This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 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: The Vitesse Problem
I knew last night I'd lead TMS with this story from Jason Harper because it provides that nice mix of insight and jealousy-inducing-detail he's known for.
If you want a Bugatti coupe you're SOL, but as he reports, there are still 40 unsold Veyron convertibles of the Grand Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse variety just begging to be sold. Selling them is important, because Bugatti won't even think about a new car, they say, until they offload these cars.
As a response to this problem, Bugatti will hold events and let rich people get inside the cars so they give in and just buy one already.
It's worth noting — as Harper does in his piece — that we also drove the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse and, hey, if you've got $2.35 million burning a hole in your pocket you might as well.
2nd Gear: Corker Claims VW Will Give More Jobs To Workers If They Reject The Plant
This is weird. Despite complaints form conservatives that VW was just begging for a "yes" from workers voting on the UAW deal going on right now in their Tennessee plant, U.S. Senator Bob Corker said that the company will reward workers with their new 7-passenger SUV if they reject the UAW.
Here's what he said via Reuters:
"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," said Corker, without saying with whom he had the conversations.
You think they'd have hinted at that earlier since they've explicitly said on many occasions that the decision would have no bearing on this.
I have two theories about what's going on here:
1.) Corker is very important to VW, both from his time as Chattanooga mayor and now as a U.S. Senator and VW is smartly playing all signs of this. If the UAW wins they can just make Corker thing he persuaded them to build it there. If the UAW loses then Corker looks right.
2.) Corker knows if the UAW wins he's going to get a primary challenge and he's doing whatever he can to sway the election thinking that, if it does lose, and VW does bring the SUV to Tennessee he looks smart. However, if he's doubly wrong, he's going to look like bad.
I guess a third alternate theory is that VW is looking for cover if it moves the plant to Mexico if that's what they want, but I don't think they do. Their desire to sell cars is stronger than their desire to make a big profit and an "American-built" SUV could theoretically sell better.
This whole thing is truly, amazingly, wonderfully complex.
3rd Gear: Let The Lease Wars Begin
All those people who leased vehicles a few years ago as the economy started to turn around will now have a chance to turn them in, which means automakers have a chance to lease a new vehicle or sell them a car. How many?
About 3 million, or 50% more than in 2012 Karl Henkel reports.
This is one of those win-win situations as automakers are going to want to sell you a car and will give you a decent deal, especially as inventories are high. One thing they'll do is a "lease pull-ahead" which allows people to swap cars early to get a newer ride.
4th Gear: As If You Didn't Have A Bad Enough Opinion Of The Cobalt
GM is recalling about 780,000 Cobalts and Pontiac G5s because they "shut down unexpectedly and cause crashes" according to the AP.
No jokes here, that is not fun and six people have died in related crashes. What's happening? The weight of the key ring, coupled with a rough road, can cause the ignition switch to turn off. Oh, yeah, and the airbags then might not work.
5th Gear: If You Have Graco Childs Seats Read This
Missed this earlier in the week but it's extremely important if you're a parent who has a Graco child seat (or seats) as the company is recalling nearly four million of them in 11 different styles because a latch might not release, thus trapping the kid.
The recall includes 11 different styles of Graco child seats from model years 2009 to 2013, but excludes about 1.83 million portable infant seats that latch into a base and can be removed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had requested that these seats also be recalled, but the company declined to do so. The safety agency responded with a rebuke and a promise of further investigation.
Go here if you're affected.
Reverse: Mad Mel!
On February 13, 2008, a California judge rules that the actor Mel Gibson, star of such movies as the Academy Award-winning "Braveheart" and the "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" series, has successfully completed the terms of his no-contest plea to misdemeanor drunk driving.
Neutral: Anyone in the market for a Veyron? How much of a discount would it take for you to buy one?
Photo Credit: Getty Images