him. I'll tell you this Mark: If you bring a Ute here we will canonize you. We will call you St. Mark and dedicate an entire week to the El Camino. We will carry you through the Detroit Auto Show on a throne.
2nd Gear: Can The Nissan NV Beat The Ford Transit Connect?
Our money has been on the Connect because we're more familiar, but Chris Woodyard makes the argument that the NV200 can best it.
The reasoning? It has doors, an engine, less cargo and a low floor. Not sure how exactly that's competitive. It's possible that the Transit Connect will have better gas mileage, although I think the NV200 looks better.
Either way, dos vans is great for all of us.
3rd Gear: Chrysler Sales Up 11% In May
Chrysler had a strong May with sales hitting 166,596 vehicles, an 11% increase year-over-year. It's also the company's best May in six years (i.e., since the Carpocalypse).
Per The Detroit News, that's largely due to a 24% increase in Ram sales, a 23% increase in Dodge sales, and a 1% increase in Fiat/Jeep sales. The Chrysler brand was down 2% as, c'mon, how many people who want a 300 haven't bought one yet?
They also sold 7,500 Darts, compared to about 1,300 Calibers in the same month in 2012.
4th Gear: Auto Stocks Rally
Tesla's not the only one seeing a stock price increase (although it's had the largest). According to The Detroit Free Press, GM, Ford and Fiat are all up YTD on the back of good news.
Specifically, GM is up 17.5% year-to-date, Ford is up 21.1%, and Fiat is up a whopping 61.6%.
Bigger sales numbers this month plus new product could help boost them even more.
5th Gear: Lincoln Is 'Warm Luxury'
Mark LaNeve was around as Cadillac transitioned from also-ran to the only respectable luxury brand in the United States and now, as head of an ad agency, he's going to try again with Lincoln.
What's that mean?
In this Automotive News article he sets out a few points.
- Lincoln has to be 'less bling and more of a clever luxury sensibility.'
- We're not going to try and compete with the Germans, i.e. be warm instead of cold.
- Customer service. Customer service. Customer service.
We'll see if it works.
Reverse: Du Pont v. GM
On this day in 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the chemical company E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. must give up its large stock interest in the Detroit-based automobile company General Motors on the grounds that it constituted a monopoly, or a concentration of power that reduced competition or otherwise interfered with trade.
Neutral: Which Van Is Your Van? Do you want the NV200 or the Ford Transit Connect? Which one is the better van? How much do you care about price v. features?
Photo Credit: Getty Images