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 Cadillac Of Cars In The Europe Of Europes
Cadillac has never been a huge hit on the Continent, but Cadillac is the best it has been in years so why not give it a go? The WSJ tackles the contradiction:
Mr. Sedran acknowledges Cadillac faces a challenge in Europe after years of neglect by its parent, General Motors Co. Cadillac sold only 430 cars in Europe last year, off from 3,000 cars in 2007.
Yeah, so why keep trying?
"Making the brand more relevant in Europe also is important for it to succeed in the U.S. and China," he said. In the latter two markets, there were reasons for optimism last year. The brand's U.S. sales last year rose 28%, making it the fastest-growing premium brand. In China, sales jumped 67%, to about 50,000 cars.
I'm not sure I 100% buy it, but it's worth a shot.
2nd Gear: Nissan Blows Out The Speakers In February
It's cold. So cold. No one wants to buy a car, it's so cold! And yet… Nissan announced a 16% jump in February. Compare that to the expectation that the overall car market should, at best, come out about equal to last year.
Full breakdown here, but it seems like people really like the new Rogue, and still like the Juke and Altima.
Also… what's up with the Frontier?
3rd Gear: Is Tesla Model S Demand Stabilizing? As unfilled orders start to fill, are we past the point where demand for the Model S sedan has finally stabilized? From GreenCarReports comes the realization that Tesla deliveries in California were lower in the fourth quarter of last year than the 1st quarter, and that Tesla itself is calling for a slightly lower Q1.
Tesla could over-perform, of course, and if they deliver 6K vehicles in Q1 that's still impressive. So why all the confusion?
"Of course, this mystery and speculation would all be unnecessary if Tesla simply reported its monthly U.S. sales—as every other car company does."
You said it brother.
4th Gear: The Death Of The Old Van
Commercial have risen by about 40% since 2010, reports the AP. What's up? Economic recovery is part of it, but the other factor is all those old E-Series and the like that people were hanging on to are now finally crumbling and there's a new crop of better, more efficient, and cheaper vans.
This reminds me, we need to have a van off.
5th Gear: China Cutting Back On Elaborate Funerals Bloomberg has the best story today, as Chinese elite austerity has hit the funeral industry:
Zhang Hongbao, who's run a funeral home in Shanghai for more than a decade, says he can't recall the last time business was so dead.
"Government officials don't dare to spend too much on funerals," Zhang, owner of Shanghai Funeral Service (China) Co., said in an interview. "It's the peak of the anti-corruption drive. They choose simple ceremonies, such as inviting fewer people and have quieter events rather than the noisy rituals of the past."
That lede is so good. SO GOOD. I don't know which reporter on the story was responsible for it but bravo.
Reverse: Did Anyone Call It The Zeppelin?
On this day in 2009, the uber-luxurious Maybach Zeppelin sedan goes on sale, with a starting price of $523,870 for the Maybach 57 Zeppelin and $610,580 for the Maybach 62 Zeppelin. Daimler-Benz, owner of the Maybach brand, announced that only 100 Zeppelins would be built, with each vehicle hand-crafted to its individual buyer's specifications. Among the Zeppelin's many optional amenities was the world's first perfume-atomizing system, for which customers could even have their own personal fragrance designed.
Neutral: Can Caddy Make It In Europe?
Photo Credit: Getty Images